Adventures In C-T Scan World

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016 -( The calm before the storm? )-

Photo of a beautiful walled compound tht might be Novgorod, Russia.
I have no idea where this is, but it looks like some place I would like to be – It might be in or near Novgorod – a Russian city between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

— This might contain information you might not feel comfortable about:

—Okay, I haven’t been very busy with this blog in the past couple days – Due to a minor health scare, & the shortage of family doctors where I live, I went to a health clinic last July and was referred to a specialist who, in September, performed a couple tests, found a Bladder Stone and noted that I had an enlarged prostate. The specialist scheduled a CT Scan to make sure there was nothing else going on in my digestive tract, and then told me he recommended a couple procedures, that he scheduled for late in October, which involved blasting my bladder stone and performing a ‘Green Laser’ technique to reduce the size of my prostate, both procedures were accomplished on the same day, I was sedated so I don’t know how complicated this might have been or whether the Doctor had to use two separate high-tech sets of instruments – or what – This was not exactly pleasant, and the weeks after this procedure during which I could not work were a bit on the scary side. And then I got the notice to report for the CT scan.

— Today was the date set for the scan. Before today the only things I knew about CT scans were (1) they were often used check for Cancer; & (2) they were also referred to as ‘Cat Scans’.

— People in my family die from heart attacks more often than any other causes. An aunt who drank a lot, and an uncle-by-marriage who also drank a lot, developed Alzheimer’s Disease and that was probably a contributing factor in their shuffling off this mortal coil. A great uncle I barely remember, died of Cancer ‘with a cigarette in his mouth’ in the late 1950’s.

— And one of my sisters developed an aggressive Cancer in 2006 and only lasted about six months after being diagnosed. She told us that she suspected that her ‘Medical Professionals’ – in Vermont – when she’d seen them – complaining about back pain – acted like they thought she was lying or exaggerating her back pain in an attempt to have them prescribe powerful pain killers. When she convinced them that there really was a problem and they looked a little deeper – it was already too late, they didn’t bother with the ‘Cat Scan’ – the Cancer had already spread too far and all they wanted to do was make her as comfortable as possible and twiddle their thumbs for a couple months. (“Grrrrrr!”) A couple of us were able to cheer her up by joking along the lines of, “What were they going to do? Kill a cat and stare at its entrails before deciding which Witch Doctor mask to wear while they got stoned and danced around chanting nonsense words from dead languages?”- So I guess I might be at least sub-consciously a bit uneasy with ‘Cat Scans’.

— I had lost a little weight between July and September, and then made it a point to make sure I ate a little better than I had been eating, and I’m pretty sure that is working- I do not look like I’ve just been liberated from a concentration camp these days.

— So today was the big day – my significant other took the day off and drove with me to the hospital where we arrived almost an hour early, found the X-Ray and MRI area, took a number, waited about ten minutes to be signed in and told to ‘sit over there’ until somebody called my name and told me what to do from there.

— A nurse called my name and said ‘Follow me’ about an hour and ten minutes after we got there, which isn’t too bad, since they had signs up all around the waiting room asking patients to be patient – “In case of Emergencies taking priority here – you may have to wait longer than you think-” The nurse had me change into two ‘Johnny Coats’ – one typically open in the back and the other as a cheap excuse for a bathrobe, after instructing me to ‘take off everything but your underpants, socks and shoes’ – them meet her up around the corner at the first examination room on the left. There was a young woman sitting in the examination room looking glum, and no nurse in sight. I walked up and down the corridor for a couple minutes, then stood outside the ‘first examination room on the left’ for a couple more minutes before the nurse came back from somewhere, pointed into the room – where the glum young woman in her double Johnny Coats was sitting, “Lay down on the examination table, I’ll be right with you.” – I felt like that would be a violation of the glum woman’s space and maybe even scare her into believing that I was about to show her my private parts, so I sat on the table. The nurse walked up the corridor and came back after two or three minutes and told me to lie down. – I gave the glum woman a worried glance and carefully climbed up on the table and lowered myself, making sure I was covered. The young woman continued to stare down and away, as if she had more to worry about than what I might have beneath my stupid hospital gowns.

— The nurse came over and sat beside me, described in detail how I would go into the Cat Scan room, lie down with my feet toward the machine and my arms over my head. There would be a quick scan and then I would be injected with Lasix (sp?) and then they would inject me with dye. She explained that one of those injections might make me feel like I wet my pants, but that probably would not be the case. [ I managed NOT to say, “Oh – Great!” out loud. ] I would then have a slightly longer scan, and all of this would probably take about fifteen minutes. Then she got out the I.V. stuff – and I’ve had I.V.s before – no big deal? Ouch! this one stung – When I winced she said, “Yes, this is a pretty big needle.” She got it in place then taped me up and sealed off the end of the tube which would be connected to whatever I would be injected with later. When she was finished and made sure I was not squirting blood all over the hospital, she told me follow her down the corridor a bit, take the seat she pointed to, and wait until somebody came to get me. She handed me two paper cups of water, told me to drink them both, and not go to the washroom until I was called to go in for my scan. People working in the hospital walked up and down the corridor, talking to other patients who were sitting around waiting in their hospital gowns for something or other, smiled and said, “Yes, we’re kind of busy in here today, aren’t we?” I sat there for probably half an hour. The glum woman came out of somewhere, maybe had a Cat Scan ahead of me, and was told to take a seat a couple chairs up from me. The nurse removed the glum woman’s I.V. – put a bandage and tape over the point where the I.V. had pierced her, told her apply pressure for five minutes, (“There’s the clock there? See?”) and, “If you’re not bleeding after those five minutes, you can get dressed and leave.” – This was maybe ten minutes into my half hour wait.

— When I was called, after I peed, I was led by a pleasant younger woman into the scan room. She had me lie down on a thin table with my feet toward a big open circle in a weird machine that looked like something from an old Science Fiction movie.

— The first few passes through the circle were pretty quick. The table I was on moved my feet through the circle, I could see something inside the circle – through a glass or plastic window – whirling around for a couple seconds before the table began moving again. A recorded voice told me to breathe in, hold my breath and then breath again during each pass.

— The pleasant young woman (technician?) told me I was about to be injected and could bring my arm that did not have the I.V. in it down if I wanted. I noticed that my fingernails were darkened, looked purple to me. My thumbnail looked more grey than purple.

— The nurse came in and hooked the I.V. up to something I couldn’t see, maybe just her syringe? She told me the Lasix was coming and I might feel cool as the stuff went through my veins. Then she told me the dye was coming and I might feel warm as that stuff was coursing through me veins. Ouch! That stung- I did begin to feel warm, and was surprised to feel the warmth in and around my head. So I guess blood still does get to my brain whether it is filled with dye or not. 🙂

— The technician told me we had to wait a couple minutes and showed me two L.E.D. readouts that were counting down and told me the numbers I could see were the number of seconds I had left before my next passes through the circle began. I suddenly began shaking all over – it felt like chills without actually feeling cold. I mentioned that – the technician said it would all be over in a couple minutes, so I guess maybe it isn’t that unusual for patients to experience shaking like that.

— The pleasant young technician told me she had to check to make sure the X-Rays that were taken were clear enough. I mentioned the shaking I had experienced and told her I’d been worried that maybe I’d be unable to hold still enough for her to get a good picture- a couple seconds later she said, “Nope – you’re good-” and then came back from her shielded room and unhooked me from the I.V. line and pushed foot pedals that moved me away from the X-Ray circle and lowered the table I was laying on. She told me I should go back out in the corridor and find a seat and somebody would come along soon and take the I.V. thing out of my arm.

— I told her I had to visit the washroom and she told me I should do that and did not make me feel like it was foolish to mention that, but I guess I had been impressed by the fact that the nurse who had handed me the two cups of water had told me not to go to the washroom until I was called in to the scan room.

— I did go to the bathroom and was impressed by the impression that I had peed clear liquid plastic – Then I sat down and waited a couple minutes for a nurse to come along and take the I.V. needle out of my arm, tape a small bandage over the puncture and tell me to hold pressure on it for five minutes and then I could go. I think I stopped shaking some time between my trip to the washroom and when the nurse came and pulled the needle out of my arm. I thought it was a good thing I hadn’t lapsed into a zombie-like mode in which I followed all instructions literally, I might have tried to walk out of there in my double hospital gowns.

— As I watched the five minutes ticking away I realized we had been in the hospital for three hours since we got there early. As soon as I was dressed I knew I had to visit the washroom again.

— My spouse smiled when she saw me coming and asked, “Hungry?”

— I nodded and said, “Starving!”

— She smiled and put the book she’d been reading away, handed me the valuables that signs all around the waiting room warned us not to leave in our lockers when we changed into the hospital gowns.

— I was slightly disoriented. I was very happy that I had somebody with me to guide me through the labyrinth of hospital corridors.

— We made it out through the hospital’s front doors and I felt like I was more vulnerable to feeling cold than when we got there. We decided to go to a Pizza Delight and chowed down at their buffet, topped it off with a slice of lemon meringue pie and a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.

— On the way home we stopped at a supermarket to pick up a couple things. I needed another visit to their washroom while we were there.

— Shortly after we got home I began having muscle cramps and ‘charly horses’. I  had been told that I should drink a lot of fluids to get the dye out of my system, so we had me drink a lot in the hopes that that might make the cramps go away, also took an extra Calcium+Magnesium pill in the hopes that it might improve my muscle health.

— It is now a little after 11:00 pm. I’m still feeling cramps and charly horses, maybe not as intensely as before, but they’re still with me.

— And we’re looking forward to a possible blizzard hitting us over night and dumping as much as a foot of snow on us between now and tomorrow evening.

— Have Fun –,