Stress Test

My husband is going to have a stress test next month. I'm not very worried about it. OK, I'm a little worried.

The reactions of the people I know who have had stress tests varies. One of my friends said she flunked hers. Just couldn't do it. She didn't say what that meant for her heart health. Another friend had to have the thallium stress test. It scared her because the doctors had a hard time getting her heart rate down once they got it up. Another lady I know, one who huffs and puffs as she walks short distances, said the test was no big deal.

I'm not real worried about whether my husband can do the walking part. He walks some at work. In steel-toed boots. Up and down hills that are covered with railroad ballast and therefore have questionable footing. But he does have arthritis in his knees. And although I have never had a stress test, I have heard that the hardest part is when you have to walk up an incline.

So….I asked the exercise Nazi. She isn't real concerned about her dad's endurance on flat ground. But much of the test won't be on flat ground. I asked her what to do.

"Dad needs to walk on an incline," she said. "For twenty minutes."

The only place I could think of where we could do this is at the local park. He avoids the hills at the park. We have been going down one and up one, walking the rest of the time on relatively flat ground. We thought we were doing good.

I decided that since I am off work, I would test the situation. I would go and walk the hills and see how it was to walk them for twenty minutes. It's really only one hill, actually, on a quarter mile loop. You just go up it and down it. One way is a little steeper than the other. I chose to go down that way.

I started at 1:18. Told myself I wasn't going to even look at my watch until I had been around the loop four times. I can walk a mile on level ground with no problem. This shouldn't be too hard.

Seven minutes later, breathing heavily, I looked at my watch. Not too hard? Ha!

I managed to last the full twenty minutes, but believe me, I had to encourage myself. A lot. And my knees are sore. But I figure that my husband will not walk without me, and my not being able to go the distance could be an excuse for him to give up.

Not gonna happen. I will go the distance so that he will be prepared. Marriage is a partnership, right? But I'm glad we have three weeks before this test takes place.

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