Stress Test

“Good news,” Dr. M said.

Part of my heart was gone. (“Dead meat,” De. M called it.) That was no surprise. We knew I’d had a heart attack. But the rest had performed with excellence. There was no blockage. There was not even narrowing. “It couldn’t be better,” she said.

She brought a picture onto her computer screen. “”Myocardial Profusion Deficits.” A circle was centered within a larger circle. The ring between the two circles was segmented. Some segments were black. (“Persistent”) (This was the dead meat.) The larger portions were pure white (“Normal”). They could have been darkened by diagonal lines (“Reversible”) or a checkerboard (“Mixed”), delineating degrees of concern.

The medication had worked. My diet had worked. My exercise had worked. I could stop my blood thinner, cold turkey. It and my good habits had given my heart the chance for this result. The techs had amped the stress test up to such a level it had revealed this solid footing to set out upon.

Dr. M printed out a copy of the circles. When I got “nervy,” which I would, I was to look at them for reassurance.

“And if I get chest pain, got to the ER?”

“If you get chest pain, go exercise. If it gets worse go to the ER. It is unlikely anything will go , but if it does, we will fix it. Something may kill you, but it won’t be this.”

For further reassurance, she scheduled a stress test in four months, to insure that everything remained clean.