Hello, sorry I’ve been a bit quiet recently. I’ve been both busy doing legal paperwork, which is now pretty much sorted, and coping with a bit of back/tummy pain which has had me reaching for the various pills and potions my lovely Consultant gave me on my last unscheduled visit a couple of weeks ago. (You know your health care professional understands you completely when upon hearing various symptoms over the phone only says sternly “You’d better pop in” when he hears “…and I’m completely off my Chablis.”)
He scheduled a CT scan for this week as well as the medication which knocks you out a bit and gives me strange dreams. So far I’ve swapped make up tips with Joan Rivers on a cruise and been spooked out by numerous haunted houses like some sort of Scooby Doo in a onesie. Any more opiates and I’ll have enough nocturnal experiences to try my hand at Romantic poetry. (Little joke there for students of Eng. Lit.)
So the CT scan. I’ve had 2 before when they were trying to work out what the heck was wrong with me before cancer was mentioned and I just had a huge mouse shaped lump on my left groin. I’d checked pants for rodents so thought it was time to call in the professionals. Not The Professionals which would have meant a curly haired thespian lovey type bloke and a short haired burly bloke commando rolling over a Ford Capri …I digress.
Anyway here are some Dos and Donts for your optimal CT scan experience.
1. Get there early. Not too early but give yourself 30 minutes before the appointment. This is because if they’re planning to use contrast (more about that later) you may need to drink a litre of water. If you’re fussy you may want to bring your own because otherwise it’s straight from the tap luke warm NHS water.
2. Now the fun bit. When your name is called the nurse will ask if you’re wearing any metal as this will have to be removed. Here’s my conversation:
Nurse: Wearing any metal?
Me: Dingly dangly earrings, a ring and my bra.
Nurse: The bra will have to come off but you can keep your earrings on.
Me: *tut and cheeky grin* sounds like every boyfriend I’ve ever had.
Nurse: stunned silence followed quickly by snort of laughter.
Remember, these people stick massive needles in you for a living. It’s probably best to keep them smiling.
3. After having removed said metal items and putting dress back on (this one is obviously for female patients only unless you’re really considering or have already made a life style choice gentlemen) enjoy the experience of waiting in a room with your fellow patients who are either pulling a face as they gulp down tepid water or pulling a different but not dissimilar face thinking “who told her she could get away without sturdy undergarments?”
4. Cannula time! Indicate the largest vein in your arm, look away and visit your “happy place” for a couple of minutes and hey presto you have a small plastic thing in your arm and the staff have something to bung iodine (that’s the contrast) in your blood system shortly.
5. Back to the waiting area. While away the minutes identifying people who haven’t had this procedure before by the way they look in horror at the cannula dangling from your arm.
6. You are called into a room with a sliding bed and a big polo mint shaped machine above it. Avoid embarrassment by getting on bed the right way round. A long telephone cord like tube is attached to the cannula and you’re told to keep still. The technicians will then explain that when the contrast is introduced there might be a “warming sensation”. How to put this delicately? It feels like you’ve wet yourself. Ready?
7. You’re left alone in the room and the bed slides into position. It’s not as noisy as an MRI nor as claustrophobic. Somewhere a button is pushed, you feel a slight stinging in your arm and then whoosh. Yep, it feels exactly like you’ve done a puddle. After the first time when you have proof that you haven’t you can sort of enjoy it. NB: Do not actually do a puddle, it’s antisocial and unhygienic. If you don’t get a cold, soggy sensation you’re probably safe.
8. That’s it really. After a short pause while they check they’ve got your best side and all the information they need you’re free to pop on the underthings that have been dangling from your handbag the entire time and, in my case, meet a waiting pal and go to the pub. Drink plenty of liquids to flush the iodine out. *Belushi look to camera*