I went for my CAT Scan. The procedure was fairly straightforward. Vanessa did my intake and she was bubbly and cheerful (She's going on a cruise in 5 months, she just found out she can go for $100 dollars less than she thought, and she gets to meet people like me--what's not to be cheerful about?). She gave me the requisite forms, which I filled out and corrected. As a former teacher, it disturbs me to go to the office of professionals and receive documents with typographical errors, so I always make the corrections in the hopes that someone will 1) notice 2) care and 3) make the changes. I handed them back and went in to get my IV.
Nobody likes needles. I like them less than most. At least, I used to like them less than most people. One of the byproducts of being poked, pricked and prodded is that I have lost the fear I used to have of needles. It probably helps to have professionals who hit the vein every time, but I just don't fear them like I once did. Vanessa brought out the needle and the tourniquet, tied my arm off, inserted the needle into the vein in one professional stab and set up the tube for an IV drip.
The needle was a different system than I had seen before. They inserted the needle, then slipped it out and a flexible plastic tube remained in my arm. This enables the IV to move around without snapping the needle off in my arm while I move around in the CAT Scan.
Next, I went into the CAT Scan room, where Stephanie was waiting. She was a charming, attractive woman with a warm demeanor and a nice laugh; I like her immediately (Note to single guys--while I don't recommend testicular cancer as a way to meet women, I have noticed A LOT of pretty, single women in the health field. Bonus: they're extremely smart, too!). Then, she asked me to drop the trousers to my knees (one more thing that no longer makes me nervous at all), get up on a table and lie down. The table was in front of a large, 8 foot machine that looks like a doughnut. I quickly deduced they would raise (high the table, Carpenters...20 extra credit points if you can name the reference) and feed me through the hole in the doughnut.
First, they did, indeed, raise me up and feed me through the hole. Stephanie took a series of images with no IV drip in my arm. I was asked to inhale, hold my breath and wait while the machine operated. The breath holds lasted for periods between 5 seconds and 35 seconds. The machine whirred to life, and a little disc spun on the inside of the doughnut, taking the pictures.
When she came back in to the room, Stephanie told me she and Vanessa were cracking up that I made corrections on the forms in the waiting room of the office. She also appreciated the corrections, and said she will work to make sure they are made. I like her even more.
Second, she pulled me out of the hole, then inserted my IV and began the process again. The IV dripped Barium into my system, a dye that filled in around my organs, allowing the machine to take pictures of the areas of contrast where the dye did and did not not fill in. I felt warm and fuzzy all over, a very comfortable feeling. I got put into the chamber and was again asked to hold my breath for various lengths of time, this time between 5 seconds and almost a minute.
Then, it was over. Stephanie came back in, told me I was done and that she will forward the results to Dr. Wenger's office, which works because I am due for an appointment there in a week and a half. Hopefully, my results will be more conclusive that this:
She also said she was impressed I was able to hold my breath for the entire period of the longer scans. One more advantage of being in good shape.
Interestingly, there seems to be no shortage of CAT Scan humor (humour to my International friends). Perhaps THIS and THIS are examples of why Vanessa and Stephanie were in such a good mood.