As regular readers of this column might remember, I recently visited the Emergency Room due to chest pain. While the tests they ran showed nothing amiss, the doctors felt at least one more test was necessary: a nuclear stress test.
For the uninformed, in layman terms this consists of stressing your heart, either by having you walk on a treadmill that gradually gets steeper and faster, or chemically. An isotope is injected into your bloodstream and scans of your heart are taken before and after you’re stressed for the sake of comparison.
If you are a medical type person and wincing at the above description, my apologies. I’m not a doctor, I just married one.
So, I dutifully went to the office of my cardiologist, Dr. Parnassa to set up the stress test. We settled on a date for the test and made the decision that I would undergo the chemical stress test rather than trying to keep my balance on a steep treadmill. I’m not surefooted in the best of times, and a fast, steep treadmill does not count as the best of times.
I was given a date and time and a list of instructions to follow prior to my test. At some point I actually read them, and that’s when the fun began.
The line that leapt out at me in the instructions stated, “No caffeine, decaf, or chocolate for 24 hours prior to the test.”
No caffeine? Meaning, no coffee? No chocolate? At the same time? What sadist wrote these instructions?
It didn’t help that Don informed me that I would be unable to take my medication for attention deficit disorder. The medication is basically a stimulant, and that apparently was a big no-no prior to the test.
I knew Monday, the day before the test, was going to be rough. A day without caffeine? That was bad enough. But a day without chocolate … I can’t remember the last time that happened to me.
I am a chocoholic with no desire to be cured. My favorite kind is dark chocolate, which I console myself with by reminding myself that it’s better for you than the other kind. The thought of doing without it was stressful and they hadn’t even given me the chemicals yet.
I confess that I spent much of Monday in a brain fog. I felt I was enduring with a decent attitude despite that until Don unthinkingly began to eat a chocolate cookie in front of me. When I raised my voice in complaint he offered to go in the other room. He then had the nerve to comment “That’s how the cookie crumbles.”
I was too fogged to come up with a snappy comeback.
The good thing is that I made it to Tuesday without cheating and bore the chemical stress test with whatever fortitude I had left. I was then encouraged to go eat a fatty breakfast and definitely have caffeine – somehow it counteracts the chemical they stress you with.
No one had to tell me twice. The coffee and pie I had with my brunch was just what the doctor ordered. Some of the cobwebs cleared, and I was on the way to becoming a functioning human being once again. Except I nearly forgot to take my meds, though once I did, they also assisted my return to normalcy.
I’m still waiting the results of my stress test. Meanwhile, I am appreciating the chocolate and caffeine in my life once again. If you must forgo these for some reason, you have my sympathy. And I promise not to rub it in by eating or drinking it in front of you.