Great day at CTHC

by Sarah Luna

Today was my last day at Central Texas Heart Center. I’ve run stress tests on many different people with a wide spectrum of health issues. I’ve seen 40 year old smokers huff and puff after 4 minutes and then a 79 year old man run for 10:30 minutes on the complete Bruce protocol. Your health is what you make it. It inspired me to see so many mobile seniors.

I had two instances stand out to me today. The first was a petite woman with leonine eyes. As I placed the leads on her, she asked about me and how long I had been there. I know I look young, so I usually try to explain that I’m a student finishing at A&M and going to Cornell. She completed the stress test and was sitting back on the bench when she looked up and said to me: “I know you’ll do well wherever you go. You will do great things and help a lot of people and save many lives. There is just something very good about you.” She said it so sincerely and with a gentle force that was quite striking. It was uplifting to have someone share that sort of confidence in me so candidly. I felt blessed.

The second incidence involved a woman and her husband. Family is allowed to stay in the room for the stress test for motivation and support. This particular woman was very nervous at the thought of walking on a treadmill. She suffered from Parkinson’s and was afraid that she would lose her balance and fall. Her face was taut with stress, and her tremors had worsened. Her husband sat in the room quietly encouraging her the entire time. Right before the test, she asked anxiously: “I feel pale, am I pale?” He replied: “Only on one side.” She laughed nervously. “There”, he said, “Now you’re pink on both sides, just smile more.” His admiration for her was so obvious. It was touching to see him care for her.

I’m grateful for my time at CTHC. I’ve met many kind and sympathetic patients who have been patient with me as learn the ins and outs of stress testing. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my internship has in store.