Have you ever been in a big metal tube that makes Atari noises for a really long time?

Sunday, July 7th, 2024 9:57 am.

The other day, my best friend and his wife took their kids to Cedar Point.  You wanna know what I was doing? I was at Cleveland Clinic, getting my annual heart physical.  I’m not sure if I’d wanna have a biological kid, because, if I did, he might have to go through what I did the other day.

As long as the lines for the rides can be at Cedar Point, it’s nothing compared to the wait for the “rides” at Cleveland Clinic.  (I was never even allowed to ride the rollercoasters at Cedar Point, because they might rip apart my delicate innerworkings. At one point, I had a pig valve, and at one point, I had something which technically made me a cyborg. I would still go to Cedar Point, though, for the boat ride, with the animatronic river pirates shooting at you, and the foam lizards you could buy that you could walk on a leash like a dog, and Berenstain Bears Land, etc.)

I won’t torture you by explaining what I had to go through the other day.

Just kidding! I am going to explain, in painful detail, what I went through the other day!

But first, here’s some background information:  I was born with Truncus Arteriosus. That might sound like the Elephant Man disease, or that I have an elephant trunk used as a replacement artery  (that trunk thing isn’t that far off, but I don’t think they ever used one.) but really, what Truncus Arteriosus is  …well, I still don’t know, but I get a checkup for it every year, so it’s constantly explained to me, but I also have severe ADHD, so I only ever half listen to what they are saying, at best.

This year I had a big appointment.  Four big tests:

TEST 1: I had an EKG, which is easily the easiest test for heart stuff. The test takes less than five minutes and consists of just having some sticker things put on your chest. The guy who did it did an excellent job, but he has a really meek voice. So, when he called my name, you could barely hear it.  I had to walk through like three waiting rooms of people to say, “DID SOMEONE SAY NICK MOOSE!?”   But that was kind of fun because I love yelling my ridiculous name at people.

The real horror starts with Test 2, so, let’s sack it up and delve into that one.

TEST 2:: I would have saved this one for the end because it’s the most torturous test of the day, but I’m trying to talk about  these in order.

Yeah, this one was the MRI. This one was scary.  I’m not claustrophobic, but if you are in a big metal tube for over an hour with what sounds like EGREGIOUSLY  loud Atari noises blaring in your ears, you might start to freak out. It sure happened to me.

I thought I could handle it, I have done these before, but this time I wasn’t sure I could make it all the way through.

They talk to you every now and then and say to “Breath in. Breath Out. Hold your breath. Now breath regularly.”  It’s not even a robot voice, it’s a pre-recorded voice who stumbles over the word “breath.”  My old boss at Dairy Queen, John, had a recording for the drive thru speaker, and it was nasal, and awful, and I think they still use it, but this voice might be worse.

Or, maybe it’s only worse because you have to hear it 50 times within the space of an hour.

I told myself I wasn’t going to use the panic button they give you, but about 50 minutes in, I did, and I was like, “Am I breathing in and out right!?”  (I suck at a lot of things but pride myself in being able to breathe in and out.)

Turns out I WAS doing it right, so, it only took me 20 more minutes to get out.

And they had this IV in my arm so they could inject some fluid in me.  When I was done, they said I should leave this thing in my arm, in case the people doing the stress test later might need to inject something into it.

I know what you’re thinking, “That wasn’t the STRESS test!!?”   I thought the same thing, but we’ve got two more to go.

The next test was the ECHO. I’ve had this one done a million times, and I usually hate it, but it was a walk in the park this time compared to the MRI.

It works like this: You take your shirt off, someone rubs gel all over your chest, and then smooshes a stick thing into your body, trying to take pictures of your innards. It can hurt, but if it’s a hot nurse doing it, not gonna lie, it can be kinda hot. (It really isn’t “hot” but I just pretend it is, because sometimes I’m sitting there, shirtless, next to a pretty girl, and that gets my mind off what’s happening.)

So, after I wipe all the gel crap off my chest, I’m off to the final test of the day. (With an IV chord still dangling off my arm, with a syringe in it, because it wasn’t necessary at all for the last test, and they didn’t take it out. So, for all I know, I might need it for the last test, and I should make sure it’s taken out before I leave hospital, because, otherwise, I might be arrested or something.)


SPOILER ALERT: I didn’t need it for the last test either. The last test, the STRESS test, consisted of me running on a treadmill as much as I could, so they could see if my heart would explode or not. It didn’t, which I think is a good thing.

But it felt like the type of thing the FLASH would have to do to test his maximum speed.

They told me to make sure someone takes my IV-syringe thing out of my arm, and if forget, to stop at a fire department, because they could do it.

So, then, I have to wander up to my appointment with my main doctor, and it WENT WELL!!   She said I get to live for at least another year! And the nurse even took out my IV-syringe combo pack, so I didn’t have to go to a fire department!!

Then, on the way home, I stopped at Steak ‘n Shake, to ruin any good heart health I had.

As a present to myself, to congratulate me for the day, I got another Atari off ebay. (I still can’t find the Atari I had as a kid, but I’m sure I will find it now that I got another one.)  It’s important to me to have an Atari easily accessible at all times, just in case I want to re-visit the dulcet tones of the MRI.

So, THANK YOU CLEVELAND CLINIC for keeping me alive for another year! (Some people might not be happy about that but I am.)

And now, I shall leave with an image of what Truncus Arteriosus is. Whatever the hell this is, it’s inside of me.




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