I had my appointment at the Ottawa Cardiovascular Centre this morning at 11:15 am. Needless to say, I was unable to sleep past 6:00 this morning, and so proceeded to take care of some laundry and the like before breakfast, around 8:00. Took care of some e-mail after breakfast, and then showered and headed over to the Centre.
When I arrived, I was told that the Stress Test takes about half an hour to forty minutes, and changed into shorts, sport socks, and a pair of new shoes that I've worked in recently. With the problems I've had lately with my left pinky toe, I couldn't wear running shoes, but these shoes were perfectly fine (spross knows what the shoes are called, he wears them all the time, and I can't remember for the life of me); they're made by L.L. Bean. After waiting for about ten minutes after changing, a nurse's aide came and asked me a whole series of questions, and I signed the consent form for the tests.
Once the papers were signed, the nurse came and fetched me and took me into the nice, relatively warm, test room. I lay down on the medical bed there, and was treated to having my chest partially shaved so that she could put the ECG electrodes and monitoring stuff on various parts of my anatomy. These were all hooked into a belt pack, and then the pack was securely tied around my waist. She wrapped a blood pressure strap around my arm, and then took me through the process of what was about to happen.
And then came the treadmill. Now before you ask, yes, I have been on a treadmill before, and I hated it. It was back when I was first diagnosed with diabetes, and went to a gymnasium for exercise. Not the kind of exercise I want to do, not as much of a workout as an elliptical (she later told me this, saying that the elliptical worked a whole lot more body parts than just the cardiovascular system), but more difficult for me in lots of way. Most diabetics have or develop some form of diabetic neuropathy that manifests in the hands or feet. I have mild diabetic neuropathy in my feet, and so walking at a steady pace is fine, but on a treadmill, as it goes faster and faster, and inclines slightly more, every three minutes during the Stress Test, one's feet have to keep banging onto the treadmill platform to keep going faster and faster. Oh, and did I mention that they prefer one doesn't hold onto the front or side bars at all? Needless to say, I was worried that I was going to have problems with it, especially given the toe problem I mentioned, and I was right...sort of.
To make the long story short, I lasted on the treadmill for 8 minutes and 15 seconds. I had no pain in my chest. My heart rate did not exceed 154, and my blood pressure stayed under 200. The nurse told me that most people lasted on the treadmill for about 6 or 7 minutes, especially once the machine hits the third stage. More about the heart rate or blood pressure, which is where they stop you, rather than any element of the exercise or whatever. I was quite winded, and definitely had a bit of dizziness. My lower legs and part of the upper calf muscles were very sore..and I was afraid that I had wiped out on my feet, since I couldn't feel my toes, of course. The nurse, Helen, told me that I had done much better than she had expected me to...and to be honest, I surprised myself somewhat as well.
I had all the electrodes and stuff removed from me, with a bit of blood in a couple of places (shaving does that too me at times , and having the electrodes pulling off the hair that was left by the roots didn't help any). Helen apologized about that, saying I had very sensitive skin obviously, and she told me that I could go. I went back to where I had left my clothes and outer wear, and changed into my clothes again. I left the Centre and relaxed on a chair in waiting room for a few minutes. I stopped in the restaurant/cafeteria of the building, and had a beef shwarma in pita, with a side salad, and a large bottle of water, since it was lunch time by then, before leaving and heading home.
And I still hate treadmills...more than I did before. Give me an elliptical any day!
As for the music, well...that just seems appropriate! :)