squeaking through

I had my CT scan yesterday morning, thanks to Ms. L. We arrived early…6:30 AM. After waiting for 28 minutes for someone to appear at the reception desk, my partner was forced to knock rather loudly on the closed door to the nuclear medicine inner sanctum where I (thought) I would/should be entering for my 7:00 appointment. The voice behind the door was annoyed and told her to stop making that noise, whereupon she, BD blurted out with nearly equal impatience our plight. After twice this exchange of early morning annoyance, a sweet young woman emerged and told us that we needed to be in another building and floor for a CT scan as this was PET scan territory. Fine! Ms. L didn’t mention this to me and we had followed directions to the procedure scheduled in error, 3 months prior by Ms. X. Okay! Off we went…quickly.

The correct department for CT scan (computed tomography) was radiology and its like. We filled out forms, which you’d think the hospital would have already filed away for all its patients, but no! No such organization in a behemoth of a hospital. I filled out the form and waited for the buzzer I held in my lap to start quacking. Finally it did and in we went. The young woman escorted me/us inside and shortly the games began.

First off the dressing room. Since I knew the procedure and hadn’t worn anything with metal in it or on it, I was allowed to stay dressed. That was the first achievement of the day. Sitting around in a cotton gown is cold and demoralizing while drinking down 2 quarts of a barium mixture euphemistically called, a smoothie! It is very thick, something like drinkable school paste. It’s definitely not tasty and not worthy a smoothie classification as that is misleadingly one of the many types of fun foods. One is given an hour to drink this substance because it takes an hour to travel from hesitant mouth/throat to the end of the pelvic gut, necessary for a  pelvis/abdomen/chest scan. During this smoothie time an IV needle is inserted in the arm to receive the iodine that is given during the scan for what is term “contrast.”

That is an experience in itself, brothers and sisters! The iodine enters quickly, felt first in the head, very warm to hot, then traveling down the entire body. As it passes, a sense of urinary urgency occurs, but it passes and no accident occurs. It is a very strange sensation—hot like a sunburn, but from the inside.

Something strange happened this time as I lay in the “tunnel” waiting for the iodine infusion. I felt the oneness with God and it was another point of light, something to write home about…or keep to myself…

The scan itself takes only 5 or 6 minutes. The prep is the nasty and the afterward even nastier, as the barium must be evacuated. This process varies with the individual. For me at my age and with my sensitive digestive system, it was a nightmare with sleep a blessed relief afterward. I felt weak and sickly all day long and went to bed early. Am I sensitive because I am or because I’m old and the parts are wearing out? I don’t know, but I am glad to be feeling better this morning, and on my way to Advent 2 at my church…seeing all the people and praising God for today and the hope for tomorrow.

So that’s how it is. If the scan says AOK I won’t need another for a year…maybe more. I will rejoice. It’s never pleasant to relive the cancer journey, as I did yesterday. Today is Advent 2! The blessings of the day to you!

2 Responses to “squeaking through”

  1. 1 Laurie
    December 7, 2009 at 11:33 am

    What an awful medical-clinic experience! It’s amazing that healing often does take place in spite of the system used to dispense care. It reminded me of a church in Pa. that has a retired physician on pastoral care staff. His ministry is to accompany patients to appointments to help them navigate the hospital and translate the medical-ese. It’s sad that such a ministry is even needed.

    Warm wishes on this snowy day…

  2. 2 Naomi
    December 7, 2009 at 11:42 am

    You are so right-on. The system needs changing…yesterday! Seems that as long as we place our health delivery system in the capitalistic model, we will never be able to really CARE for people unless they have plenty of money, insurance and last but not least…influence. Yes, it’s amazing that anything healing comes out of what we have put in place. More to the glory of God that it does, but I am convinced there could be so much more if we broke down the profit system. Canada works. Lines and waiting? That’s exactly what we have here as well. I know people who have died while waiting to be seen and diagnosed…people who don’t know that one must be a very rusty hinge to get what’s needed in a timely fashion. So much for sermons.
    Thank you for your warm wishes and the same to you. Special hello to MD and OD. Ah…throw in OM too, might as well 🙂

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