Monday, March 2, 2015

the joy of CT scanning

today i had my 5th CT scan.  my 7th if you count my two PET/CTs (and why wouldn't you?).  7 in under 2 years.

my last two CT scans have been different than the previous five in that a nice tech walks out into the waiting room with a liter of water in a pitcher and a plastic cup and finds me and says, "here you go.  you have 15 minutes to drink this."  "well, no thank you.  i'm actually not very thirsty."  "mwah hahaha," he laughs and walks away.

i think i realize now why little kids give their parents such a bad look when they are told to do something they don't want to do.  it's their hope that if their parents see how unhappy they'll be doing the thing, their parents will have mercy on them.  it didn't work today in my case with the tech.  but greg was there this time and he, being all mathematical-like, paced me so that it wasn't nearly as bad as it was last time, when i was by myself and worried that i wouldn't possibly finish in time and choked it down as fast as i could.

once you're in the room for the scan, they do some preliminary scanning, or so it seems.  you hold your breath, you move through the machine and out again.  then they try to inject you with contrast.  for my purposes, this is to get a good picture of my liver.  i told them today that last time they were not able to get the needle in.  i guess they need a large needle for this particular type of contrast because they need to be able to inject it rather quickly.  let me just say for the record that contrast is on my top ten list of things i hate.  i get very nauseous from it.  two CT scans ago, they asked me to hold my breath at the precise moment the very strong wave of nausea from the contrast hit me.  so right as my body was telling me to puke (but actually don't puke because you're in a really expensive machine) the techs were telling me to take a big breath and hold it.  sure thing.  no problem.

anyway, back to getting the contrast in, in the first place.  not an easy task.  first, my right arm is off limits.  because i've had my lymph nodes removed, i am supposed to avoid getting poked in that arm so as to help prevent lymphedema.  which means my left arm is totally fed up with getting poked in general.  second, my veins are very thin (so i've been told).  third, i was freezing cold after drinking all that water.  at one point i had one tech working to find a vein on my left arm while another tech was working to find a vein in my right foot.  no luck but i got an uncomfortable exploratory poke in the left hand for good measure.  the left foot wasn't any more cooperative.  one of the techs said to me that it is seldom one can say that a person can't get a needle and that i am only the second person with whom he's failed... and now that i think about it... i may have actually been the first person too.
so, i successfully avoided contrast for the second time, but i earned myself another liver ultrasound.

well, i'll take it.



nina said...

On the upside -- veins, I believe, can grow more robust with age. I used to be one of those whose veins were elusive. Not any more! Poke away, they're plump and stand at the ready!

Seriously, sorry it was the usual awful medical stuff. Super happy that Greg was with you.

May your third day of spring be beautiful, offering perhaps that cup of tea on the couch...

Sara said...

Ugh! Gross! I too have had multiple needle sticks and complaints about small, deep veins like I asked for them for goddess sake. When an anesthesiologist went for a foot, I refused. She was an anesthesiologist, had to do better than that. I showed her the best vein and she disdainfully said, "I never use wrist veins." Started a too small IV to put me to sleep and when I woke up, the IV was in the vein I pointed out to her before surgery. Not that I hold grudges...

greg|regan said...

Too funny Sara! I was told by the techs that next tim I go for a CT I need to first have an appointment with anesthesiology so I can have them put the needle in first and then I can go down to the scanning department with it already in. Eeek!