June 5th was scheduled for my third lithotripsy. Sound waves would smash my 10mm kidney stone into smaller pieces that would more easily pass out of my body. A stone half that size is in danger of getting stuck and causing a great deal of pain – “similar to having a baby.”
This stone is at least the 28th I’ve “created.”
ONE HOUR prior to the operation, the anesthesiologist cancelled it. He was afraid my heart would cause him too much trouble, since I have chronic atrial fibrillation, among other problems.
My ex was on her way to drive me to the clinic when I got the news. She finished her 45-mile drive anyway, so we had a pleasant meal together before she drove back home.
An Electrocardiogram (ECG – EKG) taken June 11 was “abnormal.”
In order to satisfy the anesthesiologist, my cardiologist scheduled a Nuclear Stress Test for early this morning (13th). At 7:27 AM, I was injected with a “radioactive tracer” isotope. The tracer was late. It had to be delivered from a lab further south, and came in a specially insulated tube – made of lead? Kinda scary.
Of course I had to fast prior to the test.
The injection was a “chemical compound in which one or more atoms have been replaced by a radioisotope (so it can be traced) by virtue of its radioactive decay.” Wikipedia.
For 20 minutes, I raised my arms above my head and lay as still as possible so a gamma camera could take a series of images of my heart. My left shoulder hurt from a pinched nerve, but I managed to not move too much.
The camera is the opposite of an x-ray. Since I was radioactive, I was the one emitting the rays! The chemical has a half-life of three hours, so if I had planned on flying today, I would have set off the alarms. I figured out I would still be radioactive after more than 18 hours.
For the stress part of the test, my next step was supposed to be on a treadmill tilted at 10 degrees up hill. I walk 3 miles a day on treadmill tilted at 4 degrees, but the steeper angle had me worried.
My cardiologist must have been more worried than I was. Instead of having me walk, I lay still while a second chemical was injected to put stress on my heart. I was told to spread and close my feet for a few minutes, probably in place of walking. The chemical initially took my breath away, and I have felt weird ever since.
Then, back into the camera.
The test could have taken as much as four hours to complete, but I was done after two.
After all the stress – physical and mental – the results came back. “Normal.”
The cardiologist cleared me for the lithotripsy. It is now scheduled for June 18th.