Relaxing Is Not My Forte

The reason for my recent  doctors appointment was that I needed a physical exam for an up coming dental procedure.  The doctor completed the basics of the appointment.  However, she sent me to the hospital for the most difficult parts of the exam.  I needed a blood draw, an EKG, and some chest x-rays.  All three tests require a person to be very still while being taken, and that is not an easy task  for me. 

I remember as a kid going to physical therapy.  My physical therapist would make me lay still on a matt  for a  half hour to practice being as still as I could.    To an eight or nine year old, that was physical torture!  I wanted to be up moving around, for goodness sake!  I kept on wondering what the kids were doing in class, and I would envy them for learning something I wasn’t around to learn.  I got eight hours of sleep at night, that was enough rest for me!

If I was trying extra hard to say or do something, but was not having much success; my Dad would tell me to, “Relax, relax, Re LAAAAX!”  I know he just trying to be helpful, and even supportive  in his own way.  However, quite often I would lament, “That’s not very helpful, Dad!” 

Years later I understand what my  physical therapist and my Dad were trying to accomplish.   There are times when I wish I had tried harder to work on being as still as I can.  That way when I need to hold myself ridiculously motionless, I would be more practiced doing so! 

How did I survive the blood draw, EKG, and x-ray?  The phlebotomist was smooth!  I had his assistant holding my wrist and forearm, and Beth was holding my shoulder and upper arm.  The vampire was in and out so fast, I didn’t know he had done anything!  I praised the phlebotomist for his swift and painless work!  

The EKG test was harder!  After the specialist got all the wires taped securely to my chest and abdominal areas, which took a bit of time to set up, all I had to do was sit quietly.  The first test was hard to read.  He said he would try one more time with me sitting up.  If it failed, he would have me lay on the examination table. (Laying down on a narrow exam table is not relaxing to me, and might have taken more time to calm myself.)  Instead, Beth told me to wiggle; sometimes reverse psychology works wonders!  The second test was not perfect, but it was good enough for the purpose it was taken for.  Two tests down, one more to go!

The dentist wanted three x-rays.  (Flashback!  As a kid, I would be x-rayed at least once a year, I guess to monitor the growth of my bones.  It  was a horrible experience; being taped down by lots and lots of masking tape, in the hopes that it would help tame the wiggles. How could I stay still when I was dreading the pain of the tape being taken off!)   This time there was no hard table, and no masking tape!   Two of the three images had to be retaken, but the x-rays were, to my relief, painless and quick. 

I think the x-ray technicians enjoyed getting to practice driving my power chair around whenever they needed to reposition me.  A few times I thought they were going to decapitate my head on their hard,immovable  equipment   It was an interesting experience trusting complete strangers, but “professionals have control of my power chair.  

I left home that morning at 9:30 without eating, because I was not supposed to eat before the blood draw!   By the time I returned home at 3:00, I felt exhausted and starving.  Maybe I should practice relaxing a bit more!  I believe it is never too late to form better and healthier habits


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