First day….. imaging and…TATTOOS!

[Note: This was originally published on Tuesday, March 29, 2011]

It’s like a play and this is a dress rehearsal. Players in position. Loyal friend Traci on guard in waiting room, wearing that big “don’t worry it’ll all be fine” look on her face.
Patient (me) obediently following instructions,quiet and subdued demeanor.
Nurses, Yolanda and Don…upbeat and chatty.
First problem, cannot find vein in arm that wants to cooperate. Try again, and again and “Just one more time Tina…Got it”
Lie on stomach, arms stretched forward as if about to fly, superman style through the big white donut.
Music,cameras,action (literally, I listened to Fleetwood Mac and they watch me on camera from outside)
Keep perfectly still. Yoland and Don leave room and the machine starts whirring….STOP! something is wrong.
Nurses enter “When did you drink the barium contrast?”
“Er what barium contrast?”
OK, so I stay in my superman pose and drink down the icky stuff through a bendy straw. Now I have to wait frozen (the don’t move a muscule type of frozen) in the donut for the contrast to work it’s way through. Probably didn’t help that I had just had a big bowl of pho before coming in.
I loose track of time, even drift off for a minute or two. Arms have lost feeling at this point, don’t know how Superman did it.
Finally, they decide to slide me out and roll me onto my side. After 10 minutes of this there is much giggling to line me up exactly as I was before with those lazer lines from the Tom Cruise movie Mission impossible. I’m beginning to think that’s the name of this production.
Hook up IV into previously uncooprative vein (for iodine contrast after first scan is compleat, and we’re off!
That is until it’s time for the iodine to go into my vein…it doesn’t. It floods into my arm instead. Don comes rushing in “OOh does that burn?”
Damn right it burns “Can you just pull the bugger out please?”
“Don’t worry the nurse is on the way”
Wait a minute I thought you were a nurse!
Two real nurses come to my aid and pull the IV out. Good grief!
Large bags of ice are placed on my swelling arm and I am told I cannot leave the hospital for two hours. I guess this is in case my arm explodes.
Tattoos are done and I think I now have a tramp stamp.
Finally I am reunited with a very worried looking Traci.
I manage to walk to the ferry, half undressed, balancing a large bag of ice on my tree trunk of an arm, which, by the way I am told to keep elevated above my heart. You do the math, this is not easy when walking down the very steep Madison Ave to Colman dock.
The needle wielding Yolana was nowhere to be seen, I think she may have been crying in the broom closet.
So, what did I learn from this experience…..Not everything goes as planned and you’ve got to grit your teeth and move forward. Hope my next visit goes more smoothly.