I’ll be honest. Working hard at school was never a strong point for me. I did OK and even graduated college with honors but unless a subject grabbed my attention I wasn’t the most disciplined of students. But last week I took a test I desperately wanted to pass.
A stress test!
As I got hooked up to a boat-load of wires and briefed on how the treadmill test actually works, the nurse informed me that my target heart rate for the test was 171 bpm. But about 3 or 4 minutes into the test she informed me that we were shooting for 145 bpm.
When I asked about the 171 mark she explained that my blood pressure was already rather high and they had to take such matters into the overall process. When I hit 145 bpm I was not experiencing any bad effects so we kept going.
About 10 1/2 minutes into the test I called it quits with a heart rate of 160.
Whew! I was sucking air BIG TIME!
The nurse said it normally takes 3-5 days to hear back from the doctor unless something critical is found. So no news is good news. When the doctor’s office called later that same day I started to freak out but it was just a nurse letting me know that a prescription for high cholesterol had been sent to the pharmacy.
Finally, yesterday, six days after taking the test the doctor’s office called and a pleasant-sounding nurse said,
“There is no evidence of coronary heart disease.”
I was only mildly concerned about the outcome of the test but I was very glad to hear those eight simple words. My struggle on the treadmill was due to being out of shape. WAY out of shape.
As I was driving home later that day and reviewing the good news about my stress test struck me that this was no guarantee of having lots of time left here on earth. Any number of other health issues could pop up or even a fatal accident.
I’m not trying to project a morbid outlook on life; I’m just saying that we tend to live with a false sense of safety – thinking that we’ll be around for a long time. And yet none of us knows that we’ll wake up tomorrow.
Our very breath is a gift from God! Living with the awareness of our mortality tends to help us make the most of every moment!