“can we keep you?”

Alas, Cheryl, you can’t, but that was an incredible compliment.

— We took Dad for his stress test today. He had the lying-down kind, where they injected this stuff as well as a nuclear tracer. Then they took pictures. Simple enough.

For me, the scariest part of that is the idea of strange chemicals shooting through my body. Not for Dad. No, he has a needle phobia. He wasn’t exactly happy about the impending IV. The nurse was a former vet tech, which helped; if you can get good sticks on frightened animals, large or small, humans should be a doddle. You can reason with humans. You can also summon the human’s daughter, who has lots of goodies in her bag of tricks. Like the appropriate oral sedative.

Only it wasn’t all that appropriate after all, because combined with a vasodilator, apparently my dad’s body really likes Ativan.

Part of the process, whatever stress test you’re having, is lying down to get your picture taken. You do it once before and once after, for comparison. My dad has been sleeping so badly lately, especially with this hanging over his head, that the second he lay down in the machine, he conked out. In normal people, this is not a problem. Keep your arms up, don’t fidget, the camera will love you. My dad snores even when he’s mostly awake, and when he’s out, he twitches and flails. This is the man who got himself a concussion falling out of bed.

So the “after” picture didn’t come out too well, though we laughed our asses off in the waiting area, because let’s face it, snoring so loud we can hear you down the hall is funny. I wonder if they heard him on the next floor? We do.

They told us that he could not fall asleep for the second try. Enter the drill sergeant. I started off thinking, yeah, he’ll hear me from the door area. Then I figured I could stay sitting. Nah, by the end of that thing, I was standing over him, if not shouting, then speaking very loudly: “Open your eyes. Keep them open. Not long now. Stay still. We’ll take you to Mighty Taco if you’re good.” Because this is what benzos do to Dad. They turn him into a recalcitrant toddler. I remember when he had his teeth out! The cheapass dental folks sent him out unaccompanied, and there I was, stuck playing keep-away with his cigarettes until Mum could fetch us home!

The second try went well enough, and the doc asked me, “Can we keep you?” I about wept because I’d really have liked to stay. If not for CFIDS, maybe I would be good at patient care. Maybe they’d want me to talk them through all the incredible but scary procedures modern medicine has cooked up. Maybe I’d make a good doula, breathing with mothers in labour. But labour is… labour. And I would need to rest more than my client.

But she and I did get to crack a couple of jokes about piccolo players as stand partners and winding up with hearing problems after. That was nice.

. . .

In totally unrelated news, did we seriously find an entire diamond planet? Hey, instead of blood diamonds, we could mine that thing! You can’t make blood diamonds using robots! Quick, someone get a really, really heat-resistant rover built…


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