Aug 28
Mellowlady , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog


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Dropped my youngest son off at college. Celebrated our empty nest with a great dinner. Then I started feeling sick and throwing up.  Little did we know I was having a heart attack.  I passed out in the hotel bathroom hitting my face and breaking my nose. My husband woke up when he heard me fall. He found me unconscious and bleeding and quickly called 911.  I was lucky enough to be only 3 blocks from Minneapolis's Hennepin hospital.  I remember waking up in the ER with several people working on me.  Being a nurse I knew things were not good from the Doctors and nurses voices and the medications they were giving me.  Then I was out again. I woke up again just after they  shocked me in the cath lab. I let them know that it hurt!   They placed a stent and got me packed up to move me to the ICU.  But I started going in to  an arrhythmia again. I had clotted off the stent.  After hitting me with more blood thinners and a second stent I started my recovery.   Because I was treated so quickly and received such great care I had very little damage to my heart.  I have done the work. Exercising and going mostly vegetarian.  Had a small bump in the road. I was diagnosed with Melanoma and needed to have surgery to remove a large chunk from my lower leg.  I managed to get through all of this!  I have practiced mediation off and on but I became a everyday guru after this.  Mediation helped me deal with all that was happening. Now fast forward to two years post heart attack.  Time for a stress echo.  I was very nervous for this test. I can walk miles and miles but I don't run!  I head to the test in my work out gear. Shorts, sports bra and T-shirt.  First thing the echo tech does is tell me to take everything off on top. Even the sports bra!  I get a poncho that has one snap in front and would qualify for a crop top. Oh wait I forgot to mention I am 58 years old and I am a C/D cup.  So you know my  breasts are hanging low and will be bouncing like a rubber ball on the treadmill.  The male nurse and male Doctor come in. IV started in my hand and 500 ekg patches attached all over my body and we are off to the races.  The goal is to reach a certain heart rate and see how well my heart works at that level.  I did take my dose of Atenolol. So it is more difficult to get you heart racing as this drug keeps your heart from doing it.  So I am on the treadmill holding on but not to tight since I have the IV in one hand and the EKG plug in the other. My breasts are flopping around like dead fish. Now I start to sweat!  Sweat and adhesives don't play well together.    So the EKG patches start falling off.  The male nurse is desperately trying to stick them back on.  I am getting more and more embarrassed and all I want is for this to be done. So I say I am done!   Quickly over to the cot for the Echo but the echo and EKG are not synchronized. The tech,nurse and Doctor are all getting frustrated.  Then the Doctor announces the test was inconclusive. The machines didn't work properly and I did not reach my target heart rate.  I held it together and made it to the parking lot before the tears started falling.  This experience was beyond bad.  Then I learn from my Cardiologist that there was no reason for me not to wear a sports bra!  It took me some time to be able to laugh about this. I am wondering if other women have had similar experiences with stress tests.  If other hospitals have better way of covering women up during this test?

I am from Iowa and my Cardiology care has been here at my local hospital.  I have been very happy with my Cardiologist. It was the stress test experience that makes me think there must be a better way to do this test for women!



  • JamesPL
    What a story! It sounds like some things were off in their test. When I had a stress echo, there was no problem with EKG patches remaining in place and I sweat profusely when I run. For some reason, the stress echo requires the shirt to be off while the nuclear stress test does not. Presumably because of the ultrasound images. I was told to keep my shirt on for the nuclear but told I had to remove it for the echo. They were taking ultrasound images in the center of my chest so I would think a sports bra would interfere with that. At any rate, I would certainly continue to seek advice from your cardiologist and perhaps get another test done. Good luck to you.
  • yarn007
    Oh, honey what an adventure. So sorry you had a tough time of it. At my stress test I got to keep everything on the bottom, but no bra and a regular hospital full gown for the top (I was admitted to the hospital at the time of the stress test).
  • Elizabeth17
    Bless your heart - I have to do the nuclear stress test because of my PAD - they are not much fun - but alot better for me!
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