Yuck!!!!! One More CT Scan Down!
- December 06, 2016
- Theresa Bertuzzi
I did it. Another CT scan down and I did a pretty good job choking down that horrible barium drink. When they phoned me yesterday to make the appointment I was happy that they had fit me in so quickly, only two days after my doctor ordered the tests. Then it dawned on me that I would probably have to drink the same barium drink that I had to drink in the emergency room. It was just terrible and a horrible experience. So I asked the nurse if I would have to drink it and she said “yes dear that is why we have you come a few hours before the CT scan.” I right of way started bargaining… “..Are you sure I have to drink that drink? Because I have a really hard time gagging it down, like this is just going to be horrible for me.” “Do you think the doctors can stick a tube down my throat or nose and just pour it in?” “Or maybe you can just inject extra contrast?” To which the nurse simply said “you can add some Crystal Light to it if you want but you are going to have to drink it.” I told her once again how bad this was going to go for everyone working there, in the waiting room and for myself but she didn’t seem to really care. In fact, I suspect she hung up the phone and either tried to switch her shift for the next day or decided to call in sick so that she wouldn’t have to deal with me.
My friend Diane saw my post about having to go for the test and offered to come along to distract me and I jumped all over that. I normally prefer to just go to doctors’ appointments alone but I could use all of the distraction I could get with this one. I texted her, warning her how big of a baby I am when it comes to drinking horrible stuff and she let me know that she would get that stuff down my throat even if she had to sit on me or knock me out and pour it down my throat. She is a really good friend! Now I am actually pretty good about having tests and can handle a lot of pain. I laugh my way through electric shocks, needles being jabbed in my muscles, breast and muscle biopsies and fall asleep in MRI machines but drinking yucky drinks is my Kryptonite. I have never been able to handle it. When I was little my mother would literally weep when the doctor told her that I had to have antibiotics for an infection. She would actually bargain with the doctor wondering if I would actually die or do serious damage if we just skipped the meds just this once. She would come at me with the spoon of medicine and I would start dry heaving and crying before it was even in my mouth. Then I would throw it all up the second I swallowed it. I would watch the time and start crying about a half an hour before I knew that I was due to get my medicine. When I was older and had to take it alone my mom would call from work to remind me to take my medicine and I would immediately pour a spoonful of the vile stuff down the drain while I was still on the phone with her.
So Diane picked me up and listened patiently while I complained the whole way there how I already felt sick, my head hurt, my ass was sweating from the stress… Then we went into the waiting room. A sweet older man was just being given a drink and I thought I would have to run out of there. He smiled at me and I proceeded to tell him how horrible that drink was going to be. Every sip he took I gagged watching him. The nurse told him that if he couldn’t handle the taste of the drink his wife could purchase him some Crystal Light to add from the cafeteria. He insisted that he could take it, but I knew better and gave him a “sure, sure” look. He laughed and started drinking. Between my complaining and gagging just watching him and the horrible taste of the drink we soon saw him struggling and he finally gave in and sent his wife for the drink crystals. Then it was my turn. The nurse saw Diane holding the drink powder and thought that she was me, even though I was wearing a hospital gown, so she explained all of the instructions to her and neither one of us interrupted her to tell her she was speaking to the wrong person as it would be Diane leading this fiasco anyway. When she finished speaking she realized that I was the one in the hospital gown and was like “whoops, I guess this is for you” but I let her know “It’s ok, she can drink it for me!” Diane helped me mix up the drink and I had my first sip. It really was much better with the lemonade flavouring, it was still putrid but I felt like I may actually be able to gag this stuff down. Part of the problem with this drink is that they make you sip it slowly and time you as you drink it so you can’t just chug it down and get it over with but you need to sip slowly and drag the whole thing out over an hour of pure torture. By now there were three of us sitting and sipping. The third lady only lasted about four sips before sending her husband scurrying to get the Crystal Light. When I had warned her she would need it she let us know that she did not like the taste of lemonade. Hmmm, I guess she didn’t mind it nearly as much as the glass of poison that was forced into her hands. I did pretty well while I drank the drink because the lemonade made it bearable but as soon as I stopped sipping the aftertaste and effects would have me shuttering, dry heaving and burping like a trucker. No need to be embarrassed though as everyone else was doing the same. So the next hour consisted of Diane trying desperately to distract me with conversation while pausing intermittently to laugh at me while I gagged, shuddered, and burped. She was so great though and got me through it. Even gave me a huge high five when I finished and she only had to get really bossy and demand that I drink a couple of times.
We had a great group of people there today too. They were a lively bunch of patients and everyone was really nice. When I get nervous I tend to be very loud and vocal and try to bring everyone in on the experience. I feel like if we are all going through this torture then let’s do it together. Not everyone is so receptive to this kind of enthusiasm but this group was right on board. We were hollering jokes to each other and one of the women even got up to randomly dance and sing to Felize Navidad. It was totally weird but awesome at the same time. LOL We cheered each other on as we finished our drinks and one by one went in to get our CT scans. When I finished mine, the older man who I was joking with asked me if I wanted another glass. Ummm No!!!! I like to believe that it was my loud complaining and carrying on that broke the ice and led to this amazing bonding experience at the hospital today. Or… it was my gagging and carrying on that made everyone so sick that they all needed to add the drink Crystals to their drinks and I made it much worse for everyone and none of them will ever again be able to do that test without choking. Either way, I did my job and gave them all lots to talk about.
The CT scan was simple and the machines never really bother me. I would have thought that I would be nervous since they were looking to see if I have cancer but I had absolutely no anxiety at all. I am hoping that is a good sign as you think my intuition would have me trembling if I thought in any way that I had cancer but I really don’t think that I do. I also feel as though if they do find it one day then it will be early and I will be just fine. I was in and out of there in twenty minutes. I have had many people contact me over the past few months to make sure that I really am ok and am not just putting on a brave face but the truth is that I am not afraid and I have been surrounded by so much love and support that I feel so blessed and lucky. People have been sending notes, dropping off food and gifts. My staff held a fundraiser and even random strangers have been so much kinder to me and everyone seems to have a smile for me wherever I go. Maybe I just am taking the time to notice it now or maybe they can sense that I need the support, I can’t really explain it but it feels as though the universe right now is reaching out to give me a huge supportive hug. Just this week I set up our elf on the shelf only to hear a loud scream the next morning. The dog had the friggin elf!!! Panic ensued with my running to get the oven mitts to get the elf away from the dog because you can’t touch the elf with your hands. He did get a little mauled much to the kids’ horror. I posted on Facebook what happened and my friend Al immediately posted that a new Elf was heading my way and to check Tiny Hoppers. Sure enough, good to his word he dropped off his elf Ellie to comfort my daughter and save the day. What an awesome thing to do to go out of his way to brighten my day and he and his amazing wife even wrote up a hilarious letter to go along with the elf that had me roaring with laughter. I have been surrounded by so many of these acts of kindness and I feel so very lucky to have so many people in my corner cheering me on simply because I chose to share my journey with them.
I have so many people in my life that have made it their personal challenge to make me smile and laugh and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the laughs. My friend from high school writes me daily to fill me in on funny stories of her children that I absolutely love. When I got the bad news about the cancer testing so many people wrote me supportive and sweet notes that I was sobbing reading them all. They were all so sweet and then my brother sent me this video which brought me to tears laughing. I am truly blessed and so lucky to have you all in my life and following me along on this adventure. XOX