Still tickin'

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So I had my "stress test" on Thursday morning at 7:45am.

Pretty interesting deal... they hook up about 10 electrodes to your chest, and then put a blood pressure monitor on your arm. You just sit there for about 15 minutes while they get a baseline reading on your heartbeat, patterns, and blood pressure (they check it every 3-4 minutes).

The good news: my blood pressure (resting) is 118/78, which they said was really good. My cholesterol was 155 (good), and all of my other blood info was "good," save for blood sugar, which was just a tad higher than they'd like (111). The only thing they thought was odd was that my heart rate would go from 68 beats per minute (bpm) to 90+ without any stimuli or reason. The nurse commented that this is a "normal abnormality" and she said that it's nothing too uncommon, but it isn't considered "normal."

So after I sat there just chatting with them, they said, "Ok, time to get on the treadmill." The treadmill, by the way, looks like it was straight out of 1973. It was this massive, noisy, beige, rickity-looking Quinton machine... it had this gross leather pad on the single hand bar, and no display of any type.

They set the incline to 10% and the speed to realllly slow. Almost too slow - it was hard to walk on it without stumbling over the belt (the part you walk on). After 3 minutes, they crank up the speed, and continue to do so every three minutes. They take your blood pressure at regular intervals the entire time, and record that, along with what the EKG stuff is recording and printing.

Long story short - I did about 16 minutes on the treadmill; I could've gone longer, but they only needed 8-9 minutes, and even after 16 minutes, the speed wasn't quite fast enough to run at, and it wasn't slow enough to jog/walk at, so it was really awkward. After it was finished, they have you sit down for 5 minutes while they watch your heart rate decrease, and again, they take your blood pressure.

They said my blood pressure was on the lower side, but that it wasn't anything to worry about. And the nurse said she didn't see anything irregular in the EKG, but said a cardiologist would know a lot more about it than she did. I felt fine throughout the whole thing, except for when I got up after they unhooked everything - then I felt this huge "fist-like" thing in my neck, and I got light-headed (but not too bad). Pretty much the rest of the day I felt normal - no real chest pains or anything like that.

Today, I had some chest pain intermittently, and right now, my neck still has that fist feeling to it... It's the weirdest thing; everything reads "normal" but I don't really feel normal. So, I'm confused...

Tomorrow is Pups in the Park, so Amy will have to work at it, and I'll go and film/photograph it. Some friends are coming to visit from Wisconsin on Sunday, so that should be fun. I went to the baseball game tonight (SEC playoffs) - we lost - but I had fun with Karl and Nat, so it wasn't a total loss (the game did go extra innings).

Well... that's about it - it's 12:45, and I should go to sleep. Hopefully I don't have a heart attack before the cardiologist looks at my EKG, and if I do, I hope Blue Cross doesn't see a dime of my next health insurance premium.

2 Comments

Hey Stve, I've had similar "angina" type pains for several years. Mostly, it appears t be stress-related. But it can also be muscular in that your pectorals and whatever the muscles around and behind your shoulder blades can cause chest tightness which can lead to anxiety. It's all pretty much related, but obviously taking the proper cardiac precautions in important.
Depending on your age (I'm 42 although I act half that!!) cardiac issues is nothing to fool around with. Pay attention to what your body tells you (but don't go crazy).
One other thing it could be is gastric in nature. Heartburn can give angina type pains and also constrictive feelings in the upper chest area.
Good Luck with it!
Jim

Hi Jim - thanks for the info. It's definitely not muscle pain - it's too localized to my neck and one spot about the diameter of a coke can right in my chest where my heart is... And I don't think it's gastric either because I tried taking a bunch of anti-heartburn medicenes for a week or so... no help.

Oh well, I guess if I kick it, I kick it. :-) At least the insurance company won't get to screw me any more.

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