Saturday, December 20, 2008

CT Scan and Echo

Spent the morning choking down two bottles of Barium Sulfate in preparation for my "throat to knees" CT scan to help determine my stage. I wouldn't want to drink that everyday. many of these new experiences will be met with the comment may onc made when I asked how bad the bone marrow biopsy would be. He said, "I've had two and it isn't unbearable but I wouldn't want to do it very often." Most painful experiences can fall into this category. Ask most women with children immediately after giving birth and they would probably say they never want to go through it again and yet they do.
Back to our story...we had a terrible snow storm so I was one of the brave few on the road. The fairly new Tahoe (Big Red), despite being the least fuel efficient car we could have selected in this day and age, eats through the deep snow like no one's business; a beast. Made it to the hospital with plenty of time to spare. I was escorted to the CT room, fitted with yet another IV and pumped full of additional contrast material. When i looked at the bottle hanging on the machine, I thought, they aren't putting that whole bottle in...the tech was clever enough to warn me that the contrast would make me feel warm all over and that the warm sensation in my nether region was not due to a loss of bladder control. This was helpful advice as the tip of my nose to my ankles were suddenly flush with heat. A couple of "hold your breaths" later and I was done.
Now off to the heart center for an echo.
This test was more confusing because you have to orient yourself to the "fan" of the scope as opposed to the traditional cross-section view. I asked the tech to look for plaque build up so we could kill two birds with one stone. The valves seemed to be functioning normally and the coolest view was the blood flow. They actually show the blue blood and red blood flowing through the heart valves. Love that visualization technology. After the procedure, we discussed the strength children seem to have after surviving life threatening illnesses. they seem to come through the other side with such wisdom...The tech mentioned that her most difficult echos involve teenagers and young adults who have destroyed their hearts from drug use. Amazing.

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