My heart bloopty-blooped recently. I think that’s the term you’d find on WebMD. With a few other symptoms of concern, and since it was that time anyway, I went to the doc. He sent me to a cardiologist for an ekg and a stress test.
Stress test? Isn’t that a term that describes my life? And I’m going to pay a doctor for it now? So naturally, I’m now stressing over a stress test. Doesn’t help with the bloopty-bloops, let me tell you.
I went yesterday, totally unaware of what to expect. After a lengthy nurse interview, the doc comes in with more questions. But there was something strange about this guy. It took me a minute to figure it out: He never looked at me. He looked at the computer, at the pad on the table in front of him, but – aside from a glance or two – he never looked at ME.
He tells me there are some minor abnormalities on the ekg and I need to set up a stress test. I clear my throat. “Um… I’m having that today, right?”
“You are?” he says and checks the schedule. Of course I’m on it. In way of explanation he says, “You weren’t wearing tennis shoes.”
I wanted to answer in the vernacular of my kids when something said is totally mysterious and out-there: “The duck flies at midnight!”
Turns out you need tennis shoes for a stress test. I should have asked, I suppose, but what do I know? They have loaners (which isn’t as bad as it sounds) and it’s a good thing. If I had left at that point, there would have been no coming back.
So then it’s into the Fun Room where for the next hour I am stickied and wired and ultrasounded and embarrassed and winded. Fortunately the only person with me was a great nurse who kept me talking about dogs (well, she talked, I gasped) and made the time go faster.
Let me cut to the chase about the bottom line for those of you interested: I’m fine. Small blood pressure problem easily dealt with. That wasn’t the whoa. The whoa was that doctor who NEVER LOOKED ME IN THE EYE.
When he came in to read the test, he kept his back to me, looking at the computer and talking that direction. When I was checking out and he was giving me final instructions, I was standing north and he faced due west the whole time he talked to me.
I don’t know how much money my insurance company is going to pay this guy who for just under two hours held my future in his hands. And I know he does these tests all the time. I also know he can be friendly – I heard him talk in annimated tones to a guy in the next room. As I left there with good news, shouldn’t I have felt relieved and happy? Instead, I felt unsettled and – may I say it? – alone.
Eye contact is such a small thing….. Except it isn’t.