What Do Chest Pains During Exercise Mean?: My Most Humiliating Medical Moment EVER. [Topless Treadmill Running]

by Charlotte on November 26, 2013 · 63 comments


 This is totally true. Scares the everloving crap out of me. 

Topless treadmill running has never been on my fitness bucket list but then neither was being a pro NFL cheeleader for a day or doing crunches on an underwater produce scale in an ice-cold pool for half an hour and I ended up doing both of those. So. So maybe I shouldn’t have been so shocked when last Friday morning found me frantically chugging up a treadmill set to 14% incline, unsure of which was more painful – the lack of sports bra or any supportive top or all the wires snaking out of me.

I should back up. Like all the way to last Thursday. I went in for my usual doctor’s check up – It was time, I needed a flu shot and I had some questions about folic acid absorption that I had after a rousing discussion with Deb on my post about being freaking depressed all the time. (Short version: Apparently there’s a genetic marker – of which I have half of – that impedes folic acid metabolism and can manifest as depression. It’s called the MTHFR genes, which aptly sounds out like Motherf****** in my head for some obscene and hilarious reason, in case you’re curious.) Plus I have a thing for paper dress fashion. I blame all those Barbie paper dolls I grew up loving on. (And the ones with the rub-on patterns? Remember those?!?)

Anyhow, back to my doctor’s appointment. Listening to my heart she asked if anyone has ever told me I have a murmur. I nodded. It was years and years ago and I hadn’t thought much of it because I was told (correctly) that up to 80% of people will have a murmur at some point in their lives and it generally doesn’t mean anything sinister.

Then she asked, “Do you have chest pain?”

Um, OF COURSE I DO. I’m the BEST HYPOCHONDRIAC EVER. HELLO. All I really said was, “Why yes! After I exercise, actually.”

Since moving from sea level to 5400 feet above sea level, I’ve been having chest pain when I work out. It only happens when I’m doing something aerobic and generally doesn’t kick in until about 30 minutes into the run or whatever. But there have been a few times where it’s been so intense I’ve had to stop my workout and lay down. But I figured that’s just what happens when you move up an oxygen-poor mountain. Plus I told my mom, a nurse, and she thought this was just a new iteration of my old friend Panic. So I tried not to worry about it and just take it a little easier with the cardio.

My doctor listened, nodded, and said, “I’d still like you to get it checked out.” And before I could say boo I was laying on my back getting my first-ever ECG. Which, if you’ve never had one, involves getting a bunch of wires taped to your chest and then being told not to talk while an antsy 4-year-old yells in your face, “Why you wearing no shirt, Mommy? Why you beeping, Mommy? What is wrong with you, Mommy?!” and of course “OPEN MY FRUIT BAR WOMAN.”

The ECG was fine but after listening to my heart again, my doctor handed me an appointment sheet to schedule a “stress echo.” When I asked her if I could workout between now and the test, she told me I wouldn’t have a chance because she was getting me the next available opening at the cardiac center.

Up until then I was decently calm but her alarm made me alarmed and so I obediently found a sitter for Jelly Bean and trotted myself over to the world-famous cardiac treatment hospital in Boulder, first thing in the morning.

“You are too young to be here,” were the first words out of the tech’s mouth when I walked in the room. Haha  I laughed. “No seriously,” he said. “You don’t have coronary heart disease.”

“Of course I don’t,” I answered him. “I eat healthy. I workout. I have no family history of it.”

“And yet that’s why you’re here,” he pointed out. “Because that’s what a stress echo is looking for.” Before I could protest, he told me to take my top off and handed me a little “shirt” that looked like two cotton bibs attached by a few snaps.

“Bra too?” I asked. He nodded before leaving the room so I could change. By the time he came back in my nerves had ratcheted up about 100 levels and so I did what I always do when I’m nervous and embarrassed: I started talking a lot. As he started attaching the little stickies to my chest that would later get hooked up to the wires, I nattered on about Colorado and fitness and my kids and oh for the love of little green apples this is awful. Awk. Ward. 

As he worked his way up my chest, I started to freak out that I was flashing the whole place. Boobs ahoy! Is this what it’s like getting a mammogram? Calm down, it’s a medical thing! These people see stuff like boobs all the time. They probably don’t even notice anymore. Seriously? How would they not notice? My mom always says a body part is a body part. But my mom also told me that Jello was health food so clearly that broad can’t be trusted. But hey since I’ve had children my boobs flee to my armpits whenever I lay on my back so it’s practically full coverage, right? I’m like Lady Godiva! Except instead of long, flowing locks covering my bits I’ve got long, flowing… skin! Aw crap, how long has my tummy been pooching out over the top of my running capris like that? Wait, am I really worried about whether I have a muffin top when there’s a possibility I might have some horrible heart defect? I could die right now! My children will be orphans! Which is what they get for ruining my boobs! No, that’s a terrible thought! Stop that! Stop being vain! Suck in your stomach!! Do I look fat in this bib?? SHUT UP CHARLOTTE.  

I’m telling you guys Naked Charlotte is a pain in the butt. Or chest.

The two young, male techs were doing their absolute best not to look at me and to act normal – which I appreciated, especially given my propensity to act anything but normal. “How do you feel?” the first guy asked me, for the 17th time. “100% fine,” I answered for the 18th time. “I’m totally fit and healthy!” I crowed, trying to convince everyone in the room of this truth, simply by saying it. (Which is basically the whole premise of The Secret right? Why did I not write that book??)


 Yesiree Bob, this was me. Except it was me that was topless and two dudes in lab coats. And I wasn’t nearly as chipper as this old guy. Who, let’s be honest, probably kicked my trash on this test. 

As they loaded me and all my snaky wires onto the treadmill I began to get performance anxiety. I’d just told them all I was like, super fit! What if I failed? This was, after all, A TEST. And tests can be failed. But not by me! I never fail tests! “What do I have to get to pass?” I asked him, eyeing all the computers and wishing I knew what they meant.

“You’ll be fine,” the second dude assured me. “We’re used to old people up here so anything you do will be better than that.”

“I should hope so,” I said, sizing him up. He had that small, wiry build that so many Coloradans have thanks to running ultras up 14,000-ft peaks for funzies and whatnot. He could pass this test. Running backwards. On one leg. I was sure of it.

“Although we do sometimes get those guys – you know the ones that are like 75 and been cross country skiiers their whole lives? They kill this test,” Guy #1 added.

“Great,” I muttered.

“You’ll be fine,” Guy #2 said again as #1 chirped from the other side of the room, again, “There’s no way you have coronary heart disease! Just saying!”

“So what does the chest pain feel like, exactly, when you get it?” Guy #2 asked as he fiddled with the machines.

“Well, it feels tight, like pressure. I feel weak and shaky. And sometimes I get really nauseous.”

He perked up at that. “You barf?”

“Um, I have,” I confirmed.

At that both guys sprung into action. “DO NOT VOMIT ON OUR MACHINES.” I laughed nervously. “NO WE’RE NOT KIDDING. DO NOT PUKE ON US.” They kept eyeing me as they arranged garbage cans around what I’m sure was very expensive and very moisture intolerant equipment. “IF YOU EVEN FEEL LIKE PUKING…”

“I won’t! I promise!”

“How do you feel now?” Guy #1 asked for the 19th time. “DO YOU FEEL NAUSEOUS??”

Chagrined, I looked at my feet. I’m the best hypochondriac ever, remember? Talk about barf enough and I will start to feel nauseated. So… “Let’s just do this.”

Guy #2 turned on the treadmill, saying, “This is just like every other treadmill you’ve ever been on.”

“There’s no TV,” I joked, starting to walk at a painfully slow pace.

“Look out the window. HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW? ARE YOU GOING TO BARF?”

And then it hit me. No, not barf. But the realization that I still didn’t have my sports bra on and was now fully on a moving treadmill wearing nothing but burp rags flapping in the breeze. “Wait,” I gasped, “I have to run with um, no….?” I gestured to my poor tired tatas.

“Oh yes. That’s everyone’s favorite part,” Guy #1 answered dryly.

Now he gets a sense of humor? At that point I realized that despite nerves, nipples and nausea I was just going to have to grit my teeth and get through this. So I sighed, looked out the stupid window and tried to channel my nervous energy into my feet.

Do you know how hard it is to run on a treadmill that’s constantly getting faster and steeper? While someone takes your blood pressure and measures your oxygen levels every two minutes? While your poor nips get all chafed because your paper bib has a thread count of like 10?? DO YOU???? As I panted and watched my heart rate climb – the point is to get your heart as high as you can stand it to see how your heart performs under stress – my mind took off again.

Why is Body Glide not on the list of instructions of what to bring with you to this test? Couldn’t I at least have band-aids? What do more well-endowed women do? And what about all those sweet elderly women who have to take this test? What do they do with their elderly nips – tuck them into the waistband of their pants? Tie them in a knot? Tie them in a bow? Throw them over their shoulder like a continental soldier?? Maybe this is a niche market and I should invent a bra that can be worn during ECGs! I’ll be rich!!

My entrepreneurial reverie was interrupted by Guy #2 asking me, “How are you feeling now?” Can’t talk anymore. Thumbs up. Big, hopefully convincing, grin. “You going to puke?” Vigorous head shake “no”. That makes me nauseous.

Guy #1 asks, “How much longer do you think you can run? Five more minutes?”

I’m seeing spots. Five more seconds maybe.

Guy #2: “Do you feel the chest pain yet?”

I look at the screen – I’m past my “predicted” max heart rate. I shake my head. No chest pains. Stupid healthy chest! Now I just look like a hypochondriac tool. Which… I am.

Guy #1: “Okay, when you feel like you absolutely can’t go any more, I’m going to need you to jump off the treadmill, run across the room to the exam table, hop up and lay down on your left side so I can do the ultrasound pics of your heart while it’s still beating really hard.”

Guy #2: “Got it?”

Oh I got it. I’m going to complete the biggest athletic achievement of my life, jump off, drop to my knees and rip my shirt off, waving it above my head in heart-healthy victory. THIS IS MY BRANDY CHASTAIN MOMENT. Nike will name a sports bra after me! After I invent one with with no front, sides or backs! Okay, so Nike will name a set of pasties after me! Whatever! I will inspire young girls and make adult bibs with snaps the must-have fashion accessory of the year! I will… faint?


To add insult to ignominy, I stumbled off the treadmill muttering about possibly barfing and the next thing I knew the two techs had got me on the table, on my left side and the first guy was ultrasounding the heck out of my heart. I watched it pump happily along as I tried to regain my breath and not vomit. It almost seemed to be taunting me with its healthfulness.

“So, what’s the verdict?” I asked lightly, trying to pretend that I hadn’t just had one of the absolute most humiliating experiences of my life.

“Not even so much as a single irregularity!” Guy #2 called to me. Fan-freaking-tastic.

“Well, I’m not the doc,” the first guy answered me, “but it all looks really good.” He added, “Let me put it this way, if I saw anything that was remotely off, we wouldn’t let you leave the hospital. And you’re free to go.”

“Okay,” I sighed. I felt lame but at least now I knew my heart is Superwoman.

“But,” he added, “you should still call your doctor on Monday to get the official results.” Then he pointed to something on the screen. “Because while your heart function all looks totally normal, there is an unusual amount of fluid in the sac surrounding your heart.”

“Wait, WHAT?” The last thing you should do is give a hypochondriac something legit to worry about. That’s like telling Kanye “Yeezus” West that Jesus called him and left a message, if you could just find the paper you wrote it down on. Shiz will fly.

“Have you been sick recently?” he asked. “Because there is a lot of fluid around your heart and that could be causing the pain. Just something to think about.”

And with that he stood up. “You can put your shirt back on.”


Have any of you ever had a chest murmur? Chest pains when you exercise? What did you do for it? Anyone else ever had to do a stress echocardiogram?? And help me feel better – what’s the most embarrassing medical procedure you’ve ever had??

P.S. My doc still hasn’t called me back so I haven’t heard the “official” results of my test yet. Or what that fluid is all about. But honestly I don’t really care because at least I get to wear a shirt again.

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Momof2 November 26, 2013 at 12:53 am

I’m sorry you had to go through that! I’ve never had an ECG (but thanks to you, if I ever do, I know to bring my own pasties), and no particularly embarrassing medical procedures. BUT, my OB is a fairly young (older than me but young compared to most), attractive man. The practice was recommended to me when I moved to my current town and so I set up my appointment, sight unseen. When he walked in to the exam room, I wanted to say, “I’m sorry, but you are too young and attractive to be up in my business. Could you send in one of those older fellows, instead?” He’s great and I got used to him, but at that first appointment, I felt incredibly self conscious, though I think (and I pray) I managed to avoid blushing!


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Oooh I had a young, hot OB once too! He actually delivered one of my babies. I totally understand how you felt that first meeting! Thankfully he was a wonderful doc and a really nice guy to boot.


Motorina November 26, 2013 at 1:32 am

That’s nuts! 12 lead ECG, right? Absolutely no reason you couldn’t do it in a sports bra!


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Seriously?? I was kind of afraid someone was going to say this. It didn’t occur to me at the time to put my foot down. I guess I know for next time… here’s hoping there isn’t one!


Motorina November 27, 2013 at 11:01 am

Sorry. Underwires might be an issue (although less so in reality than the textbooks, if hat makes sense) but a wire-free bra? Makes the techs work a little harder to get things in the right place, is all. I’d be fuming if they’d tried that on me.


Motorina November 27, 2013 at 11:01 am

Sorry. Underwires might be an issue (although less so in reality than the textbooks, if hat makes sense) but a wire-free bra? Makes the techs work a little harder to get things in the right place, is all. I’d be fuming if they’d tried that on me.


Jess November 26, 2013 at 4:18 am

Oh my I can’t even imagine trying to run topless I’d probably die. My worst was having a catheter put in post surgery age 15 wide awake. It took 5 nurses because they said I had unusual lady parts. I was soooo humiliated, thankfully in too much pain to have enough energy to really get upset.


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Owowowowoww! Catheters are the worst – I had to have one during childbirth once and it was awful. Can’t imagine having that experience at 15!


Megan @ Meg Go Run November 26, 2013 at 4:24 am

Oh myyyyyy Charlotte!!!

I had a heart murmer when I was a kid but it went away.

Most humiliating medical procedure… hmmm…. I didn’t like the dermatologist. I hated getting stared at like that. I know, definitely not in the same realm as your experience hehe.


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Hahah I could see how that would be really uncomfortable! I won’t even pop my own zits so I can’t imagine being okay with someone else doing it!


Terri November 26, 2013 at 4:31 am

I’ve had more of these than I care to remember. The first one I was a good patient (like you) and did what they said. I’m an E cup btw. After that I wore bras with no underwires (not great but better). I’m also very allergic to sticky stuff – band-aids, the sticky stuff on the things they attached to you for this etc, so they have to use the sensors with velcro and they aren’t comfortable.

If you ever have to go in for another one wear a bra without wires and tell them that you will be wearing it for the test. Passive Aggressive B*tch mode works fantastic for techs that want to argue. There isn’t a good reason, other than making things easier for them, that you can’t. Especially one that they can lift the side of to do the ultrasound for.

I moved from Sea Level to the White Mountains in Arizona (I think about 3000 ft) when I was an exchange student and I had all sorts of weird health things for about 6 months. It settled down and I was fine, but it can take some getting used to.

I hope everything is fine. With specialists I find that unless they come running out after you saying “What happened to you” (after a scan on my neck – the specialist was so excited and my neck has made it into several medical journals) or requesting that you don’t leave and can they call someone then things are not dire so try not to get too stressed until you speak to your doc :)


Sonia Simone November 26, 2013 at 9:49 am

Terri is my hero for letting me know what kind of bra to wear if I ever do one of these. (I sometimes do the stress test protocol on my treadmill for fun at home, because I’m a weirdo.)


amyp November 26, 2013 at 11:07 am

Ditto. I have to fight my nature to do everything I’m told. Knowing what is coming makes it easier for me to prepare to refuse something that is basically nonsense. I can’t even imagine the pain of running with no support for my DD breasts.


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Ok wow, I didn’t even know that was an option! Good to know though although I hope to never have to use this info! Also, I’m kind of impressed you made it into a medical journal!!


Naomi/Dragonmamma November 26, 2013 at 6:19 am

And this is why medical costs are a bazillion dollars in this country. I can’t wait to hear the amount that the insurance gets billed for this.

For years I had doctors and nurses tell me that not only do I have a murmur, but that my heart skips beats every once in a while. I refuse to get tests for it. Why? Because I would refuse any medication and any heart surgery, so why bother? I can think of much worse ways to go (like suffering for years from side-effects from unneeded medication) than suddenly keeling over from heart failure. Which I really don’t expect to happen within the next few decades at least.


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Ha! Good point. I guess I was mostly taken by surprise and I since my 4 little twinkies are still so dependent on me that I kind of default to whatever I think will take the best care of their mama. Looking back it does seem pretty unnecessary…Some day I’ll grow up to be practical!


alexa November 26, 2013 at 7:45 am

wow, that sounds terrible! I am a busty lady and I cannot imagine running without a bra. I’m glad you’re okay.


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Thanks Alexa! I am not very busty so I really am concerned about what bigger-chested gals have to do for that test!


J November 26, 2013 at 7:46 am

Before I read your post, I thought that a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) must be worst, but no. Running topless without a bra seems like ten times worse than an HSG. Oddly, the spellcheck on the comment feature doesn’t recognize the word “hysterosalpingogram”.


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm

So I had to google that. And all I can say is OWOWOWOWWW!


DW November 26, 2013 at 8:40 am

WTF with the no bra or shirt thing? Seriously, some freaking scientist must have designed this test with no thought for what the humanoids going through it might experience. I hate how some of these procedures are designed! Charlotte, I so feel for you!
I’m glad Terri wrote about wearing a bra to it, so that we all know that if we ever have to get one.


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 8:12 pm

I know, right?? I can’t be the only one who’s uncomfortable doing that!


Colleen November 26, 2013 at 9:14 am

First: Funniest. Post. Ever!
Second: you have not had a mammogram yet? I had to have one while breast-feeding so they could figure out why I had pain/infections. Let’s cause more pain! And I’m small on top, so the pulling, tugging and smashing was just wonderfull. I was 34 then and have had a mamo every year starting at 40 (now 47)….not nearly as uncomfortable now, but still dread it.
Third: VO2 Max testing last month. Trying to breathe and jog with that big plastic tube in your mouth and head gear on. Results: that of someone either much older or more sendatary than me, but my Max HR was 196. My Dr doesn’t know what to make of the results because my BP and resting HR are very low.


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 8:15 pm

First: Thank you!!! I was going to be devastated if I had to go through all this and not even get something funny out of it! If you laughed then I feel a lot better!
Second: Nope!! I probably ought to though. Sigh.
Third. Yep, done that one! SO claustrophobic!! I remember wondering too how they got an accurate read that way.


Heather C November 26, 2013 at 9:16 am

Hilarious post and how embarrassing! I hope all is well with the fluid thing. I haven’t had any super humiliating medical test but I do always hate how after giving birth a nurse has to follow you into the bathroom to hear you pass gas and go to the bathroom. Seems almost comical to me that they will send me home with a minature human but they can’t take my word for it that my bowels are working. Seriously?


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Hhahahah! SO TRUE! ” Seems almost comical to me that they will send me home with a minature human but they can’t take my word for it that my bowels are working. ” I’d never thought of it that way. Excellent point!


Laura November 26, 2013 at 9:19 am

I totally would have been holding my boobs with both hands to stop the bouncing while running :)

I had to get x-rays of my neck/shoulders for an injury a few months ago, and they had me wear a gown that was open in the front. It was originally pulled around me so the (male) techs couldn’t see anything, but then when I had to raise my arms and do other things for the pictures (okay, that sounds way more dirty than I intended for it to be), the gown fell open, and I was just standing there totally exposed. HI TECHNICIANS. I know how you feel :)


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Hahah – I would have been holding my boobs except I was running too hard! And I shouldn’t laugh but HI TECHNICIANS buwhahahah. Glad I’m not the only flasher out there. Hope your neck is ok!!


Liza November 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I can’t imagine having to run without a bra!! I do find it a little troubling that the techs said there was “no way” something was wrong–obviously I hope there isn’t, but that doesn’t seem like something you should say to a patient!


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Yeah it was a little weird. At first I was comforted because I was like “darn straight!!” and then I was like “Wait, why am I putting myself through this??”


quix November 26, 2013 at 2:06 pm

First of all: I felt terrible laughing through this whole post (until I got to the end when all seems to *hopefully* be well), but I did. I love your writing! :)

Second: hope all is well. Update us when you find out!


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Hey the ONLY bright spot of this experience was thinking “hey, maybe at least I can get a funny post out of this!” So your laughter just made my whole day:)


Dr. J November 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm


I’ve had an EKG :-)

I’m surprised that they are not more considerate of making a woman naked like that!

But then I’ve had to be naked from the waist down in front of two young women in a doctor’s office!!

As you, pride don’t need no clothes!

Glad you are all right!!


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Haha yeah eventually reach a point where you’re like, “Whatever. Let’s just get this done.”


RFC November 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I’m sorry to laugh at your expense, but this was a hilarious post!!! I sincerely hope everything is OK with your heart. That said, I worked in an exercise science lab for years doing Vo2 max testing and even your basic ECG. Never had to have a girl take their bra off, we put the electrodes underneath the bra. I can’t IMAGINE how awkward you must have felt! Ack!


Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Hey the ONLY bright spot of this experience was thinking “hey, maybe at least I can get a funny post out of this!” So your laughter just made my whole day:) And… I was worried someone was going to say that. I’m glad I know that info now though so if there’s ever a next time (heaven forbid) I can insist on the bra staying on!!


Tamara November 26, 2013 at 7:16 pm

I have had that test… and I don’t remember being topless for it! Charlotte, I hope you get some answers asap and are a-OK. Meanwhile, this post cracked me up so hard! You’re a riot, girl. Or is that supposed to be spelled GRRRL?

I’ve had chest pains on occasion. All the tests have merely confirmed that my heart is healthy, despite occasional palpitations. (One doc called it my “dipsy doodle.” Well, that sounds official…) I think having asthma as a kid has made me prone to occasional pain in the chest region. I also think it’s sometimes heartburn or nerve pain from the spine radiating around. I’ve had success alleviating it with ice packs on my mid-back at times.

As for the most embarrassing procedure, it was probably my hysterectomy, but luckily I was unconscious for it, so I was spared the humiliation. ;)

Take care, you!!!



Charlotte November 26, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Thanks Tamara! Hey the ONLY bright spot of this experience was thinking “hey, maybe at least I can get a funny post out of this!” So your laughter just made my whole day:) At least I know for next time that I can insist on bra-on. Heaven forbid there ever is a next time.


Amanda O November 26, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Call your doctor! Get answers!
It’s not uncommon to have a little fluid around the heart following some viral infections (pericarditis) but it’s impossible to know what’s wrong until you talk to your physician. Hope you are okay and good for you for handing it with humor!


Natalie November 26, 2013 at 9:22 pm

No heart tests for me yet, but I now have the distinction of being the ONLY patient to hyperventilate on my obgyn’s table when getting the iud implanted. Not once…but twice now. She actually said there is a reflex and messing with your cervix can cause you to hyperventilate. Who knew!


Jessi November 27, 2013 at 1:00 am

I’ve had more stress tests, echos and ECG’s than I care to count. I am quite small chested so the running with out a bra didn’t phase me. My most embarrassing moment was when I went for my heart check ups after my son was born and during an echo I heard my son crying in the waiting room (with my husband) and leaked milk all over the place. I also met someone at church once who thought I looked familiar but he couldn’t figure out how he knew me… turns out he was the tech who had attached my most recent holter monitor… a little awkward to explain to my husband that the new guy at church had seen my boobs.


kathy gomez November 27, 2013 at 3:44 am

Great info. Lucky me that I discovered your blog by chance. I have saved as a favorite for later! Keep sharing 


Lauren November 27, 2013 at 4:24 am

I’m hoping I can make you feel better here: I had to do a stress test on a bike. The nurses were female, but I was topless AND 2 MONTHS POSTPARTUM. I’d scheduled my appointment to fall between feeding times but the doc was running late (not news) and… I leaked. Like, a lot. I had to ride the bike as fast as I could, with muffin tops bouncing, wires everywhere, and holding crinkly paper towels under my boobs to keep the dribbles off the wires. One of the nurses was older and had had kids, but the other was fascinated. They chatted about lactation while telling me to ride faster.
Then they made me wear the whole get-up (minus paper towels, fortunately) for 24 hours with a recorder box on my belt, and a week later the results were in: nada. Except I was having crazy, breathtaking palpitations all. the. time, including while wearing their gear AND while dude was doing the ultrasound on my thyroid. I’m pretty sure there’s a red “hypochondriac” stamp on my file.
In the end, sorting out my hormones and a prescription for specific electrolyte salts sorted me (mostly) out, but it took 3 years. Living down the test will probably take 10.


Courtney @ Don't Blink. Just Run. November 27, 2013 at 5:45 am

Umm, is it wrong that I was laughing so hard at this story about a heart murmur? I feel like that makes me a bad human. LOL

Seriously though, I hope that they find out it’s no big deal and can fix you right up quick!


KDA November 27, 2013 at 9:22 pm

I’ve had more than my fair share of invasive procedures (and the HSG was the most painful thing ever! I almost passed out). Anyhoo, the most embarrassing moment was having to pass gas before I could leave after having had a colonoscopy, which itself wasn’t too bad b/c I was knocked out.


Ataia November 28, 2013 at 11:57 pm

I had that test done a few months ago, but I didn’t have to run because I’m so out of shape that my heart rate got high enough just from the walking on an incline. They didn’t make me go until I couldn’t go anymore either, thank godness. But it was braless and I’m an H cup. Boobs everywhere. And why are these topless tests done in front of a window? That’s just mean!


Tammy December 2, 2013 at 9:22 am

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Darwin January 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm

A beautiful girl running topless on a treadmill…what COULD have been their motivation for this?

I am thinking that Guy#1 and Guy#2…in an authoritative tone…deceived you into being a live-action “playmate of the month”.

Because as they stated…they are used to “old people”, so they took advantage. No doubt the older ladies were allowed to keep their bras on.

I am so sorry they misrepresented the situation to you, and I am so sorry this happened to you.

They made a stressful situation worse for you, for selfish purposes.

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Cavy January 18, 2014 at 1:10 pm

I have both given and been given many EKG’s in my life (I did a medical assisting internship, and I used to do clinical trials where I ended up getting an EKG almost monthly). I have next to nothing going on in the chest area. Normally I’m a bit ashamed of this fact, but it makes going through topless doctor’s visits much more comfortable. I mean, who cares? It’s not like they have anything to look at. I did have one incredibly uncomfortable EKG, though, about 4 years back.

I came in for one check-up or another so the pharmaceutical companies could make sure their experimental anti-depressant wasn’t destroying my heart. Every time before this, the person doing my blood and heart tests had been female, but this time there was this nice young man. I, honestly, didn’t care. Like I said; nothin’ to see here. I began ripping off my close. He looked ready to bolt.
“Um, would you be more comfortable if I got one of the girls to do this?”
I thought he thought I was uncomfortable. I hadn’t realized HE was the one terrified of my nakedness. “Nah, I’m fine.”
I lay on the table in my paper shirt. He grabbed his leads and hovered over me. He tried putting a couple on, but as he got closer to my breast, he asks again, “Are you SURE you don’t want a woman to do this?!”
I assured him I didn’t care. I was actually a little distressed. What was I doing that made him think I was so uncomfortable? I felt like a failure. They were paying me for this, after all. He continues hovering, trying not to touch my skin. Then he says, “You know where these go, right?”
“The leads. You know where to put them, don’t you? Here, you do it.” he shoves a mess of wires in my hands. Um, what? No, I do NOT know where they go. This was years before I took that medical assisting class! At this point it finally hit me that HE was the one uncomfortable, and I didn’t know what to do. Making 20-year-old men more comfortable around breasts was NOT in my job description. Now I’m getting uncomfortable, but I try sticking on of the electrodes on myself.
“No! No, it goes . .” he tried moving it, but apparently hit a brick wall in the fact that he’d have to touch me to change the sticker’s position. He then grabs the little box that records your heart rate and shoved it in my face. There was a chart. “See, it goes here.”
I tried to follow the chart, but it was kinda hard to see what I was doing under that paper shirt. I could shove it aside, but now I was feeling super self-conscious, and I think if I’d ripped it off and started flopping my boobs around he may have fainted.
At this point he gave up. “I’m going to get one of the girls to do this,” he declared as he fled.

Thank you for sharing your super awkward topless doctor’s appointment. You are not alone!


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