Passing the stress test
First came the razor, deforesting small circles on my expansive torso. Then came the electrodes, streaming off my chest like ribbons from a departing ocean liner. I wasn't sure if I was being prepped for execution or a stress test, so seeing the doctor walk in instead of the chaplain was a huge relief.
Then they put me on a human hamster wheel for 13 minutes, pumped me full of radioactive substances and took creepy, highly invasive pictures of my naked cardiac muscle. Maybe they learned something, I don't know, but even after all that effort and expense I still don't have an answer to the most pressing question of all: Is my heart in the right place?
If you're a nursing home administrator, my story is probably irrelevant to you. You'll never have to undergo this particular medical procedure because you take a far more comprehensive stress test every working day — hopping up on the facility treadmill and proving your endurance with a battery of unrelenting challenges.
Even without reviewing your test results, I'm guessing you're in good professional condition. Your legs are constantly moving — making the rounds to encourage the team, identify trouble spots and manage crisis. Your heart rate has proven up to the challenge of care-clogging regulations and arrhythmia-provoking financials. You're able to deal with family members without heavy breathing or apparent exertion, all the while keeping your emotions in check without getting burned out and cynical.
In the words of the world's most influential physician, Dr. Seuss, you're in pretty good shape for the shape you are in. It's all very impressive, from my perspective. Especially since I just have one doctor's opinion to worry about, but you're constantly judged by politicians, regulators, number crunchers and self-anointed experts.
On the bright side, your daily stress test doesn't require all those wires attached to your chest. And we already know your heart is in the right place.
Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, who cobbles these pieces together from his secret lair somewhere near the scenic, wine-soaked hamlet of Walla Walla, WA. Since his debut with SNALF.com at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.