Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Mainlining fire, and other idle pursuits

Back when I got my physical last September, one of the things that came back from the lab work was some slightly elevated liver enzyme levels. They weren’t high enough to be alarming, but they were high enough for my physician to want to run some further tests. So I spent a month abstaining from alcohol and Tylenol, and was retested, but this didn’t make any difference. So I was sent off to get an ultrasound of my abdomen. I did end up procrastinating on this for a bit, because at that time we were moving headlong towards kitanzi‘s surgery, and that, along with some personal relationship stresses, was taking up most of my emotional energy. But I did finally have the ultrasound down in February, and was told that it’s definitely a girl! No, actually, what I was told is that the ultrasound was inconclusive, and they wanted to send me for a full CT scan.

With one thing or another, I never did get called back, so when I was in getting my blood pressure medication adjusted last week, I mentioned that I’d never got a call. Ms. Schaad, the NP who I’ve been seeing about the various things that came out of my physical, rolled her eyes and told me she’d resubmit the paperwork. Yesterday, I was called and told I could come in today at 1:00pm, and to come down and pick up some barium contrast dye to take this morning.

The barium wasn’t as disgusting as I’d been led to believe, though I really don’t think its a taste sensation that will sweep the country either. The real downside of it was that once I drank it, I wasn’t allowed to have anything to eat or drink, even water, until after the procedure. This made me fairly cranky for most of the morning, as I tend to keep a full jug of water on my desk at all times.

I got to the Northside Hospital‘s Radiology facility in Alpharetta right on time, did the paperwork, and waited to be called. I was finally led back into the CT Scanner area by a very perky, pretty young nurse, who gave me some more barium and went over with me all the various ways that the procedure might kill me, and asking me to initial the paper saying that that was alright. I then divested myself of my various belongings, and made myself comfortable on the slab while the pretty nurse set up an IV that would later be used to inject me with even more dye.

The next bit was spent being shuttled back and forth through the machine, before she came in to give me the injection. Wow, what an utterly weird feeling! It wasn’t actually painful, but it felt as though a nice fire was slowly making its way through my bloodstream. it lasted for about five minutes, during which I was shuttled through the machine a couple of more times, and then it was all done. I came home and ordered some Chinese food and played City of Villains until kitanzi came home.

I won’t know the results for a few days, but it was definitely an *interesting* experience.

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27 Comments

  1. My, what…fun…*grin* Hope it comes out okay -- I’m glad it wasn’t too unpleasant.

    (My CT scans didn’t involve drinking or being injected with anything. And I have to admit that they are my favorite radiological procedure because a) they didn’t involve being twisted into some unnatural position, told to hold still and not to breathe (like x-rays) and they aren’t really noisy, fairly lengthy, and also often involving uncomfortable procedures (like MRIs). They’re short! You can get away with a lot for short as far as I’m concerned…but I don’t think I’d have liked the injection you’re talking about.)

    • I’ve had a number of CT scans done on my head (4 at last count) while dealing with my various sinus maladies, but this was the first time I’d had one done on my body.

      It wasn’t an unpleasent experience overall, by any means. Even the injection wasn’t so bad. I didn’t classify it as painful or uncomfortable so much as just very odd.

  2. i got warned by the nurse taking care of me for mine that the injection would make me feel like i had just wet myself. it’s a good thing she said that because it was embarrassingly just like it. didn’t like the idea that i might be losing the ability to control myself before 30 ;P

    • Yeah, I got the same talk, and they’re right, it does feel very much like that, but I was too busy marvelling over the slow burn creeping down my arms and chest to be too concerned about it by the time it hit my bladder. 🙂

  3. Whee! What fun!

    • Oh, absolutely. I think in the future, all the cool kids will be hanging out at Radiology labs instead of nightclubs, getting dye injections and moshing through the MRI machine. You wait and see.

  4. Been there… what was odd to me, and I take it to be primarily a female response, especially given Gailee’s response above, was the intense warmth/burning in the genital region. At first it was quite pleasant, but then it just got more and more intense. Eeep!!

    Good thing you weren’t one of the ones who have nasty side effects from the dye. I hear that is excrutiating.

    Hope you’re okay and keep us informed!

    • From a scientific point of view, it was facinating. I don’t think I’d want to do it recreationally, but it was kinda neat, really, in a new experience kinda of way. 🙂

      When I hear anything back, I’ll let folks know.

  5. My postpartum blood transfusion felt very much like an intense warmth spreading through my body. Apparently that’s normal.

  6. If you’re like me, after going through all that you half-hope they find something because the procedures were so annoying.

    Years ago I had to drink barium for a similar procedure. Thankfully, it was chilled. The hospital I was at had a Dixie-cup style dispenser filled with cups labelled “Barium.” I was allowed to take several away with me.

    Afterwards I went to work with the “Barium” cups in tow. I filled one up from the spring water dispenser, then went to chat with a co-worker who had given me a horrific description of what barium would taste like. As I stood there I casually sipped my water as he slowly started retching. It was hysterical. I then showed him it was just water. (Yes, he and I are still friends.)

    • I don’t think I’m like you, then. I’d be just as happy if they found that everything was fine, and nothing to worry about. Or, if they find anything, that it’s easily treatable.

      • That’s why I said half and not fully.

        • Sorry, that should have included a smiley — I know precisely what you’re saying. At the same time, I’m careful not to invite woe unto myself. The universe seems quite willing to provide me a fair ration without my encouragement. 🙂

    • At least barium will help curium at times.

  7. I’m remembering the fire in my veins from that MRI back in 1997. Silly nurse, who had been so nice up until the point that I started screaming from the pain, was quite rude to me after that. Obviously no one had told her or me that one can be allergic to the dye! I only found that wee bit of info just recently.

    At any rate, hope things are okay!

    Also, thanks to both of you for dinner and prezzies! I watched BW and PotW already. *grins* Beautiful and dramatic and very very sad. I love Ten but I do miss Nine.

    • You were in an excessive amount of pain anyway, so I don’t imagine any sharp sensation was going to be received well by you at that point — your pain receptors were being run ragged already.

      You probably weren’t alleric, per se. They went over all the various allergic reactiosn I could have, and the forms I was signing were actually consent forms to be treated if I had an averse reaction, up to and including transferring me to the actual hospital. Luckily, none of that was necessary.

      You’re quite welcome on the prezzies, and I hope you get much enjoyment out of them. I will put more disks your way for the folder as I get them burned myself. 🙂

      I do miss Nine, but I adore Ten, so….yknow, half of one, six doezen of the other. I need to rder some of the McGann audio adventures, because I was always disappointed he only got to do the one TV episode (and with a fairly medicore script, at that).

  8. sorry you have to go thru all this.

    about 5 years ago i had a kidney stone, and had to go thru all the tests, WHEEE!!!! the injection was funny cause she says that it will make you feel like you have to pee, then she gave to me and i was then feeling under my bum to make sure i did not pee myself cause i thought for sure i did. =)

    • I had my hands up over my head at that point, so I couldn’t really move. It was a bizzare experience, though. 🙂

  9. Barium? isn’t the stuff that’ll make you shit white?

  10. I had to do a barium swallow to evaluate reflux severity; it was interesting to watch the fluoroscope. Yup, lying down, things will go right back through the esophagus if you have reflux, especially if you tighten the abominal muscles.

    Here’s hoping you’ve have some minor, easily & cheaply treatable problem.

  11. You’re lucky you reacted well to the IV contrast…. I very much did not. *Ow*.

    May all your test results be negative! (Unless it’s for something very minor and easily treatable.)

    • Ugh. Sorry to hear that.

      Results came back ok. The liver is a bit fatty, but there’s nothing really to be done about that other than continue to monitor it, apparently.

      • Glad you’re okay!

        In my case, the CT also came back clean; the endoscopy revealed this particular problem (ulcer).

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