Today, I wore a cheap pair of jeggings to my very first visit to a cardiologist and I want to tell you that this story doesn’t end well. But I learned a valuable lesson today which I hope will help others in some way.
Mistake #1 this morning: I forgot to set my alarm. Matt woke me up just in time to get ready to take him to the shuttle stop. And you know that moment when you are in a hurry and just want to find a clean pair of jeans? Yeah. I didn’t have any clean pairs of jeans today….so I threw on a sweater dress over a pair of jeggings and sneakers…and the jeggings had a little hole in the butt. Mistake #2.
You may be asking yourself: why is Andrea visiting a cardiologist?? Backstory: I had to take something called a ‘stress test’ in order to be cleared for my next round of reconstruction surgery. My plastic surgeon, in an abundance of caution, decided she needed me to get my heart checked before I go back under the knife. And the cardiologist – in order to clear me – said they must hook me up to a bunch of wires to monitor my heart while I’m on a treadmill.
You may also be asking yourself: why did Andrea pick the one thing in her drawer with a hole right in the upper crotch area? Shouldn’t she have thrown that away long ago? Yes. In hindsight, it’s perfectly obvious that I should have thrown these right in the trash. A pair of work out clothes would have been more sensable….but I wanted to be fashionable today. My mental arithmetic at the time was: hey this is comfortable, and sort of goes together as an outfit…I’m pretty sure I can walk on a treadmill in this …and no one will ever see the hole in my jeggings because this sweater dress covers my butt.
I was greeted by a super nice and petite physician’s assistant named Alana, who gives stress tests every day to probably dozens of people. She ushered me into a room with a treadmill and a bunch of monitors, and started explaining how the stress test works. Our goal today was to get me to the maximum heart rate for my age group which is 188 beats per minute.
My response: “Oh I’ll be running? Wow. I thought I was just walking….haha.”
And then Alana politely says that she will go in the other room while I change into the gown-shirt that was folded up on the examination table next to the treadmill. I picked up the gown…and realized that it was really more of a shirt. This gown was not going to cover my butt. Nope.
I froze and looked at her. Four options flashed before my eyes:
- I run on the treadmill in my jeggings…with my crotch hole in all it’s awful glory.
- I take off the jeggings, and run on the treadmill in the hospital shirt and my underwear.
- I ask if Alana has anything longer to wear.
- Run way. Find another doctor and never set foot in the office again.
I go for option #3, which requires me to explain to Alana that my jeggings have a hole in them, and I cannot suffer the indignity of running like that on a treadmill. Alana, ever the professional, is holding back a smile.
“Let me see what else I can find for you to wear” she says. She goes into a cupboard, and pulls out the only other thing on the shelf: a size 4XL gown that could probably be used to pitch a small teepee.
“That works!” I say to her. She leaves the room, and I put on the giant gown. It’s really more of a choir robe than a hospital gown. Oh well…running on a treadmill in a choir robe is better than the alternative.
The Stress Test
Alana returns. She hooks me up to a bunch of wires, and we get ready to start the test. I stand on the treadmill and she realizes that the excess cloth is probably going to get in my way as I run….so we wrap it around my hips a bit and tie it into a knot on the side.
“Ah, the latest fashion!” She says, trying to make me feel better. I give her a nervous giggle….and she starts the treadmill.
Now I’m walking at a fast pace – and we make small talk about the upcoming holidays…and I tell her how/why I’m there for a stress test. Alana turns up the speed and I start jogging.
The knot we made to hold the excess choir robe in place comes undone….and now I am a mess of blue choir robe cloth flapping in all directions.
“You doing okay?” she asks.
“Great!” I say, panting. I grab the choir robe and hold it around my waist so that the robe doesn’t trip me. And then, she turns up the speed again so I’m jogging faster. I can feel the hole in my jeggings growing bigger.
Oh hell. I have never had an out-of-body experience….but the moments to follow came pretty close. My heart starts pounding, and I see myself from the other side of the room running on that treadmill…yards of cloth and wires flapping in the wind as I try unsuccessfully to cover my butt. If I were Alana, I would be on the floor laughing.
My heart rate reaches 180. I can’t take it anymore! I tell Alana to shut it down. My heart is pounding. I’m sweating. Alana slows down the treadmill. Finally, the torture is over, and I step off.
I’m probably the only one out there who would be this dumb. But I thought I would share because it’s better to laugh at myself than to think about another round of surgery. And somehow confessing this story makes me think I’ll be less likely to repeat my mistakes in the future. And I now think of “CYA” in a whole new way.