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I can hear an echo…cardiogram

So, today (Wednesday), I’m going in for some minor outpatient surgery. In preparation, I had to go in on Tuesday to have an echocardiogram and a stress test done.

The nurse, Lorena, was about 5’2″, 22-23 years old, and extremely pretty. We went into the room, she closed the door and mentioned something about hanging my clothes on the hook on the back of the door. While she busied herself with the machine, I stripped down, hung up my clothes and stood there naked, awkwardly, waiting.

She turned around and gasped. “Umm, all I need is for you to take off your shirt, Mr. Avitable,” she said in horror. I quickly put my shorts back on and apologized for the misunderstanding. “It’s okay,” she lied, “now I need you to lay down on your left side on the table here.”

Have you ever tried to lay down on command? What you do is end up in an awkward pose that is not at all the natural pose you might use if you laid down to sleep or on the couch. “What should I do with my arms?” I asked.

“You can put your left arm up near your head,” she offered. That didn’t help. If anything it was even weirder. Finally, I just bent my elbow, rested my head on my hand, and decided that was the best that I could do. With one leg knee bent and my right arm resting on my inner thigh, I knew that this is what I looked like:


“I’m like a fatter, less hairy, not quite naked version of Burt Reynolds,” I joked as she spread warm ultrasound gel on my chest.

“Who’s Burt Reynolds?” she asked in all seriousness.

“Sigh. Nevermind. So, can you explain what you’re doing there?”

“Basically, this wand uses ultrasounds to capture a multi-dimensional picture of your heart so that we can make sure that everything’s okay before your surgery,”

“Well, if you get lost, just take a left at the Burger King sign until you get into my right aorta, and you’ll know you’re going the right direction when you pass the milkshake fountain.”


“Boy, tough crowd!”

She just rolled her eyes quickly and continued doing her job. That’s when I realized that this little cute nurse probably gets hit on by every old man, young man, and the occasional woman who’s in there for an echocardiogram. She’s probably so jaded about this that she just tunes out everything that is said.

“You know, I’m just trying to joke around because I’ve never had this done before and I’m a little nervous.” I said.

She seemed to relax a little. “I understand.”

“Besides, the last time I had a beautiful woman rubbing warm oils on my chest, I fell asleep and woke up in a bathtub full of ice with my kidney missing!”

This time, she laughed.

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55 Replies to “I can hear an echo…cardiogram”

  1. Undomestic Diva

    Best wishes for a quick recovery. My uncle, who is some sort of medical tech, recently had a run-of-the-mill knee surgery. The surgery itself was rather simple, but he was nervous going under at the hands of the guys he works with on a daily basis. When he woke up, it was no surprise to find they had written on his upper thigh, in Marks-A-Lot “castration cancelled – not enough to work with.”

    Happy healing.

  2. B.E. Earl

    The last time I had a beautiful woman rubbing warm oils on my chest, I was asked if I wanted to spend an extra $50 for a happy ending. Being more of an “Empire Strikes Back” guy, I declined.

    Best of luck with the surgery.

  3. borysSNORC ™

    Don’t you hate it when you make a pop culture reference and the young ones miss it entirely and it makes you feel old? Happening too often on my end… but never fear the youngin’s will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes my friend!
    Good luck with the surgery.

  4. Ioma

    This post made my day – you are hysterical!

    I have to have an echocardiogram once a year, so I know all about the awkwardness. After nearly a dozen, I still don’t know how to position myself so I don’t feel like I look like a jackass.

    It’s easy to misunderstand a med tech’s instructions, especially because many of them assume that you know what they want you to do. Then they tell you absolutely nothing about what they’re doing to you.

    I always make jokes when I’m nervous. I’m notorious for making a joke while going under anesthesia. I’ve noticed that women respond to my jokes better than men do. I wonder if it has anything to do with being afraid of sexual harrassment – would it be unprofessional for a male echo tech to laugh at a joke from a female patient (and vice versa)?

    I hope your breast-reduction surgery goes well today! Seriously, I’ll be thinking of you and hoping you have a speedy and as-painless-as-possible recovery.

  5. Robin

    “Who’s Burt Reynolds?” she asked in all seriousness.

    And that is how I feel when I try to make cultural references with my college students. They don’t laugh at my jokes either. :deadhorse:

  6. Lin

    I would hardly call gener reassignment a “minor” surgery.. but then again, you’re a different kinda person.

    Seriously though, who DOESN’T know who Burt Reynold is? I’m fairly sure even my five year old does.

  7. Miss Britt

    What?!?! You’re having surgery today?!?!?!

    Why didn’t you tell me??

    (also – how long is the recovery period? I think it just makes sense that I should take those days off work. You know, to be with you and stuff. My boss will understand.)

  8. fiwa

    Those are the tests my husband just had done – and I think we must have had the same nurse! My husband didn’t strip, but he did have belly button lint. Dude, always check the belly button lint!! We were both pretty nervous and the nurse just did not have any sense of humor at all. I made some comment when it was all done about getting to rip the electrodes off of him, and her face blanched like I’d made some kinky sexual comment.

    Hope whatever you’re having done goes well & you recover quickly.

  9. Sheila (Charm School Reject)

    I’m so glad that you’ve decided to get that vasectomy. Ob behalf of the entire world, I’d like to thank you. Now, don’t freak out when you hear high winds later today, it’s just that as the new spreads, millions of people at a time will be breathing deep sighs of relief.

    Seriously though, good luck today. Don’t die or anything like that. A lot of people will be pissed if they have to cancel their Halloween plans.


  10. Breigh (Canadutch)

    haha that was so funny. I don’t have a lot of pity though. I would have, if I hadn’t moved to the Netherlands, where bedside manner and common sense don’t exist in hospitals.

    I have been left in freezing cold rooms, buck naked with my vajayjay splayed out for all to see and nothing was between me and the rest of the world but a door… that the two people that were there to do a one person job went in and out of at least 15 times.

    Oh the stories I could (and probably should, instead of being such a lazy blogger) tell.

  11. Scott

    Hey man, I am an echo tech and the last thing I want is for another person to be cracking lame ass jokes when I am trying to focus on making sure their heart is okay.

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