Monday, October 22, 2007

CT Scanners live in vein

Gee has a whole week gone by already?

This week's short writing update deals exclusively with NaNoWriMo 2007.

My plotting mind has begun to churn and my fingers are limbering up for this big event.

That's about it. I may post more writing stuff once the gales of November come early . . .

Yeah, where did that come from.

So, for your entertainment - or skippage - here is a piece about my getting a CT scan.

I did not enjoy the experience much, but now that it is all over, the memory of it is kinda funny.

Kinda . . .


Ever have a CT scan?

Well if you have, then you know what you have to go through, but if you have not - then let me explain all about it and the wonders that await you . . .

. . . No food four hours before the scan. No drink one hour before the scan. No fun the entire day of the scan.

Flash forward to the general area waiting room -

- which was somewhere about 5 degrees Celsius. I half expected to see sides of beef hanging from ceiling hooks, or at the least icicles or a layer of frost. And yes, it was about 30 Celsius outside.

I believe the super cold temperatures are not to torture waiting patients, but rather, in the off chance somebody dies while waiting, there is little chance of decay setting in before the cleaning staff can find the body . . .

. . . Okay, that was morbid, but I was in a Hospital about to undergo a hideous procedure. What do you expect?

After the prerequisite half hour wait, I was called in for phase one. What was I expecting? Well, I was told by colleagues at work that you have to drink this semi-sweet concoction and that was about it.

Wrong . . .

. . . First question from the nurse (she was nice at least and not at all like the wicked witch of the West wing I was expecting) which arm do you want the IV in?

The what? I thought I was just going to gulp some foul tasting goop and be done.

Oh no, she says, we need to inject you with a metallic iodine solution . . .

. . . bullet time . . .

. . . Oh shit! One person at work I talked to had this done. He said they took a cylinder, about the size of a window calking tube, and pumped the whole damn thing up his arm until he felt like his entire body was going to swell up and explode.

Oh crap! . . .

. . . resume normal time.

Um, how much is going in my arm, and why? Yeah, I was cool on the outside, shaking like a frightened child on the inside.

Only about this much, she said reaching behind her. I half expected her to roll out a 45 gallon drum marked with a skull and crossbones, but she only showed me a small vial holding about 200 ml. Oh, okay. I can handle that I told myself. Piece of cake.

Then, she opens the mini fridge behind her and says, “now for your drinks” . . .

. . . Drinks? You mean like Guinness or Smithwicks?

Yeah, I start to joke under pressure. Okay, not entirely true. I joke all the time. Anyhow, nobody laughs - but she did - to ease my tension I think.

But drinks too, what the hell is this? Don’t I get the shot in the arm only? Both.

Oh crap!

I spy these huge, and I mean huge, containers of Styrofoam holding, and I don’t lie, about 750 ml of orange liquid each. I’m thinking, crap I have to drink all that. I am not a big drinker, unless it’s Guinness or Smithwicks that is, and this was not.

So what does she do?

She pulls out two!

I looked around for somebody else. I mean, two of those means two people right? Right?

Oh crap!

“You can get started on the first one,” she says smiling at me.

I made some other joke about quantity or such. Yes, both are for you. Suck it patient, was what I’m sure she was really thinking, or not another “you want me to drink all of this” comment. She must be bored out of her tree all day handing those over and getting that same reaction.

So back to the, which arm do you want the IV in? Really, I get a choice? How nice.

I pointed to another patient along the hall - how about that arm, over there? Ha, ha, har . . .

. . . Left. I need to drive a manual transmission out of here today so want my shifting arm in good shape.

Why the back of the gorram hand?

It’s so, incase the worst happens, they can wheel you in to the operating room . . .

Gee, thanks. I feel a whole lot better now.

No, I ask the nurse, why the pamphlet before all this telling me that the procedure I’m about to undergo can lead to death? I mean, I’m already on edge here, why the “death” threats?

Just procedure (IE; covering their butts). She tells me that even if they were to give me an aspirin I would have to read and sign this form.

I sign the form - I wonder if the paratroopers on D-Day had to sign a form?

Well, I go back to the meat locker waiting room and begin to slurp down the ridiculous amount of syrupy goop.

After about twenty minutes, and one container later, my bladder is filling up.

So, off I go to the washroom to unload.

I come back and wait another twenty minutes or so.

What in Hell’s half acre is taking so bloody long?

Finally, the assistant pokes her head around and calls my name. As she walks me along she tells me they came out twenty minutes ago but I wasn’t there.

Um, gee, you just had me swallowing two liters of syrup - do ya think I may have been in the can?

My humour is turning to into sarcastic vitriol at this time. I blame it on my body temperature being ten degrees below normal.

Happy nurse shows again and in her hand is another smaller Styrofoam cup - full of orange sweet sickly stuff.

She tells me I need a top-up because I was gone so long.

I am resigned to my fate at this point and just suck it down like a good trapped rat.

The wait is short and I’m lead into the CT scan room. Cool, I think.

You have the X-Files slab and a giant torus shaped apparatus which the table feeds you into.

Not cool, I think as they set me down and strap me in place. Still, no more goop to drink thank Josefat.

Once I’m securely in place they hook up the IV quick connect and get ready for a test? They need to test? How faulty is this equipment anyhow?

And, the test does not work. Bubbles in the IV line or something. The nurse wacks on the unit, just like you would expect a professional to fix something - it works. So, not all you see in the movies is make believe.

The assistant and nurse scurry off behind a protective barrier. I’m reminded of footage of nuclear bomb testing - and I’m at ground zero.

The giant torus, my feet are pointing at, begins to whir and the unit gets up to speed. It sounds like a muted jet engine. Cool, I think again knowing the end is near . . . Okay, not the most appropriate thought, but what do you want.

I am told the unit hooked up to my IV will now administer the lethal (okay, not lethal) dose of metallic iodine something or other - and the most peculiar sensation hits me.

No, not the light in the distance (just the overhead florescent) but my bladder all of a sudden feels hot. Strange, very strange.

I’m fed through the unit as it whirs at top speed. In the torus, then out of the torus.

I picture Homer Simpson taking a bite out of it. I does resemble a rather large white powder donut.

Nurse comes back. Pops out the IV. I’m free to go.

As a bonus - I didn’t die!

A parting word of advice to all you youngins out there. Eat lots of fibre, drink lots of water and stay the hell away from crap food.

Your innards will love you and you may never have to have a CT scan.

For me - the beginning - of the rest of my goo food life.


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