Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Setting the Record Straight about Scans!

I guess I just don't know as much as I thought I did about medical stuff and what happens when people say they went for tests, took all day, lots of irritations, etc., etc. I thought they were just impatient, didn't feel good, hated all the fuss and muss, etc. Boy, did I have a lot to learn. At first, I wasn't going to say anything here on my blog, as I thought just saying that I went, did it, and am waiting for the results was enough. But Monday and Tuesday really bugged me, and the more I thought about it, the more I just want to MAKE SURE everyone here who reads my blog KNOWS what they are in for when the doctor decides to send you for "some tests!"

Ok! So this girl calls me, all cheery and bubbly and says, "Ok! We have you scheduled for the CT scans on Monday so you need to come in and pick up this drink that you need to drink before the scan. Can you do that?" (I had just been there a few hours before!!!!) I politely say, "Of course, I'll be right there." Jump in the car, drive all the way back there, and get the white, chalky stuff you have to drink. The bubbly gal meets me at the desk and says, "Now make sure you don't eat or drink anything 4 hours before, and two hours before your appointment time, drink this stuff." That's ALL they told me. NO PROBLEM with that!

I follow the instructions to the letter, but the night before, I begin to wonder ---- someone told me this takes about an hour --- what if I have to pee, or even worse, what if the white, chalky stuff sends my stomach into a fit and I REALLY have to go???? So . . . . I make the decision to NOT EAT any supper the night before or drink anything after about 6:00 pm just in case. OK! I'm in charge here! Doing constructive thinking, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah!

I get there plenty early, sign in, and shortly after, a man in what looks like pajamas comes to get me. He sits down cross-legged and begins to take my medical history. Thought they already had all of that. Then. . . .

"Oh, I see you already have your port. We can use that to put the contrast dye into your veins!" I PANIC! I said, "Oh no. . . . it's still so tender and stuff there!" But he insists!

(For more information about ports and what they are like, you can visit my sister, Juri's, blog as she explains it sooooooo well!!!!)

No you have to understand, no one told me about contrast dye, needles, using that port, that I was getting 2 different scans here, etc., etc. And, add misery upon misery, I had to drink ANOTHER big portion of that chalk. All the time, I'm thinking bathroom. . . . WHAT IF. . .???!!!!!

So now, he has me lie down on this little plank of a thing (mind you, I'm a size 5x here) and I have to balance myself on it with my arms stretched out over my head. He says this will take about 20 minutes. I'm just glad this was NOT the tunnel thing like the MRI stuff. It's like being passed through an arch back and forth. A voice recording goes along with the scan, telling you when to breath, not breath, take a breath, hold it, etc., etc. I did make it through this ok and thought I was home free.

Then. . . . Mr. Pajamas comes back in and rips open this little package and low and behold. . . . a HUGE needle is dangled over my head. A sweet, nice nurse is also over me as I'm flat on my back, still balancing myself on this narrow plank, arms over my head, and they spray this port site on my chest with icey cold spray that is supposed to numb the site. That was a bunch of whooey! I felt like I was in one of those horror movies, staring up into bright white lights, nurses holding me down, a guy behind me dangling stuff, etc., etc. I grit my teeth. . . . and POW, she stabs me in the chest with this needle. Then she moves it all around. . . digging is the only word I know to describe it. Nope! couldn't get it in! Throws that one away, rips open another baggie with a new needle in it. "So sorry honey, but we are going to have to try again." I groan!

Three more tries, each time, I'm stiffening up worse and worse. I'm about to bolt out of there when they call in "Nurse Rachett" -- the big, older lady who seems to be in charge and can do anything. The others move aside and I'm now in a REAL panic, as my sister told me about this one! She hovers over me, starts pushing on my port site, just about killing me, and says, "We need the bigger, one inch needle here." I'm sure by this time, my blood pressure has reached boiling levels, and my back was stiffened permanently, all the time, my arms STILL over my head and I can't even defend myself from these attackers!

Another baggie is ripped open! If you could have seen the size of this needle, you would have died! I wish I had had my eyes closed, but there it was, dangling over my head! I just prayed. And by golly, Nurse Rachett got it in first try. It hurt like anything, but it was IN!

By now, my arms were killing me up over my head, but Mr. Pajama Man told me I it would be just a few more minutes. And so the scan began again. I was sure by the time it was done, they would be putting my arms in a baggie for me to take home separately!!!!!

So now you know what to expect when you go for one of these things. Just let me know and I'll be on my knees praying for you!

So now, I'm thinking, the bone scan on Tuesday will just be a piece of cake, in and out, and have it done with. My good old trusty sister says, "Sure I'll go with you! how long could it take?????" Little did we know.

It was about a 45 minute ride to where it was being done, so we left a little early. Got there, signed in, and then a nice sweet lady came and got us and led us to a quiet, lovely waiting room in another part of the facility. I was taken right in, and I ghought, "This will be over in no time, and we'll be going right home!"


Another needle! This stuff was a radioactive type injection. NO PORT this time! I was the happiest camper ever! Needle goes right in and we're on our way. Then, she says, "OK! Now I want you to go and drink about 6 big glasses of water or other fluids, pee a lot, and then come back in three hours for the scan. THREE HOURS??????
What are we supposed to do for three hours??????

I go out and my sister sees me and says, "Done already?" with a big grin! Then I tell her we have to kill three hours, drink a river of water and pee a lot. Her face went blank, and we went to the car. So. . . .

if you are in line for a bone scan, be sure to plan for this part. Shopping, eating, DRINKING, more shopping!!!! And BE SURE to have a mapped out plan for bathrooms along the way during those three hours. Very important!!!!

We ate our lunch VERY slowly, but that only took 50 minutes. Two hours and 10 minutes to kill. Went to Walmart. More bathroom stops. Now. . . . have you ever tried to shop when you are told you have to kill time???? Ladies, I hate to tell you, but I discovered it is the most boring thing in the world. Couldn't think of a thing to look at, didn't want anything, etc., etc. That clock just wouldn't move. Finally, we decide to head back to the facility and just sit there and watch TV.

MORE bathrooms! MORE to drink!

and we sit and wait!

Finally! they come and get me. Told me to lie down on this thing ---- and believe me, this plank was even more narrow than the one from the day before!!!!! And again, my poor arms over my head. They tied my feet together with elastic bands. At least they had music playing for this one.

Just when I thought it was over and brought my poor arms back over my head, she said, "Since you stated you thought your ribs were broken or something, lets get some extra shots of that!" I groan. Don't mention things like that ever again. Just go with the usual scan. No extras, please!!!!! So, arms back up, and another 10 minutes on the plank!

I was so out of there when that was done!

Pee again!!!!!

By the time I got home, I had had it! I never want to see another bottle of water again. I do have to practice sleeping on planks a little bit though. I'm not good at that.

So now you know what is involved when a doctor says, "I'm sending you for a CT scan and a bone scan." That means two days of your life are shot!


Lea of Farmhouse Blessings said...

Oh Cora, I had no idea. I really thought scans were sort of these "Jetson" like experiences. Lay in the nice padded tube, close your eyes, maybe get a foot rub ... yikes! I'm so sorry that you had to go through all of this. However, I am glad those tests are in the past.

Bless your heart! Hope you went home and comforted yourself with lots of snacks.


zzop357 said...

I know the Dr's never tell how bad its going to be. I'm sorry it took so many sticks to get a needle in. They can't get one in me either. I have crawly veins.Or I blow them.
I pray all the news you get, will be good news.
God bless, Donna

Deb said...

Hi Cora, after reading this I thought there has to be a bright side to this, and came up with, that's done, and you are futher into the treatment area. That's good. It was very helpful information though, and I'm glad you shared. God Bless You Cora. Deb

Joyfulsister said...

Hi Cora,
Well bless your heart, Wow I felt like I was right there with you. I love your sense of humor and attitute through it all. Gee.. I have a CT Scan for my liver coming up on the August 5th. wish you and Juri lived near me so we could hang out.I'll let you know how mine goes. BTW I love how you write about your journey you could do a book oneday. Hugz Lorie

Toby Parsons said...

Oh you poor thing! I'm glad you can write humorously about it, sharing the reality with all of us!

I took my husband in today for an MRI. We have come to realize that the 'Mobile' MRI - for our convenience as to not have so far for this test means budget MRI. Then because of the work that my husband does, they decided that he needed x-rays first to see if he has metal fragments in his body.
My point is the 1 hour appt. turned into a 2 1/2 hour appt. :) He said that they placed his already severely hurting shoulder in an excrutiatig position before cramming him into the MRI tube. Then they told him, 'You moved' which means start over. :) Nothing compared to what you have dealt with though!

I made up my mind today, no MRI's for me, 'ever'. :)

God bless you Cora! :)

Renna said...

Oh, Cora, I hurt for you. :-(

PianoPlayer said...

Thank goodness that is over with.
I have no words of wisdom, advice or even Scripture here. Just know that we love you and are sorry for the misery you are experiencing.
Cheryl - Dan too

Juri said...

Cor, I know these were hideous days, but I am still laughing after reading your account of the entire two days of scans!! I did note, however, that you left out the horror of our uncontrolled laughter in the waiting room...I suppose I have to blog about that??? Sure, Sis, make me look like the "bad sister"!!!


Farm Chick Paula said...

Oh Cora.... I'm so sorry!!!
Why is it they just can't be honest with people? I would much rather someone tell me the truth than have me laying there wondering "what the crap is coming next?" No wonder people get irritable!

Julie said...

Wow!! I had no idea that it was like that. Bless your heart--I hope you treated yourself to something after all that. Have a better day, today. Julie

papel1 said...

I would think waiting for the results would be worse than the procedure, but I have changed my mind. Sorry you had to go thru this! Take care.

Nicole said...

Oh Cora I am so sorry you had to go through this. When you wrote on my blog that you were just diagnosed with breast cancer my mind immediately went to my mom as she is a breast cancer survivor x2. I was very young when she had CA so I don't remember a lot of it but I do remember some. Now that I'm older she will tell me some of the stories about her experiences and it's very difficult for me to hear all the things my mom had to go through. I am praying for you. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I don't know if the song I just posted from youtube on my blog will brighten your day but it might. You are welcome to come visit and I pray that it does.

I am glad that you have your sister that is able to relate to what you are going through as I do believe it is difficult for others to completely understand if they've never been there, done that per say. I am so glad that I met you. I look forward to hearing about your journey. I believe it may bring healing to my heart regarding my mom going through cancer. I will add you to my Favorite Sites. Please let me know if this is not okay and I will understand. Be blessed today, my dear Cora.

Love and Hugs to you this day,

Toni said...

Wow Cora!I`m so sorry you had to go through all of that!I thought it would be like a cat Scan I`m glad you finally were able to get theses tests done though I`ll be praying that they all come back okay:)I love your joyful and joking spirit through all of this.God has given you amazing strength!Love and blessings,Toni

Debra said...

Dear Cora,
Your amazing attitude shines from all of this. Even through the pain, I can see your heart as you submit to the Lord's will. What a gal you are! You know, we are learning from you in this-to have an excellent spirit is a precious thing.
Love ya, Debra
P.S. I remember those CT scans-I had too many with my brain thing. And I had that radioactive thing too. I fell asleep on the table. Luckily I had a compassionate nurse who told everybody not to torture me anymore!

Raquel said...

Cora: Having worked in a hospital for 12+ years, I have an idea of what most things entail. Pretty nasty jobs, eh? Still praying for you! Have some chocolate and call it a week! Much love - Raquel XO

KKJD1 said...

Cora,Wow what you have to go thru just to get a scan. So sorry you had to go thru all that. Sure hope you had a better day today! blessings, karen

Picket said...

Hello friend..I have to applaud you for your endurance..I almost fainted by the time I got to the end of the post! I have never had anything like that in my life. Girl, whatever they are looking for I agree with you in prayer right now across the miles according to God's word that you get a good report and that it even amazes the doctors..I ask God to touch you and breath on you and do a recreative miracle from the crown of your head to the souls of your feet...breath on her Father! God bless you sweetie and strengthen you minute by minute and hour by hour. I thank you so much for coming by and for that sweet comment...please come by anytime.

Linda said...

It always saddens me that along with that scary diagnosis, patients then have to deal with all that inconvenience and pain and poking etc. I am sorry you had to go through with all that. I pray the rest is much easier!

SimpleFolk said...

Hi Cora,
I just wanted to check in on you. I'm so sorry to hear about all you've been through. I have had many tests for my (still undiagnosed) neurological problem and I can sympathize with you. I also found out that I am very allergic to contrast dye--no fun! I'm just glad that these tests are over for you, and I will keep praying.


Dani said...

I had no idea either..seems like in this day, they should have a more comfortable way to do these scans...
you did a lot better than I would, I can't raise my one arm over my head like that, from a surgery I had as a child....its not possible...
thanks for sharing this, it will help

Cookie said...

You poor dear! My arms never would have made it!

Patty H. said...

{{{Cora}}} I'm sorry that you are having to go thru this. I've had a few MRI/CT scans, nothing as serious as yours but I know what they can be like.
Patty H.

PineyWoodsPrims~Dena said...

Cora, I wished that you did not have to endure so much. Know that your in our thoughts and prayers everyday. I don't know if I would have been able to do what you did that day. You have to be one tough cookie girl. Praying for strength and healing for you.
Please stop by my blog when you can.
God bless you Cora!

PineyWoodsPrims~Dena said...

By the way Cora those reports will be good. We are standing in faith and these reports will be good. I just know it.

Vintage Linen Treasures said...

Hi Cora,
It's terrible that they didn't explain the complete process to you! I'm sure it would have been frightening to hear, but not knowing what to expect as you go through it must have been terrifying. Holding you up in prayer.

This Country Girl said...


That sounds like an awful experience! I'm so sorry! I know you're glad to have that part behind you! You deserve to pamper yourself real good! :)


Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Cora, I didn't comment on this right away... but I will today. I just read it all over again.
I just dont understand why these things have to hurt so much? There has to be something they can give you that lessens the pain.
I will definitely be on my knees for you if you have to do this again.

Kindra said...

Thanks for giving us the insight of your world. I'm glad you are seeing the "funny" side of these serious things. I think that makes the process go so much smoother. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs.

mammaof5js said...

I have to admit, reading about your tests put a smile on my face. Maybe one day you could fill in writing a column for Dave Barry if he needs some time off. Did I send you the one he wrote about having to go see the gastroenterologist? I think you'd have a fine appreciation for that article now. So glad to read also that there hasn't been any spreading of the cancer. Praise the Lord! Keep's good medicine....for us and for you!