Today saw another chapter in the ongoing saga of Doombreed's Experiences With The Medical World, namely "Our Hero Gets Knackered".
I was referred by my doctor for what was, I believe, an echocardiogram. Or electrocardiogram. Or cardiac stress test. Or maybe it was something else. Whatever.
My chest was strategically shaved, covered in electrodes and prodded with an ultrasound probe. After several images were taken of what I was told was my heart (which actually looked more like some sort of epileptic alien living in my chest) came the "stress" portion of the test.
Cue The Treadmill Of Death.
The Treadmill Of Death was obviously designed by someone who was upset at missing out on the Spanish Inquisition. The Treadmill Of Death lulls one into a false sense of security by starting out nice and gentle. But, if one is foolish enough to avoid reaching the required heart rate (160 bpm) within a few minutes, The Treadmill Of Death speeds up and tilts, so one is working faster against an incline. Heart rate remaining foolishly low? Wait a few minutes and it'll tilt and speed up again. Still not there? It just got more painful.
Add to this that the heart rate monitor is positioned so that the victim can see it, and thus be mentally tortured at just how slowly their heart rate is increasing, and you've got a device that could extract state secrets from anyone.
And then.. and then.. 158.. 159.. 160.. we must be stopping soon, right?
See, the images of the heart have to be taken at or above 160, and they can't be done on The Treadmill Of Death, so you have to allow time for the victim to get from The Treadmill Of Death to the bed, get into position (on one's side, bottom arm above the head), and take all the scans before the heart rate drops below 160.
"We'll go to 170" said the nurse.
We? I don't see you up here on this infernal machine.
168.. 169.. 170.. Now can I stop?
Naaw.. I'm relatively young, my heart rate will come down fast, so "we" were shooting for 177.
175.. 176.. 177.. And finally, I can stagger over to the bed and get prodded again.
And then, I'm done.
Okay, apart from The Treadmill Of Death, it wasn't too bad. The doctor and nurse were very nice, very funny, and made me feel very relaxed.
I get the results later this week.
Fun, in a way.