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Is a stress test routine, or can it be?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by novelist_wannabe, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    I went for a long overdue physical a couple weeks ago and mostly everything looked OK, considering that I'm 46 years old and overweight. Triglycerides were marginally high, hdls were good, testosterone a little low and, in the words of the nurse, my "urine looked good." So many ways that statement could be interpreted. The doc was a little top chipper about performing the rectal/prostate exam.

    Anyway, the thing that prompted me to get the physical was this: I'd cut grass a few days before and it took a while for my pulse to slow to a normal resting rate. When I mentioned this, the doc responded with "we're going to order a stress test." I have asthma, so I've known for a long time that eventually I'd hear that from a doctor, but it was unsettling nonetheless.

    Said stress test is tomorrow morning, and I've been kind of worried about it all week, chewing on scenarios I've heard about the cardiologist stopping the patient in mid-stride on the treadmill and calling for an ambulance.

    So my question, realizing that there's not a lot of time between now and my appointment tomorrow morning, is this: How much cause for alarm is the mere fact that he ordered the stress test? Is it a normal part of the examination regimen for people my age?
  2. beanpole

    beanpole Member

    Totally not a big deal. I had one a few years ago, and it's a good precautionary thing for docs to order when they come across at patient with your issues. They need to see how your heart responds when it gets a workout, and it's best to find out when you are hooked up to their monitors than after you've collapsed.

    I had visions of being asked to run on a treadmill for an hour or so, but it's really not bad at all. They need to speed the machine up fast enough for your heartrate to hit a certain level, but they'll make sure you don't overdo it. When I finished, I actually said, "That was it?"
  3. SpeedTchr

    SpeedTchr Well-Known Member

    I would be a bit more concerned about having some dude's hand up my ass.

    Stress test? No sweat. If you start to keel over, they stop the test.
  4. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    I've done two and it was no sweat. Actually, a lot of sweat because I was walking on a treadmill, but it wasn't difficult.

    The second time, the doc stopped it because the competitor in me wanted to go longer than I did the first time and I started to overdo it.
  5. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    Believe me, I took notice of his hands. Didn't look like Johnny Bench to me. So there's that. Just have to accept that dignity and healthcare don't always live in the same room.
  6. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    Do they only use treadmills?

    No bikes?
  7. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    First time my doctor gave me the prostate exam, he put on the glove, did his thing and said, "Welcome to your 40s."
  8. beardpuller

    beardpuller Active Member

    I have a stress test every year now, since I got a stent four years back. It's nothing to be concerned about. They aren't going to kill you on the treadmill. The important thing is this: as far as I know, the stress test is the single best way to diagnose clogged arteries. If you have a real problem, you want to know about it and get it treated. Lots of people with heart issues, like me, have no symptoms whatsoever. The test will show a true picture of your situation, and believe me, that's a good thing.
  9. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    Update: Cardiologist says everything is normal.

    That's the good news. My experience in his office was something less than exemplary. Next to the check-in window are all these promotional flyers, one of which was from a church and had "Are you going to heaven?" on the front. Not if these guys do their job, ok?

    When I get to the exam room, the computer connected to the treadmill had a monochrome monitor and a 3.5" floppy drive.

    The PA never told me his name. Asked me a couple of questions about my forms, then told me to take off my shirt. Asked permission to shave spots for the electrical leads. Got that done, got me all wired up, then instructed me to have a seat and the doctor would be in shortly. He walked out. After a few minutes, I picked up my phone, checked email and facebook and noted the time. Read a magazine article about The Hunger Games. Piddled around this way until it seemed I'd been waiting an inordinate amount of time, then checked my phone again. I'd been there 39 minutes, shirtless and connected to the EKG machine, with no contact. So I called them on the phone -- seemed more discreet that way -- and asked what was going on. The PA returned and didn't have any answers. He left and I was about to start pulling the leads off when the cardiologist came in and the test commenced.

    I was pretty irritated with the customer service. I can handle waiting as long as I get some explanation as to why, but there simply was none.
  10. SpeedTchr

    SpeedTchr Well-Known Member

    Soon you will realize that the "hooking up the machine and making you wait" is part of the stress test. They are watching on remote cam and laughing their asses off as you get more agitated.

    At least, that's how I console myself as I wait up to an hour for them to come back and do their work.
  11. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    That thought occurred to me. I half expected Ashton Kutcher to walk in and tell me I'd been punked. But if the test was mental stress, I should've been in a psychologist's office.

    Next time I have to go to a cardio office, I'm going elsewhere.
  12. SpeedTchr

    SpeedTchr Well-Known Member

    Several years ago, the doc I use evidently managed to sneak a new hire past his vulture-like wife/office manager, and when that nurse came in to hook me up with all the leads I had extreme performance anxiety. She probably wondered how I could possibly be sweating so heavily in a 60-degree office.

    Please God, grant me an ugly nurse with warm hands...
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