Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Stressed & De-Stressed

Yesterday, then, I got back from the junket to the Mayo for the vaunted stress test along about two in the afternoon, having dawdled at Costco and Target on the way home.

What a joke. I think.

Passed with flying colors: forthwith my PA posted the results and explained them: nothing wrong with this, nothing wrong with that, nothing wrong with that other thing, everything is working. Read: “You have nothing wrong with you that we can tell from this test.”

And probably nothin’ wrong with me, period.

When I showed up in their precincts, the staff — who cannot be beat for kindness and lucidity — repeatedly told me how hard this test was gonna be, and ohhh we’re going to work you so hard and you’re going to be gasping for air, so don’t be surprised when you feel like you’re going to expire…and on and on.

Well, ohh-kayyy….

Not so much.


So they put you on this treadmill, which they can tilt at various grades. You start out strolling along on the flat, which cannot be said to exercise you much. Then for phase 2 they incline the thing a bit and up the speed. This makes you feel like you’ve been walking around the neighborhood at a decent clip — think “dragged behind your assertive German shepherd.” Then, for the real terror they set the incline at about what I’d estimate to be a 4% or 5% grade and jack up the speed a little more. Not fast enough that you’d have to run to keep up, though: just a fairly brisk walk.

All of this procedure lasts, I’d guess, about six or eight minutes. It’s not very difficult. At the most “extreme” stage, I felt exactly the same as I feel when walking up the north side of Shaw Butte. Working, but hardly about to expire. And no, I was not especially out of breath.

So it was an interesting experience. What was especially interesting about it was that they seemed to expect that I would find it very difficult, even verging on painfully exhausting.

Y’know…. If most Americans find that exercise difficult, then most Americans are radically out of shape.

Seriously! With the exception of the abbreviated crash fitness course last week, the extent of my exercise for the past few months has been walking the dogs around the neighborhood, about every second or third day. I’m too lazy even to walk the poor little beasts every day.

It is true that I habitually park about as far from a store’s entrance as I can get — partly so I can pull straight through two nose-to-nose parking spaces (so as not to have to back out around some behemoth SUV) but partly to sneak in a few extra steps of walking.

And it is true that I do not like elevators (having fallen 11 stories in one before we could get it stopped), and so given a choice will always take the stairs. Within reason. More than four or five flights and yeah, I’ll give up and take the damn elevator. But…since most commercial buildings in these parts are in single-story malls, it’s a rare day that I’m even presented with the choice.

And it is true that I walk faster than most people. (Yeah: I actually walk faster than I can run. I hate running.) But see the first item, above: No regular walking in months.

Consider, then: If a 73-year-old bat whose main exercise entails walking to the kitchen counter to pour another glassful of wine thinks the great flap about “ooohhh how HARD this test is gonna be” amounts to the most laughable thing she’s seen or heard since the daily Trump report, most people who show up in their precincts must be in very bad shape, indeed.

Walking bowls of Jell-O, presumably.

Anyway, I was SO happy and relieved to get done with this adventure that the minute I got in the door I speed-walked straight to the kitchen and pulled out the half-bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon residing in the fridge. And yes…

Yes. Drank it all.

Shortly a friend called to invite me to dinner. Since a) I could barely stumble down the hall without risking a ticket and b) I’d also had a magnificent meal of curried scallops over rice with wonderful fresh chard out of the garden, I had to decline.

So clearly the two docs whose business model favors dispensing as much medical care as they can dream up, whether you need it or not, were overprescribing. In a big way. More on that, later.

For the nonce: time for another health-enhancing feast (steak, little purple potatoes, asparagus, watercress salad, tomato, avocado, etc.) and another swiggle (or two, or three) of health-enhancing wine.



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Author: funny

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  1. So glad the test came out well – but hey – you gotta tell the elevator story now!

  2. Somehow I’m not surprised that you passed the test with flying colors. Congrats! And yes, we must hear the elevator story.

  3. Ha! Glad to hear the test went well. I guess the most stressful part was the leadup!

    Nearly two decades ago, MrH, then in his 40s and rather stout, experienced serious squeezing pain, “as if an elephant was sitting on [his] chest.” We went together to his doctor, who guessed that he might have had a heart attack and decided to perform a stress test, with dire warnings that if MrH did indeed have heart trouble, the test could bring on another attack.

    MrH was duly wired up and set to work on the treadmill, first slowly and then with increasing speed. But there was a problem. The goal of the test was to raise his heart rate to twice its resting level. Increase the incline as they might, ramp up the speed as they might, it simply would not rise to that level. MrH was then an avid fencer and we spent much of our weekends walking. The only thing the test strained, he later told me, were his knees and hips.

    It developed that the squeezing pain was caused by reflux, possibly induced by a reaction to some ingredient in the joint supplement he was taking. When he discontinued the supplement, the pain went away.

    Walking seems to be very good for one indeed! He and I really should get back to doing it regularly…:)