Thursday, January 22, 2009

Just a Spoonful of Sugar

Between MLK Day, our snowstorm preparedness drill in VA and the Inauguration on Tuesday, and my rediscovered motivation at work, time has a-flown by! I can't believe my CT scan was a week ago and I haven't talked about it yet.

I had to go to the hospital the day before my appointment to pick up the contrast dye. I'm not sure what I was expecting, maybe some Paas colored tabs and some vinegar, or a small bottle of a Maaloxy chalky solution of some sort, but I can definitely tell you what I wasn't expecting. These:

This pic doesn't really convey their true size. I probably should have photographed them next to something recognizable to indicate their scale, but there weren't any township water towers nearby...

Good grief! I feel really bad for old people who get any type of instruction from doctors or hospitals. My appointment was for 1:30 pm on Friday. My Doc's receptionist who made the appointment said I couldn't have anything to eat or drink 4 hours before the test. The instruction sheet included with the contrast said that I shouldn't eat 6 hours before the test, but that water was OK the day of. When the hospital called to confirm my appointment, they told me to be there at 1:00 pm for my 1:30 appointment. The instruction sheet said to drink one bottle three hours before the appointment (1 or 1:30??) and to drink the second bottle 45 minutes before the appointment while registering at the hospital. WHAT? The hospital is across the street from where I work and I had planned on parking there and walking over. This would put me chugging the second bottle at work and that seemed all right. But somewhere during the course of the morning, I decided to stay home as long as possible (probably because of the dog...) This then meant that I would be driving 45 minutes before my appointment (15 minutes before I had to be there), if I was timing it with the 1:30 test time. Sure enough, I had to chug that thing just as I was pulling into the hospital complex. I can only imagine what the people driving around me were thinking. It must have looked like I was downing an industrial cleanser of some sort. And just in case this needs to be stated, they didn't taste good. Not good at all. Not horrible, but I wouldn't even enjoy 450 mL of beer in one sitting. They started out tasting like the old St. Joseph's aspirin and ended up tasting like what I imagine Orange-Glo would taste like. Mixed with watery concrete.

So I get there and check in and eventually my name is called along with two other people. I'll fast forward because this is already longer than I anticipated. We got herded through a couple hallways and into another waiting room and it was there that I realized I needed to urinate. This seemed suspicious since I had just gone before I left the house, but sure enough, I could go. I have this weird ability to shift my urine into some undisclosed location in my body. I don't do it consciously, but if I have to go but don't get a chance to, it's not uncommon for the feeling to pass and for HOURS to go by before I have to go again. I always swore I'd be incontinent by 40 as a result. And since that'll be here in a few months, I'm starting to get nervous.

ANYWAY, I was selected pretty quickly by a very large hospital-type person. He took me into another room and put a syringe of something into my right arm. I thought maybe it was the mysterious iodine that I had read about. In retrospect, I guess it was some saline. Prior to stabbing me, he complimented my handwriting and proceeded to tell me that his was horrible because he severed his ulnar nerve as a child. He had a bunch of surgeries, but he had no feeling in his pinky. They rewired his hand and if he touches his pinky finger, his ring finger itches. FANTASTIC. Um, can I get a nurse with fully functioning hands to insert my IV??

He did a good job and I told him so. He then said, "I probably shouldn't tell you this..." and smiled sheepishly. I asked if this was his first IV and he said No, that he had done hundreds in school, etc. BUT he had decided to not get a nursing job right away after school and had taken a year or so off. He just started doing IVs again a week ago and he completely blew the first 4 he tried. Fortunately for me, he found his mojo before my appointment.

He then hustled me into the room with the gigantic metal donut. He told me to lie down and rest my feet on the donut. The table I was lying on lifted and the donut was moved up to my abdomen. For the briefest second I felt like I was part of a magic act. He then hooked me up to some sort of IV pump. "Ah, this must be the iodine, I thought." I was a little concerned because I had heard it burned at the injection site and I was just wondering how it would feel. Whatever was in there was pumped into me and I didn't feel a thing. "Hmm, maybe it's because I'm so cold. Well, that wasn't bad at all..."

Big Nurse started to leave the room and told me to follow the instrument's instructions. The donut spun and I was told to inhale and hold my breath. Exhale. Wait for a while... Inhale/hold/exhale. I'm not sure how many times this happened. Still, not bad at all. Gosh, I imagine it will be done soon.

Big Nurse comes back in and says, "OK, I'm going to inject the iodine now." Ah. He told me -- and thank god he did -- "it's going to come over you like a big whoosh and you're going to feel like you wet your pants, but you didn't." Since my urine had decided to stick around and not go off to wherever it goes, I was very thankful for this heads-up. Big Nurse left and then another nurse came in. She was the one who actually got the iodine going.

Oh my good gracious.

I didn't think I was going to make it. I have really low blood pressure and have been passing out off and on since I was about six or seven years old. I'm pretty adept at it and if I can feel it coming on, I can usually take steps to prevent it from happening. Holy hell. This hotness came into my veins and I could feel the damn thing as it travelled through my vascular system. It hit my heart and I thought it was going to stop. My left eye started getting funky and my brain started to feel the way it does when I'm about to pass out. I don't think I've ever had an anxiety attack, but I imagine this is how it feels. My heart rebounded by beating rapidly and I started sucking wind to try to calm everything down. And just then WHOOOOOOSH down it all went to my lower extremities and damned if it didn't feel like I just wet my pants. I'm taking long deep breaths to get some oxygen and slow down my heart. I'm just starting to consider the possibility that I might live when the damn machine says, "Inhale. HOLD." Crap! I need to breathe!! I'm not sure how many times I had to do it because I was focusing on how I felt and damage control, but there was a second or two there when I felt like I should probably tell someone that I was going to pass out cold. Didn't want them coming back into the room and discovering my limp body. And I maintain that there was a VERY GOOD chance that I would have actually wet my pants if I had passed out.

When the female nurse returned, I told her it was touch-and-go there for a moment. She thanked me for not passing out, we chatted for a little bit, and she offered me a Customer Satisfaction Survey. She said they had just started them, but that they had forgotten to hand them out all day. She then proceeded to give me a card and wrote five other phone numbers at which they could be reached if I had any problems. I wrote down her name and Big Nurse's and was on my way. Which reminds me, I need to send in my questionnaire! They both took great care of me. How were they to know they had a medical freak on the table?

No Mom, I haven't called for the results yet. I forgot! :)

{Overheard while writing this blog: "I was with my friend Salma and she woke me up 3 minutes before it was announced." Penelope Cruz talking about her Oscar nomination. I'm just sayin'......}


lupingirl said...

Wow, that sounds like an experience I don't want to have!

Your description of the orangey stuff reminds me of a blood glucose test I had when I was about 8 or 9. I had to drink this orange soda type thing that was about as thick as maple syrup and as sweet. I haven't been able to drink Orange Crush ever since.

pokerDegen said...

cracking up at the 'magic act' part! From an outsider's POV this was damn funny to read!

From your perspective, though, I'm sure it's much less so... hope results are positive. Not in the medical-sense of the term 'positive', but 'positive' as in GOOD results, as in 'nothing a few aspirin and some antibiotics can't take care of.' :)

Siri _ said...

Is this your other blog, AJ/Zoe? If so, hysterical! You were a much better patient than me. : )

AJ said...

Seriously? Please tell me you're kidding. All those times I posted a link to Cranial Vault, did you not know I had a blog?

Siri _ said...

I did. But I only read via Facebook. When the link you sent me took me to a non wordpress site, i assumed you were sending me someone else's blog that you follow. Thought you merged your old blog with your new one. Does that make sense?

AJ said...

Gotcha. That makes sense. But no, they're not merged. They're two different blogs on two different hosting sites.

Siri _ said...

If you think I'm bad, wait to you hear this. I sent lori the link to mine, as she had been asking how it all went. She replied, what is this? I said click on the link and read it. She said I started to read it, but what is it? I said i wrote it. She said but what is it for? I said it's a blog. Haven't heard back from her. lol lol

AJ said...

Aaaaaahahahaha. She's too busy becoming a billionaire to have time for our foolishness. Nothing is more of a buzz kill than, "Hey, did you read my blog?" #snausages