January 26th, 2010



And so begins a new day with my beloved caffeine and sugar alcohols. Lord, make a regular man out of me.

'Sall good

I went down to the local medical complex and did my stress test this morning. I'd never done one of those before.

They did an EKG at rest, then an ultrasound at rest. As I was getting up on the treadmill, the cardiologist came in. He turned out to be a friend who sits on the Boy Scout Council Executive Board with me. As I was beginning the treadmill, he asked me a couple of questions. In response to my inquiry, he said, "Well, your EKG says you had a heart attack, but that [pointing to the ultrasound] says you haven't." So, I began to walk.

I went a little over nine and half minutes. When I finally gave up, it wasn't because my heart rate and breathing were too much, but rather the backs of my ankles were hurting like crazy. I've never learned how to properly jog (I'm built for walking, not running), and since my tendons weren't stretched out, gallumphing up that incline was painful. I rated "Excellent" in my capacity for exercise. If I could have made twelve and a half minutes, I would have made "Superior," which is what trained athletes are supposed to do. (Hey, if I'd known there was a score to beat . . .) Immediately after quitting the treadmill, they did another ultrasound.

The verdict: There is no scar tissue on my heart; I did NOT have a heart attack. The blip that shows up on my EKG is a ghost, a false positive, an anomaly. Other than a few extra beats now and then, my heart is as sound as a bell. I am cleared for surgery whenever I can get around to rescheduling it, and I don't see any heart problems that would imperil my trip to Philmont this summer. I am still, as my salute to my old Venture Crew would put it, Rougher! Tougher! Buffer!

I celebrated by stopping for lunch at Steak and Shake on the way home and having a Wisconsin Buttery Burger.

All this doesn't mean that I can just barge ahead as I am. I am still overweight, out of shape, and getting older (which makes me a Rougher Tougher Buffer Duffer, no doubt). I have declared that this is the year I get myself put together, so I'll be addressing those issues, pronto. But for today, it's nice to know that I'm okay. I just don't know when I'll find another two weeks to take off and have my nose drilled.