Posted by: guinness222 | November 20, 2008

“So am I gonna live?”

       About a month or so ago, our church offered a “Life Screening Service” to be conducted in the Church hall by an outside company. They were offering to do ultra-sound tests on the carotid arteries (up both sides of your neck, the superhighway of blood to the brain) This is one of those areas that if “plaque” builds up and blocks or too severely restrict the blood to the brain, well,…you have a stroke. Secondly they offered to test your “abdominal aorta”, the main superhighway of blood from your heart to the rest of your body. The most common “boo-boo” is an aneurysm, or weakened wall that sort of blows up like a balloon and if left unknown or un-treated if it “pops”, well let’s just say that’s what happened to John Ritter of Three’s Company, usually you’re gone before you know there is anything wrong. I’ve a friend who had one “pop” a few years ago, and he died on the operating table during a procedure before anybody knew it happened! And I have another friend whose aneurysm they found in time, but in trying to “patch it” they nicked his spinal cord and he’s confined to a wheelchair now. The good news is the tests are painless. they put some “goop” on your belly and your neck and just rub this thing, looks like a small vacuum cleaner head, over the area and it takes “pictures”. Same thing they use in pregnant women. (As I left the office I told the Receptionist I had to go get an ultrasound test, she had a quizzical look so I said, “They just want to make sure the baby is positioned properly.” Being a loyal Guinness imbiber trust me, I look believable!)

      The third test is one that when I was training to be an EMT (Another life for another column) I learned about. It is the absolutely most simple, un-invasive, sure fired test I’ve ever seen, but I haven’t met a Doctor or Clinic, or Hospital that has adopted it as routine. Here’s how it goes and I think you will completely agree with me. First of all your blood is contained in a “closed” system, from the heart, to the arteries, to the capillaries, to the cells, to the venal capillaries, to the veins, through the old liver, and back to the heart. A complete circuit, unless you cut yourself, “leak” etc. Soooooo, doesn’t it stand top reason that if all the “pipes” are clean and free of any “kinks” or “blockage” that the “pressure” should be constant in the system? Of course!

    So what you do is take the old blood pressure “cuff” , put one on each arm in the usual manner, AND one on each ankle. Then you take the pressure as usual. If everything is running “good” they will all be pretty even, but if one of them is significantly different then the probability of a “blockage, or “kink” is pretty high and needs to be further checked out. See?, simple, clean takes about three minutes to do. So why don;t they do it?

    My opinion it can easily become part of a series of “tests” for which the hospital will bill $850 each, the Insurance Company will pay $500 apiece, your doctor will look at and say “Your fine.”, whack you $125 for the visit, and guess what? That’s why medical care is so bloody “off the hook”!!

    The entire process for all these tests was less than fifteen minutes, badda bing, badda bang. And the cost for all of them $138. that’s it!

    So now I know my odd’s on “strokin’ out” are significantly less, my overall blood distribution system is functioning correctly, and all those “hot dogs”, “bologna” and other DELICIOUS fat foods really haven’t hurt, (that much).

    So, today it’s off to find a couple of hot dogs, lots of mustard and relish, ion a buttered and grilled roll, with a HUGE ice cream cone for dessert.

    As you wait to be called for any of these kind of hings, or even your annual physical, EEG, EKG, or whatever, that EVIL little voice in your head casts self doubts and you are wondering if you begin jogging tonight when you get home if it will make you better, you are mentally “cranking the numbers” to see if you can afford to join a health club, calculating how much earlier you would have to get up to get a “workout” in before work, etc. etc. etc.  But it’s amazing how that “EVIL little voice, gets “crushed” when the Doc says, “You look like you’re in pretty good shape,based on all the tests and blood work and all,  but you could use a little exercise.”

   “Yeah, right Doc,….I’ll get right on that, exercise, eat leafy green stuff, plenty of fruit, lot’s of water, cut back the red meat, increase the chicken and fish,….I’m on it Doc, like flies on shit! Trust me!”

   ( If I skip breakfast I can probably suck up three hot dogs! Got to go, fat is calling me!)



  1. “This is one of those areas that if “plaque” builds up and blocks or too severely restrict the blood to the brain, well,…you become a Democrat.”

    I go on Monday to get the results from my physical. All the lab work and stress test and stuff are back and I feel sure, since no one rushed an ambulance to my house, that everything is okay. If not, you will hear me crying from way down there.

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