helen ekg

I hate going to doctors! Hate being poked, prodded and stuck with needles. Hate the smell of hospitals. But today, I forced myself to keep a 5-year overdue appointment with my cardiologist. I knew it would be ignominious so decided to make it fun.

First, I chatted up my fellow patients. Easy, cause this crowd is so old that no one was on their cell phone! I discovered that three of us were scheduled to see the SAME doctor at the SAME time. “Oh, goodie,” I said, “Let’s all go into the exam room together and scare the heck out of him!” They smiled politely and looked back at their magazines.

Finally, a very large, 20-something, male nurse called my name, walked me solemnly down the hall and had me step on the scale.

“Get on with me,” I impIored, “So we can put some real weight on it!”

He declined. So, I stood on it with one leg, held my arms out wide and pretended to be a flamingo. He looked askance, then said, “114 lbs.,” and ushered me straight into the examining room.

“Have you ever had any operations?” he asked.

“Hmm… Well, I’ve had 2 babies.”

“Well, were they C-sections?” he probed as if I were an idiot.

“Not exactly,” I replied, “but they felt like it . . . Oh! I had my tonsils out!”

“What year was that?”

“1902,” I replied confidently.

He typed “1902”. Stopped. Looked at me and finally laughed.

“We need to do an EKG now,” he said.

“I figured as much,” I replied. “So, I didn’t wear a bra.”

“Oh,” he said, “Well, that will make it easier.”      

He connected 8 leads from a little device and then hesitated.

“Well, these last two have to go up under your left breast.”

“No worries!” I laughed. “There’s nothing to go up under!”

I would tell you that he blushed, but given his dark skin it was hard to tell.

Finally, the doctor came in, (an hour and a half after my appointment), and asked: “So, are you feeling any palpitations, dizziness, out of breath episodes?”

“Well, yes” I said very seriously. “In the last hour and a half my heart has been racing, I felt a little woozy and when you walked in, my heart fluttered and actually skipped a beat.”

He grinned and said, “Well, I’ve never been told I have that effect on my patients but thank you.”

Worth the price of admission…almost.