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Wake Up! It s Darth Vader in His Jammies
The other day, I woke up a human being and went to bed a cyborg, all in the name of good health.
As I lay me down to sleep, I readjusted the wires from the heart monitor that had been attached to my torso all day. Then I slipped on the mask connected to the device that keeps my airway open as a measure against sleep apnea. What a picture that must have been: Darth Vader In His Jammies.
And it made me wonder why modern medical tests are such a pain in the ... well, actually, that’s one of the few places I didn’t have something hooked up.
The heart thing goes back a couple of years to an episode when I was standing in a bookstore, felt an unusual "thump" in my chest, and fainted. My keen mind, ever attuned to medical matters, instantly concluded that this was probably not the way things are supposed to go.
So off I went to the doctor, who sent me directly to the emergency room, which passed me along to the heart center, which gave me a test, which prompted the cardiologist to say, "This is very, very serious." Believe me, that is not a sentiment you want to hear from a cardiologist.
So he shipped me to coronary intensive care, where I was an immediate hit with the nurses mostly because I was the only patient on the floor who was awake and under age 80. Also, since my arteries were clean, I was allowed to order something other than the usual cardiac patient fare (water, air, medicine). I ordered a cheeseburger and fries from Five Guys. Got it, too. You can make a lot of friends if you have fries in a ward where fries are illegal.
My condition, ventricular tachycardia, causes my heart to jump out of gear and race. I control it through medication, but I have to be tested every so often to see if things are still manageable. Hence the heart monitor.
This brings us to the mask. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea as part of trying find out why I was so tired and cranky all the time. Sleep apnea? Silly me. I thought I was just turning into my parents.
Anyway, this led to the use of what’s called a CPAP machine, which blows air into my nose all night, allowing me to sleep peacefully. It does not, however, allow conversation, which is why it is a CPAP. It stands for Can’t Pronounce Anything Properly.
Add to this the goofy stuff that’s going on with my endocrine system, and you can see that Medical Tests and Procedures have lately occupied a much more prominent place in my life than I prefer. I also seem to have a bunch of doctors who just love to run their patients through the obstacle course. Maybe it’s their way of getting people to take better care of themselves. It’s certainly working with me.
I just have to keep reminding myself that everything the doctors are doing is to make my life better.
That makes it all a little easier to take, although the tests are still giant pain in the you-know-where. Where, by the way, I had a test about six weeks ago - and which, you’ll pardon the expression, I passed.
© 2009 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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