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Friday, January 22, 2016

Scanxiety

Well, thank goodness THAT'S  over! My CT scan was scheduled for 8 AM this morning.  Didn't sleep all that well- in fact didn't go to sleep until three AM, just kept tossing and turning and trying to get the cat to move to the foot of the bed instead of right  by my shoulder. Part of my sleeplessness may have been due to "scanxiety" since the results of this scan will determine to a large extent  what  treatment comes next. Got up bright and early  very hungry and  dying for a cup of coffee  and some toast but had to settle for a big bottle of  barium suspension instead.

 I don't know what they add to the barium in the suspension, but the stuff was sickly sweet, so I'm assuming it was some sort of  artificial sweetener. Did I mention that artificial sweeteners often act as a  potent laxative for me? Needless to say,  we were a little late leaving the house and I  suggested to Mr. G. that maybe he should try to find a Port-a-Jon on wheels to pull behind the car so I could ride back there. I'm still not completely over the  loose bowel effect brought on by the radiation treatments, so  I was operating under a double whammy this morning.  It got so bad that I  figured I had better wear a Depends  and take several changes of clothes to avoid any public embarrassment. When we arrived at the hospital Mr. G  dropped me off at the front entrance and went to  park the car. My first stop was the restroom in the main lobby.  I  pretty much know the  location of  almost every public restroom in the hospital by now and some that aren't so public and have used most of them!

I finally  made it up to  radiation department, got registered, paid my copay and found a seat in the waiting area that was   fairly close to the restroom. That didn't really help too much, and I didn't quite make it a few times. When I got down to my last change of  underwear, I inquired at the desk to see if there was somewhere close by I could buy some Depends.  The  kind woman in charge said she would check with the nurses and see if they had something I could use. Pretty soon a  male nurse came out with a thick package in his hand. He  asked if I was the person who needed the adult diaper and handed it to me, explaining that it was probably going to be too big, but they only had one size and  it was better than nothing.  

Too big was a huge understatement!  Remember, I  am about 5'1" and weigh 85 pounds soaking wet. This thing wrapped around my body, overlapped, and bunched into a glob between my legs. It would probably  have been too big for the average sumo wrestler! Nevertheless, I struggled valiantly to get it wrapped around me only to discover that  once wrapped, there was nothing to  secure it with.  Besides that, it was bunched up so thickly between my legs that I couldn't even walk, I could only waddle! I finally gave up,  took it off, refolded it, put on my very last pair  of underpants and  hoped fervently that there were no more  mishaps.

When I came out, Mr. G said they were waiting for me in the back, so off I went through the door to meet  the nurse, who took me back to the CT machine. After  taking a blood sample they got me all comfy on the nicely padded table - such a  difference from the  cold hard table used for the radiation treatments!  They asked if I needed another pillow and even brought me a heated blanket, which felt like pure heaven, and told me if I needed to make  a run to the restroom to let them know. I did need to, twice actually, before the tech came in to access my port and  inject the contrast medium. 

After the  contrast medium is infused I always get a weird taste in my mouth; it feels as though something hot is running in my veins and  there's the sensation of  losing control of my bladder. Even though I have never lost control during the procedure, since I had already pretty much lost control of my  bowels, that just added to the stress. Not even yoga  breathing and meditation could help the situation much today! Once  infused I was told to raise my arms over my head and the table moved into the center of the  doughnut ring.  The machine started its whirring and spinning and the  stern very loud voice of the CT  god blared forth. Could this  disembodied voice actually be the original inspiration for  Deux ex machina, I wonder? Lord CT ordered me to  "BREATHE IN!" "HOLD YOUR BREATH!" "BREATHE!" as the table slipped in and out of the doughnut ring. I meekly did as I was told,  very thankful that Lord CT was not my yoga instructor!

Finally we were finished and I  was able to lower my arms. The nurse said she was about to flush my lines with heparin. Heparin is an anticoagulant, often derived from pigs, that keeps clots from forming. Since having the port  implanted and  beginning treatment I've had so many heparin flushes that  it wouldn't surprise me if I began to "oink" at some point! Heparin smells bad to me and leaves a funny taste in my mouth, so I usually  suck on a peppermint during the flush.   I mentioned that I'd left the peppermints in my purse which was with Mr. G in the waiting room.  The nurse told me  they had peppermints and would get me one.  A second nurse came in and handed me a peppermint  candy so huge that I can only surmise that  it was meant for the same giant-sized people the adult diaper was made for. I stuck it in my mouth and must have looked like a greedy squirrel  hoarding nuts!

When we were all finished and I was no longer woozy the nurse escorted me back to  the waiting room. After a couple more trips to the restroom on our way out of the hospital it seemed  my problem was over- there was nothing left in my  gut, thank goodness and I could ride home without  having to resort to wearing the sumo diaper!  By the time Mr. G and I  stepped out of the hospital to  head for the car the   wind had picked up and the temperature had dropped.  It's been dropping all day now and we've had some snow flurries mixed in with the rain.  When we got home we saw that the  bird feeders were empty, so I refilled them, figuring that the wet  front steps would soon be frozen and hazardous  as the temperature dipped below freezing. Then I rewarded myself for surviving my morning ordeal by  eating a very late breakfast  followed by a nice long nap.  My oncologist should have the results of the scan by Monday when I meet with her. Now  we just have to wait patiently and I have to remember to tell myself, in a  very gentle voice, to "just breathe." 

2 comments:

Rick Watson said...

Hey Grace you are a trooper. I don't have a point of reference about all the stuff you're going through but I think you are one of the strongest people I know.
Rick

Grace Smith said...

Thank you, Rick, but STRONG??? You have obviously never seen me struggling to get the lid off a jar of jelly! Oh- maybe you meant strong-willed. That's the same as stubborn or obstinate isn't it??? :-D