*”And so here I am, waiting in the lobby, sweating bullets in this stupid old suit …” to have this angiogram done.
They wheel me in, slip the needle into my wrist to send the dye through to the heart. The specialist sees my tattoo and comments about running marathons.
“Quite a few ultra runners have heart disease issues.”
I’m lying on the gurney as he starts sending the dye through.
“Hmmm, we have a major, a serious and a minor blockage.” Or something to that effect.
He walks me through what he sees and, really, for the first time, I know I have some shit to deal with.
Try as I may, I can’t stop the tear running down my face.
*”I don’t want to be alone” – Billy Joel
A short preface to the actual test.
A few years ago (quite a few now, I guess) a visit to the doc was uneventful.
You’d turn up complaining of something and the doc would “umm” and “ahh” and then give you a prescription for aspirin or something and send you on your way.
Basically there was nothing wrong with you that an aspirin and a good lie down, or a good day at work, wouldn’t fix.
99.9% of the time you were fine.
A visit to the doc was just another thing you did.
Certainly not something to be concerned about.
After any stress test you need to see your referring Specialist. I had made an appointment with The Cardiologist for the Monday following.
With no adverse results this was likely a quick visit.
Indeed it was.
We discussed the test. But we also discussed the pain I’d been experiencing on my runs. The runs were my real test, he advised, and they weren’t going well.
“But we’ll do an angiogram and see what that tells us.”
“At least that will rule that out,” he said.
And so an angiogram was planned for the Wednesday.
Note: an angiogram is not a message delivered by someone called Angie! (boom-tish!)
Note: possibly longer than 100 words today, but not by much. Ok, double that!
It was time to put the past behind me and get back into training. Sunday is long run day and today was 8km. Easy!
West Coast Drive is a great place to run so I headed there. Starting at Trigg Beach I headed north, into the wind, so I had a tailwind on the way back.
It’s an easy run – 4km out, 4km back. Done and dusted.
About 2.75km in the chest pains began again but, you know, heartburn.
Then it grew to the neck and jaw (angina?) and then a crushing headache. I stopped to walk and take stock of what was happening. I decided it maybe better to call it quits, giving up on the 8km.
But, you know, f*ck it, if I have to walk to complete 8km, I’ll walk.
So I continued on and the pain subsided. Happy days.
After a while I decided it was okay to run again but after 500m all the symptoms came back.
Walking eased the pain again so I finished off by walking the rest of the way. No matter the 8.0 km was done.
I arrive at the ED and checked in. My GP has called ahead. They’re expecting me.
Chest X-Ray. Echo test. Blood tests.
I’m not in a panic and am more curious than worried.
The tests begin.
- Chest X-Ray – fine.
- Echo – fine
- Bloods – fine
The consulting doc suggests a stress test – basically a running test on a treadmill with lots of wires, graphs and pretty flashing lights. I’ve done quite a few but this time may be different.
I make a stress test appointment for Thursday.
I walk the 2km back to work.
June 26. Midday.