Monday, November 16, 2009

This is a pain in the gut --- Chapter 5

Today I learned firsthand about nuclear medicine. In the ongoing quest to find a reason for my gut pain, my gastroenterologist ordered a HIDA Scan with CCK, which is basically a really fancy (and probably expensive) CT scan. I was told to be at the imaging center at 8 a.m. for paperwork, with the test scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.

No food or drink for 6 hours prior. No problem - I awoke at 2 a.m. and stayed awake staring at the ceiling until 6:10 a.m. when I decided I could get out of bed and settle my nerves by showering and dressing in "comfortable, loose-fitting clothes." Again, no problem - that's all you wear when your gut hurts 18 hours a day.

Unfortunately, there was some kind of mishap and the concoction that they were planning on injecting into my veins was not at the imaging center. So I waited for an hour past my scheduled appointment for the test to begin. The technician, George, started the IV about 9:15 a.m. and waited patiently with me for another 15 minutes or so until the medicine arrived from Loma Linda. A knock on the door, and a delivery man walked in the door with a small, zippered parcel labeled "biohazard." Oh, boy! Radioactive material on site ....

I know I should be more proactive and assertive. I expected George to give me a little info on the procedure, so I didn't ask questions. All of a sudden, I was encased in a large circular device with an IV started in my right arm and George was gone. There was no sound, no movement, only soft jazz music playing. I assumed George would tell me that we were starting the test. No. After a couple of minutes, I decided that we must be going forward and then just tried to relax and stay still.

Do you know how hard it is be motionless when your brain is telling you that you have to move? Every muscle in your body is screaming "I need to move!" So it is truly an exercise in mind control. I kept telling myself that one squirm = do this test over. I did not want to do it over!

After about an hour and a half, George permitted me to squirm and stretch (although I was not allowed to use the restroom - bad, bad, bad), and then he took a few "side views" and got ready to start the second half of the test. The "special delivery medicine" was injected into my veins and I was cautioned to stay very still and not to take deep breaths. Okay, mind control once again. I really fought this time to stay still picturing each of my grandchildren in turn and focusing on their great smiles!

I'm glad this is over, and I really hope that the test shows some kind of problem so that I can get to the next step - fixing this!

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