Thursday, August 6, 2009

Getting My Cardio On

Another day, another hoop.

This time, the Cardiac Stress Test hoop.

I've done one of these before. Not so bad. Basically, they hook you up to all the wires and electrodes and monitors and cuffs, then have you walk on a treadmill, increasing the speed and incline every three minutes. The goal is to get to 100 percent of your active heart rate, which for me is 181. Scoreboard! Mine's bigger than yours!

While I often reach that mark when bending down to tie my shoes, I do spend the occasional minute or two on the treadmill, so I wasn't worried about this particular hoop. Piece of cake (mmmm, cake!).

First three minutes ... no problem. Evidently, most "incidents" happen within the first three minutes. Incidents being defined as passing out, dropping dead or anything in between. Would have been a nice piece of information to know beforehand. Nonetheless, I survived the first stage incident-free.

Little more speed, little more incline. Starting to get a little harder. Not because I was running out of gas; but because my calves were shaken from their deep summer slumber and were extremely unhappy about having to perform in such a rigorous manner, especially without proper advance notice. They reacted by dousing themselves in petrol and setting themselves ablaze. No matter ... second stage complete, bring on the next three minutes.

More speed. More incline. More sweat. More labored breathing. Now I was starting to run out of gas. Still, I was determined to make that 100 percent heart rate. I watched the various EKG lines and numbers blinking and jumping and changing on the screen in front of me. 169 ... 171 ... 173 ... must get to 181.

It was was at this point that I think my calves texted my thighs, quads, hips and knees because not only had they all set themselves ablaze, they also were drinking molten lava, spending the summer in Texas and touching the hot burner on the stove while dancing directly on the surface of the sun in their own little lower extremity version of Burning Man. Did I mentioned they were burning?

I was done. Eight minutes, with a top heart rate of 173, which is 93.5 percent of my active rate, without incident. No aortic explosion. No cardiac infarction. No chest pains. Not even a bout of dizziness. I had survived. My cardiac stress had been sufficiently tested.

The Heart Doctor was pleased with the results and declared my heart fit for surgery. I was tired and sweaty, but then again, when am I not.

Cardic Stress Test ... CHECK!

One hoop left ... the final nutritional evaluation hoop next week.

Feel the burn, y'all.

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