When I eventually got around to typing in "upper back and shoulder pain," I expected to find such profound medical advice as, "Hold dog's leash with other arm when walking" or "Steer with opposite hand." Instead came warnings that those were heart attack symptoms.
My family doctor ordered both thyroid tests and, because of my family's not-so-good cardiac history, a stress test as well. The thyroid tests came back normal with a week to go before my stress test appointment. Which turned out to be too much stress for my husband. After I casually mentioned having had a particularly clenchy day, he took me to Thomas.
By the time we arrived, the pains had subsided, so Geoff and I played the Waiting Room Game (seeing how long we could go without touching anything) until my name was called.
When they took me back, I asked Geoff to go with me, since I have this fear of needles that renders me stupid. So my husband -- a tall man who looks like a professor with his gray hair and goatee -- followed me to the room, then quietly took a seat in the corner while the nurse gave me a gown and directions.
The nurse, who exuded efficiency, returned a few minutes later and, with my gown raised, began attaching electrodes all over my chest. I allowed her to get me completely hooked up before pointing to Geoff and asking, "Who is that man and why is he here?"
I enjoy giving stress tests far more than receiving.
They kept me overnight. I think it was that über-efficient nurse's idea.
I was fortunate enough to have a room in the hospital's newly opened wing, which is nicer than darn near any hotel where I've ever stayed. Large, private room. Comfortable bed. Flat-screen TV. Attentive, good-natured nurses. Decent food. It would've been a mini vacation if they hadn't awakened me so often to take my blood pressure or poke another hole or find out how often I'd peed.
After a full day of testing, my heart got an A. It's my stomach that failed. The problem appears to be reflux related.
Although I initially felt a bit silly for having gone when I'm basically fine, the peace of mind has been worth every cent.
Had I put it off any longer, who knows? I might've had to wait in line for the treadmill behind a bunch of chickens in hospital gowns.
Reach Karin Fuller at karinful...@gmail.com.