A Dude Walks Into a Cardiologist’s Office…

…Where I Saw a Moving Painting of a Goat. I Said to it Softly: Be Still My Bleating Art!

I passed through the clinic atrium and sat in the antiseptic, bright, white-walled room. I waited, patiently. The doctor had kept me there for almost an hour and half, and I was losing heart. The cheap clinic clock hands were so loud, they really ticked me off. News on my phone was about the horrible, overweight US president yelling about quitting the nuclear agreement with Iran. Tinyhands Orangehead was so angry and red-faced that he looked lipid.

img_20180509_2229092511555243655.jpg
Fun with food: turkey roll-ups, olives, grape tomatoes, cheese and mustard made to look like faces.

Realizing it was almost lunchtime and that I was feeling a little pectorish, I remembered I had brought a reusable container with some beans in it. But when I rummaged around in my backpack, I couldn’t find a pulse. Finally, the lackadaisacal doctor showed up. For some reason she was wearing a pirate costume and yelled like a sailor thief: “Ahoy, me heartie!” Without missing a beat, I replied, Infarct, I am not your heartie! Had I not seen your impressive medical degree plaque on the wall, I was about to leave this in-stent!”

All Seriousness Aside

Anyway, it turned out the delay was due to a problem with the EKG machine, and I already had mine. Fortunately, her friendly personality – she even called me “dude” at one point near the end of my appointment – helped calm my erratic heart rate. Which I guess is a good skill to have if you’re a cardiologist. I ride my bike a lot, walk and do yoga daily, eat somewhat healthy, and while overweight am not a sloth. So here’s the question you may be asking, and I definitely was: What on earth was I doing there?

Well, I’ll tell you. When A Dude was a teenager, I had my wisdom teeth out. Sometime after I came out of being knocked unconscious, with sore and swollen cheeks, I was told that I’d had a heart issue and needed to see a cardiologist. As I recall, probably incorrectly, my heart had stopped for about 30 seconds. (No, I didn’t see any bright light to go toward. If you recall, I don’t believe in that stuff.)

After doing some tests, the doctor told me I had a syndrome that meant my heart would skip a beat or two or a few, but it was benign and there wasn’t anything to do about it so I should not worry. Which was fine with me, because I have plenty else to concern myself with. Like, how will I watch the entire World Cup and the Tour de France if I have a full-time job? Rent, food, medical visits? Or sports on television? Where are my priorities, right?

Heart Takes a Lickin’, Keeps on Tickin’

050918 walk from heart doctor.png
A drawing my doctor made to illustrated my benign heart issue.

Many years later, in 2015, I started riding my bike long distances. For one reason or another, some bright doctor noticed my heartbeat and said I should have it checked out by a cardiologist every year. So I did, but when I lost my job and insurance due to being laid off last fall, I couldn’t make my regular appointment. Today, through the magic of a volunteer specialist at the clinic, I got that checkup. The good news is that my heart is ok and there are no restrictions. She’ll see me again in three months if I have certain symptoms, or a year. It’s a yooge weight off my chest.

So that was a big relief. But it does not explain the fatigue I’ve been having. With the exception of Sunday’s 50-mile ride, and two 100-mile weeks in a row, I have not been exactly tearing it up out there on my bici/bike/bicycle. Part of me was hoping there would be some answer. Alas, there was not, so I went on my way, happily skipping out the door. I thought I was in for some epic, Titanic-level bad news. Luckily for me, and dare I say you, Dear Reader: my heart will go on.

050918 Garmin_Connect average resting heart rate
My average resting heart rate hovers under and around 60 beats per minute. That’s pretty good for a mid-aged fathlete. The slight rise in November was from the stress of being laid off, the cold, and with December, 941 miles total. From my Garmin vivoactive hr (heart rate watch).

Did you enjoy all those puns? Of course you did, and you’re welcome! They are in honor of the 41st Annual O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championships. They take place on Saturday, May 12, 2018, 11 am to 6 pm at 409 E. Fifth Street, Austin, Texas in the back yard of the O. Henry Museum also known as Brush Square Park. See www.PunPunPun.com for all the news. If you’re in attendance, give me a heads up (see how in the About section).

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050918 walk from heart doctor.png

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9 thoughts on “A Dude Walks Into a Cardiologist’s Office…

  1. When I spoke with my doctor about the sluggishness I’ve been having lately, he said it could have something to do with allergens in the air. Maybe that’s why!
    Glad your heart is still good to go!

    Liked by 1 person

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