My Magic Number

So, right at this moment, my Facebook status is:

Jack Sparrow may have had a jar of dirt, but I have a magic number.

That was also my Twitter status until I posted something else. So, what does it mean?

Well, I came home a little while ago from the Med Mall and my physical exertion test. I did the test, and it took 4 hours. There were various things that I had to do, and I was supposed to do them until I hurt too much or until the portion of the test was officially done. (If it was standing, I had to stand for 30 minutes. If it was picking something up, I had to do a certain number of repetitions.) Well, fairly soon after going over my history and noticing that I have an odd gait (apparently, my right leg swings in front of my leg as I walk), the physical therapist checked my pulse for a resting heart rate. She checked it after I stood up. It was over 150. That freaked her out a bit, because I had been sitting down for a while, and all I had done was stand up. She had me sit down, while they figured out the maximum that my heart should beat. They decided a target heart rate for me was 156. (80% of my maximum heart rate.) So, just standing almost reached the level of a high endurance sport. They kept a close eye on my heart rate. Any time I would do anything, I would end up going over that number. Each time, it hit 167. I was supposed to walk 13 laps, but after 6 laps, my heart was at 150, and after 8 laps, it was at 167. When I would walk across a short distance with 10 pounds, it would hit 167. The physical therapist said that they normally only see that in someone with beta blockers. I started noticing when my heart rate would get “too high” because I would have a headache on my left temple and my ribs would hurt. (I had been having some of these pains over the weekend, and my mom kept trying to tell me that it was just anxiety.)

It was determined that the maximum that I can lift in a day is 10 pounds, my left side is stronger than my right, I can walk one tenth of a mile before my heartbeat gets to high, and I have too many balance checks to work off the ground. She told me that I didn’t complain as much as most people, and that she was shocked that I would attempt to do things, even when I knew that they would cause pain. I even tried to kneel on the floor, but that didn’t last long because it felt like daggers were going through my knee caps. (I had told people that this was an issue since 6th grade.) She said most people will just refuse to do the tests. She also told me that she could tell that I had been in pain for a long time because I was able to smile, talk, and laugh even when I was at a 10. (My mom taught me as a kid that if you live with constant pain, sometimes you just have to grin and bear it.) She said that when I go to doctors and they don’t believe that I’m in actual pain, which happens sometimes, that I should tell them that I do not want pain medicine, very true—btw, and that I tend to have a rapid heart rate with pain. She suggested I get my breathing and heart checked out by a specialist to make sure that I know why my heart is limiting me. She also suggested that I tell the doctor that my pulse ox level was 99 when I would have a heart rate of 100, but it would be 93 or lower at 150-167. She said that I wasn’t getting enough oxygen when I was doing activities.

So, I don’t know if I’ll get my loan discharged, but I do know that I have a magic number, and that I feel absolutely awful.

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Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.