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  • I’m waiting for the results of a nuclear stress test.

    Nuclear means radioactive.
    Stress means $3,733 itemized on a form called This Is Not a Bill which states: Portion you owe --PENDING--.
    Test means trial as in nuisance and ordeal.

    Tom was the RN who got me prepped for the test. He had me change into a hospital gown so they'd be able to give me my stickers for the EKG. Then he gave me an IV for my shots and explained that first they’d use the line to Nuke me and later—while on the treadmill—they’d give me something to get my heart racing.

    Tom called it the Foot-in-the-Grave Test and said that it would probably prove negative but that it is a priority to rule out possibly fatal problems like arterial blockage. Tom was warm but not the master of discretion.

    Since I'm always squeamish, I looked away while Tom inserted the needle thingy and said, Oh, I hate these new ones...I missed it again!

    I could feel warm blood running down my arm and I pictured the way the garden hose runs away from you if you drop the end and it flops and snakes wildly through the air until you catch it, dripping. I pictured the tiny-grade catheter flipping and flopping across my arm and I craned my face away and scrunched my eyelids tight, I'm averting my eyes, I'm averting my eyes!

    Tom said, Good, 'cause it's a blood bath over here.

    I did pretty well without too much of that swoon-y feeling while Tom stemmed the flow, that is until his assistant declared, Wait, don't move or you'll slip in the blood...let me clean the floor first.

    The sound of a heartbeat is
    swoosh            swoosh           swoosh.

    The sound of being a good sport is a lightheaded silence.
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