Thursday, May 31, 2007

21 May: A Slight Change in Plans

I had scheduled our annual physicals for Monday morning, thinking it would be nice to get them out of the way early in week. To my surprise, my doctor heard something funny in my chest and decided to run an EKG. I'd never had an EKG before, so I found it quite interesting to have these little plastic stickers with what looked like snap heads attached to them stuck onto my chest, arms, and ankles. It took several minutes to get all of my snaps wired up and half that time to get the actual reading. My doctor showed me the printout, which confirmed in very obvious form that I had an irregular heartbeat. She assured me that it was probably nothing, but seeing as how I was only in Michigan for the week, she thought we should run some tests just to be sure. With surprising efficiency, her staff set the wheels in the motion to schedule me for a heart sonogram and a stress test. Fortunately they had a cancellation that morning with the sonogram technician right in their office, so I went ahead and got that out of the way. This involved lying on my side while the technician applied gel to my chest and rubbed a hand-held transducer all around my heart. I obeyed her instructions to breathe, hold my breath, exhale, and stop breathing for a few seconds at a time. About halfway through, the machine started making these fascinating sloshing sounds which I suppose was the sound of blood pumping through my heart. By the time I was done, the receptionist had scheduled my appointment for a stress test at a cardiac center in Auburn Hills on Tuesday afternoon. Fortunately we didn’t have any specific plans for Tuesday other than going to Ann Arbor to do some shopping and visit friends.

We rushed off to John’s dermatologist appointment, then John dropped me off at the house so he could go to Chrysler to meet with his bosses. While I was stuck at home trying to figure out what made me more anxious, my newfound heart problem or the outcome of John’s meeting, I got some chores done and called the lawn service again (we were playing phone tag).

John was inexplicably very late coming back from Chrysler, so I had to call Rochester Mills and convey a message to our friends Jon and Alison (of Paris trip fame) that we would be late for dinner. Jon offered to come pick me up and I was just leaving John a note explaining my whereabouts when they both pulled into the driveway simultaneously. As luck would have it, the guy from the lawn service stopped by just a few minutes later so we were able to make the arrangements for our lawn mowing on the spot.

We had a nice dinner at the brewery, although I was not allowed to drink alcohol because of my stress test, which sort of defeated the purpose of going to the brewery. After dinner John and I went over to Border’s while Jon and Alison put their girls to bed, then we went over to their house for chocolate cake and ice cream and our regular dose of Sebastian the Bernese Mountain Dog and Sophie the cat. Alison gave me a stack of books to take back to Germany, so I think I have enough reading material now to get me through another six months.

John explained that his big meeting was largely a non-event. The good news is that his bosses did not see any reason for him to rush back to Chrysler right away, and basically gave him the go-ahead to stay until the end of the year if he can live with the Mercedes politics. John has been having mixed feelings about staying at Mercedes ever since they announced the potential sale, so he is going to have to do some serious thinking over the next few weeks. John was excited to see some of the projects going on at Chrysler, so partly his decision will be based on whether he feels he could be doing more interesting work in Michigan rather than staying at a company that really has no vested interest in him anymore. (As we like to joke, not only is John “the foreigner,” now he’s "the foreigner from the company that was just sold off!")

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