“Let’s just get to the bottom of this”

This is part two of patient Brad Pope’s story. (Part one here)  

I went into the walk-in clinic thinking I’d get an antibiotic and be back to normal in no time. The doctor asked what brought me in today.

I mentioned feeling shortness of breath. The mood of the room seemed to shift, with the doctor asking me to hop up onto the exam room table. He checked for swelling in my ankles, where there was none. I told him that the breathing issue was probably nothing. Just an antibiotic and I’d be fine.

I really didn’t want this to escalate for no reason. Send me on my way…..I’m really fine. Yet the doctor referred me to clinic where he wanted me to perform a ‘stress test’.  I remember thinking this fuss was just silly and that I’d be fine. Nevertheless, I just felt maybe I should just do what he has requested and find that nothing will be wrong.

I am not an alarmist, so thought to myself, ‘bring on that stress test, I’ve got this.’

Family history

My family has a history of heart disease. Knowing this risk in the future, I had lost about 90 pounds in eight months about seven years back. I had decided to change my lifestyle and get rid of some of that excess weight. I was tired of it for so many reasons, most importantly the risk it poses to my future health.

Now, more trim and feeling much better about my health, combined with somewhat regular visits to my local gym, a treadmill stress test was nothing. Let’s just get to the bottom of this…..

Stress test

I’m on the treadmill all the time, so I figured a stress test was no big deal. In the waiting area I signed in with the clinic receptionist. Up first was an echocardiogram, which I’d never had before and felt it a little uncomfortable. I lied on my side with the technician’s hip supporting me, while she rolled a probe around on my chest, over my heart area.  I could hear my heart beating away on the equipment she was using — a good sign I felt.

The technician was friendly, but not too talkative, she was busy evaluating things. Understanding that she probably couldn’t discuss any findings without a doctor’s evaluation, I didn’t think too much about her silence. From that exam room, off to another exam room, with another technician.  She proceeded to put small sticky pads over various places on my chest, with leads hanging down.

I slipped on a pair of my gym shoes, and was about to jump onto the treadmill, when from down the hall we heard: “No stress test for him!”

This was the first time I understood that something could be wrong.