I couldn’t stop smiling

July 19, 2011


One should never advertise one’s stupidity. But, I can’t help myself. I went for a nuclear stress test yesterday. It’s a routine procedure to see how my heart is doing. I had a heart attack four years ago and had 5 stents put in. It is a 4 to 5 hour long procedure. You do a lot of waiting. First they put a dye in your arm. Then you wait half an hour. Then they put you in this machine that takes pictures of your heart. That takes about 15 minutes. You’re not supposed to move. Then they take you to the next area. They join you up to a bunch of machines to monitor your heart while you walk on a threadmill. Every 3 mintues the threadmill picks up speed. A minute before you think you can’t take it anymore they put a nuclear dye in your veins. Walk anothr minute. Then you get off the threadmill and take a rest. Ideally you are to go away for about an hour or so and then come back and have your picture taken in the machine again.

The young man who was taking care of me on the threadmill was from South America. If you’ve ever watched Fawlty Towers, he was exactly like the Spanish waiter from Barcelona. So, I get off the threadmill and catch my breath. Manuel (I’ll call him that) asks me if I want water. I nod. He points towards my backpack where I have put some water. In between my backpack and me is another bottle. I point toward the bottle. Manuel nods thinking I am pointing towards my bag. I take the bottle and smell it. It doesn’t smell like water. But I remember one of the patients in the waiting room saying that they gave you something if you got an upset stomach from the procedure. So, I take a swallow. About a shot glass.

Manuel cries out. ‘Did  you drink that?’

I nod. Smiling. I couldn’t stop smiling.

‘You didn’t!’

‘Yes, I did,’ I respond.

‘You’re kidding me.’ Manuel smiles.

I smile. ‘Yes, I drank it.’

I think he is going to slap his forehead. Instead he runs for the doctor. They send me to the emergency centre. I register to see a poison doctor. This takes about an hour. She looks at the bottle. I’m okay. She gives me a note to take back to the nuclear medicine sight. I take the note back. (I still have photographs to be taken.) I keep my head bowed. While I am lieing in the machine having more pictures taken, I can hear snickering in the background. Later, I go home. My only wish. That this was the stupidest thing I have ever done. Alas…

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