I’ve been going to the medical center for some basic tests, since it’s been several years since I’ve had any routine exams—just to keep track, not because of any big worries.

Today I spent some time with a cardiologist. In a previous round of quick exams, there had been a discrepancy on my EKG, and the (hurried) doctor I saw then suggested a stress test for a better picture. A month later, I’m back for the stress test.


Dr. W. isn’t satisfied with quick answers. She does a detailed interview, and I tell her about my heart murmur and its curious history.

First, she says, you should have some routine blood tests (which I can’t do today, because I wasn’t fasting), and a chest x-ray. This was a surprise—I’ve never had a lung complaint, and never heard of chest x-rays for a heart exam. But it’s cheap (250 baht), so okay.


While that image is being processed, they hook me up to the treadmill for the stress test. The results are satisfactory; my heart function is healthy enough. But there’s an oddity in the x-ray. Look, the doctor says—a normal heart points to the left side. But yours is tipped way over on its side. (Think of the pointed end aimed at 4:00 when it’s normally 5:00). She conjectures it could be because of my belly fat (hmm, she doesn’t see many Americans) and/or the curve of my spine (which has been a recurring issue, but not that severe). In any case, she says, avoid prolonged sitting, that could make it worse.

I’ve heard many reasons to avoid prolonged sitting, but that’s a new one!

So, what am I going to do when I want to visit my home continent again? You can’t avoid prolonged sitting on a 20-hour flight. Or even watching a full-length movie.

Well, I still have work to do on my knees; maybe my progress there will open up new ways to entertain myself.

2 thoughts on “Cardiology

  1. Re the prolonged sitting issue, I always take stretch breaks during long flights and find a place on the plane to stand and do some modified yoga, as well as chair yoga in my seat. People seem to understand. I also use time during connections to walk vigorously, climb stairs and find places where I can stretch.

    Hope you uncover more useful information through this testing protocol.


  2. Goodness, Alan, we certainly get to know a lot about our bodies the older we get! Digestion, knees, necks, backs, eyes….I hope you are/continuing to do well. Ask for Divine Grace.


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