Friday, June 17, 2011

Radiate Me!

Early start to the day
Heading to the hospital

Today was the big testing day.  I was instructed to be at the hospital at 6:45 am to get all checked in at the Radiology department. 

Radiology department
Yet another waiting room!

First up for tests was a chest x-ray.  The nurses were nice enough to snap a couple of pictures of me getting the x-rays done.  For the x-ray I was posed in two different positions; a front view and a side view.  This was to check to make sure everything looked clear and good in my chest/lung area.  From gowning up to completion this took about two minutes.  Easy test!

Getting my chest x-ray
Side shot

Next on the agenda was my CT abdominal angiogram. I had an angiogram done about 10 years ago for my pancreas, so I kind of remembered what to expect, but I did have a feeling of anticipation about experiencing the icky feelings again.  If you have never had an angiogram I will explain.  You first get put through the CT scan machine several times to take pictures of your insides.  A recorded voice tells you when to take a breath and hold it, and when to release it.  The images are taken by a whirring, quickly revolving scanner that rotates around you as you go through the tube. 

Once that was done the nurse came back into the room and inserted an IV into my right arm.  Then my arms are put over my head and some chilly saline is shot into my body to test that the IV is working correctly.  Then the nurse leaves the room and a dye is injected through the IV.  The dye had to be shot very quickly through since this is a test that relies on speed for accurate results, so the impact of the dye is intense and immediate.  It is iodine based and causes your body to feel very warm from the inside out and makes you tingly.  For me it also made me very dizzy... the same way I feel right before I am about to pass out.  The warm (or rather HOT!) feeling started at my shoulder, shot through my throat and then immediately went to my groin.  It literally felt like I had wet my pants... which the nurse warned me about... but not to worry, it just feels that way, it does not actually  happen.  While this is happening the CT machine has started again and more pictures are taken.  The entire process - from the dye being injected to the completion is less than three minutes.  And the icky feeling is pretty short too.  By the time the nurse came back in the room to remove the IV I already felt better.
CT Scan Machine
In I go!

View from the top
Coming through!

Then the nurse was nice enough to let me come back into the room she was in and to view my kidneys on the computer screen.  Yup, I have two of them!  And all looks well!  Next off to get my EKG done.

My kidneys!

EKG...wired up!

I checked into the Cardio Eval department and then followed the nurse back into an exam room to get my EKG.  I have never had an EKG done before, and my only experience with them has been seeing the test done in movies.  To my surprise they no longer use the suction cups that I was used to seeing, instead they were small sticky tabs that they attached the alligator clips and wires to.  I had 10 wires attached to my chest and stomach, and then thirty seconds later the test was done.  The nurse handed me my EKG reading and snapped a picture.  She said everything looked great!

So the next step was to head down to the lab to get my next round of blood draws done.  This was going to be the biggie where they collected about a billion vials of blood.  When I checked into the lab I was told that unfortunately I had to come back Monday, as the 24 hour shipping requirement for my HLA tests could not be done on a Friday.  So they handed over my pee jug (for round two of collecting) and said "See ya Monday!"

So I'm almost there... the finish line is in sight...


  1. Sound like all is going well and looking good. That is Wonderful ! This continues to be a journey that is inspiring to watch and has such a hopeful and amazing destination. Roxanne

  2. That heat-dye-wet-pants feeling is a rush. no body warned me in advance. ;~.)