I got the call the day before from the doctor who would be performing my stress test at the hospital. He asked a hundred questions about my diet and my daily routine, and then he told me that I couldn’t eat or drink twelve hours before the appointment.
I don’t know about you, but going twelve hours without food is already enough to turn me into a grizzly bear. The thing is that once I got to the hospital, I knew there were going to be a few more hours that I was going to have to go without eating. Thinking about that all night kept me tossing and turning. I didn’t get any sleep. This was torture.
When I finally nodded off, it felt like only five minutes later when my alarm clock started screaming in my ears. I woke up tired and hungry and there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t even drink a cup of coffee. This was cruel and unusual punishment.
For once in my life, I couldn’t wait to get to the hospital. I just wanted to get this all over with and grab two cheeseburgers, a bunch of fries, maybe some cheese sticks, a slice of pizza…etc. The more I thought about it, the more my stomach growled all the way to the hospital.
When I walked into Cardio, there was one nurse behind the desk and a security guard who was half asleep. I waited, and I waited, and I waited, and I waited. It felt like it would take forever for the nurse to finally call my name, and then when she did, she had a baffled look on her face.
“Mr. Allen,” she asked.
“Yes, that’s me,” I answered.
“You don’t have an appointment,” she said. She started typing into the computer.
“What,” I asked with a slight pitch in my voice.
“Uh, you were supposed to be here yesterday,” she added.
“What,” the pitch got a little higher. “No. No, the doctor called me yesterday to make sure I was aware of my appointment today.”
“Um, I don’t have a record of that,” she said as she looked me straight in the eyes. Then, she handed me a sheet of paper, “Here’s your bill for your missed appointment.”
“What,” a new higher-pitched noise escaped my lips. “A bill? For what?”
“For the appointment you missed yesterday,” she said with the most stoic face I have ever seen.
“I didn’t,” I started to say as the heat in my neck was letting a little steam escape. “I didn’t,” I tried to start again but I was seriously trying to hold back from yelling or saying something that I knew I would regret. “I didn’t…miss…my…appointment! It’s today!”
“It’s okay,” she said with a relaxed tone, as if she didn’t understand the weight of my frustration. “We’ll just reschedule you. In the meantime, we’ll let your insurance company take care of that bill, and everything will work out just fine. All you have to do is cover the deductible. No big deal.”
My eyes went wide, and I could actually see myself strangling her. The veins in my neck started popping out first, and the next to follow were the ones at my temples. My entire face went red as I was clenching my fists as tight as I could. The world almost went completely blank.
“Okay, test him. He’s good,” the nurse ordered.
They quickly strapped monitors on my arms and stuck one to my chest as they watched the machine do its calculating. She recorded the numbers and then she smiled at me, “All done. Would you like a cup of coffee? It looks like you could use a cup of coffee.”
My vision started to come back as the dreams of killing everyone and everything began to fade. I shook my head, still not fully in control of my body. As she handed me the coffee, my hand was shaking and some of it spilled onto the floor. That’s when the thought occurred to me, “So, that’s the stress test?”
“Yes. You did very good. Your numbers are great. But we’ll know more after we take a more thorough look,” she answered.
“Oh, you guys got me,” I looked at her with half a smile, “You guys got me good.” As she looked back at me with a smile and question in her eyes, I asked, “Where’s your cafeteria?”