As you’ll recall from The Pot Brownie Incident ©2007, the emergency room doctor didn’t like what was going on with my heart. So she made me an appointment with a cardiologist. I met with him, an elderly Polish doctor, a few days later and he listened to my heart through a stethoscope. And after his analysis, he said that there was absolutely, positively… something weird. This was his professional, medical diagnosis. “Weird.” (I could have told him I was weird and saved us both the trouble of the visit.) Unfortunately, he didn’t know anything more than that. So maybe it’s something really awful and I have a short time to live. I prefer to think that maybe I have some kind of SuperHeart. Like, I’m the next step in human evolution and my SuperHeart will allow me to run great distances and also I’ll never die. Either way, Dr. Petrovich was not impressed with the people who filled me with illegal drugs.
So a couple of weeks later (June 13, 2007, for those historians who are taking note of this for future generations) I was back at the hospital at 8:45am for an Echo-Cardiogram. I was about 15 minutes late because, hey, that’s pretty early in the morning. And I never expect doctor appointments to start on time. But the woman passive-aggressively asked: “Do you know what time your appointment was for?” Receptionists never come out and just say: “You’re late. You’re a prick.” They always find some kind of passive-aggressive way of pointing it out. Anyway, I slipped into a sexy frontless gown, lay on my side and a medical technician named Dimitri put his arm over my body and rubbed a gel-coated metal probe over my heart for about 20 minutes. For most women and 10% of guys, this would have been a lot of fun. Perhaps even something to pay good money for. But for me, the only fun was getting to hear my heart beat. Not the regular “ba bump, ba bump” you hear when you put your ear to someone’s chest. (Not that I would ever do such a thing.) No, this is the kind of wet heartbeat where you can hear all the liquids sloshing around inside. Like when they listen to fetuses. It’s neat. I could have sworn I heard my heart say: “No more pot brownies! Slosh, slosh. And no more cheeseburgers while you’re at it! Slosh, slosh. And hey, it’s called ‘exercise.’ Try it sometime!” But that might have been just my imagination. At the end of it, Dimitri said he didn’t see anything wrong with my heart. Except that I obviously “love too much.” Haha! No, he didn’t say that. But I know he was thinking it. I could see it in his eyes.
Then I went for a cardiac stress test. A nice lady injected me with radiation. And then I had to lie on a slab while a big metal plate slowly moved around me for twenty minutes. This would have been a good time for a nap, except I had to have my arms raised above my head the whole time, which isn’t normally how I sleep. (FYI, I normally sleep on my side, curled up like a cute little ball, for anyone who is building a fan site about me and wants the inside scoop.)
Then I got two hours off. So I sat in the food court of the hospital, reading Metro and eating a sub. I wasn’t supposed to have any caffeine or any heavy foods. When I got back to the Cardio Ward, there was a new, Russian nurse and as we were walking to the injection room she said: “I hope you had a nice lunch… With no coffee or cola…” and I said: “Nope. Just a couple of cappuccinos.” She stopped in her tracks and almost had a heart attack herself. I quickly told her that I was joking. She recovered and said that I had retorted so quickly that she didn’t think I could have been joking. I started to explain about my extensive improv training but I think she had stopped listening to me altogether.
Anyway, she had to inject me again. She asked if I had a problem with needles. I said it’s not the most fun I can think of, but I’m ok. But she found it hard to find a place to inject me. Because I already had bruising from the two blood tests on the night of The Pot Brownie Incident ©2007, plus bruising from the morning’s injection, it was hard to find a vein. So she really had to jam it in there. And this time, she was inserting an IV thing that would stay in my arm. It really hurt. I got a bit dizzy and broke into a cold sweat. I think her and the other nurse were rolling their eyes and thinking I was a big baby and that I had lied to them about being able to tolerate needles. But it was my body reacting to the pain, not my brain. If my brain had had any say in it, I would have been off at the ScotiaBank Theatre (formerly The Paramount) watching the smash-hit blockbuster of the summer, Spider-Man 3, in full Imax glory. But my brain had no say in it. So I was dizzy and sweating. She told me to lie down, and she told another woman to get me a juice box. I should break into cold sweats more often, ‘cause I love juice boxes.
When I was ok to sit up again, the nurse had to shave parts of my chest so she could hook up electrodes to me. This was kind of kinky. In a disgusting sort of way. Chest hair is weird, actually. It’s a lighter, fluffier texture than other hair. So it falls to the ground lightly. Gently. Like little angles descending from heaven. Little fuzzy, disgusting angels. But I digress. Back to the story, I got on the treadmill. At this point I remembered that I had a digital camera in my man-purse. I mean, in my manly sport bag. Because, hey, what better time to want a picture taken of oneself than when one is partly-shaven, wearing an open gown, hooked up to electrodes, injected with a radioactive IV and walking on a treadmill? What a great Facebook profile picture that would make, I thought. So many people put up pictures where they look “good.” What a cliché. So I asked the nurse (the Russian one had left, this was the juice box one I think) to take a picture of me. She said we should start the treadmill so that I’m really walking on it, otherwise people won’t believe it was real. Thanks, Nurse Spielberg. She took a picture, looked at on the camera screen, and then turned off the lights. I figured this was a medical thing, so that they could see my radiation or something. But the she took another picture, and then turned the lights back on. I realized that she had probably turned the lights off because she didn’t like the lights reflecting off my shiny head in the picture. Sigh…
So the treadmill was going along slowly and she asked how I’m doing and I said I was fine. I was pretty impressed with myself, actually. I was pretty sure I was beating all the 90 year-olds who have to do this treadmill test. She started cranking up the treadmill and then putting it on an angle and then I was running pretty fast on a very steep incline and ok, now I was starting to sweat and breathe heavy. She kept asking if I thought I could do another minute on it. I didn’t know why she was asking that. They never explain things. It was only later, when I was reading about this kind of test on the internet, that I learned that they need to have you run for one minute after they inject the radiation into you with the IV. So why didn’t she just say that? Why be cryptic? Nurses are like girlfriends.
Anyway, they injected more radiation into me… I kept running… I was dripping sweat and breathing hard and then I was done. She said she had had to stop the test because I was breathing so hard. Which made it sound like I sucked at the test. But another woman, the metal plate machine technician as she was walking me to the machine, said that I was really good at running on the treadmill and said that I must do that kind of thing at home. I said that, well, yes, I must admit, that when I do go to the gym I usually run on the treadmill for half an hour or even an hour and that while I don’t normally do it on an incline, I do go pretty fast… But I think she had stopped listening to me. My clue was that she was no longer in the room. So I lay quietly in the machine again with my arms above my head. Regaling myself and my fellow patients down the hall with my armpit odour.
After the machine thing, they asked if I would be traveling soon, because the radiation would set off alarms in an airport. And they told me that I shouldn’t go near any pregnant women. I asked if the radiation would have any bad side effects. Like, say, give me cancer. Spielberg scoffed and said that I’m exposed to radiation every time I go outside in the sun. Hmmm… True. But as my friend Adrienne later pointed out, I’m allowed to go near pregnant women after I’ve been out in the sun.
When I got home I looked in the mirror at my chest and realized that I looked like a fuzzy block of Swiss cheese. So I shaved the rest of my chest. Which I’ve heard can enhance one’s muscular appearance. Except, I learned, when one is a flabby slob. In which case, one looks like a plucked frozen turkey.
So, anyway, we’ll see what happens. I’m kind of hoping that the radiation unleashed some superpowers in me, and that the next time I’m almost hit by a bus I’ll instinctively leap into the air and stick to the wall of a building. But so far, no sign of any powers. It’s true, I’m awesome in bed. But I was already awesome before. Haha! Just kidding. I’ve never been with a woman. I just hope I live long enough to maybe one day know what that’s like. I get the results on Tuesday.