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It's Tuesday and i had a CAT Scan...

Some things you can predict and get a mindset for it.  i'm not sure i could have predicted going to Addenbrookes for a CAT scan on my heart.  They leave the A out now on paper but it's still called a CAT scan.

Oh, i knew i was going in December and knew the principle of it from having seen scans on heads and bodies and seen those nifty pictures of your insides, slice by slice through photographs or rather x-rays, sorta... computer imagining nowadays.   Never thought i'd have someone taking pictures of my heart is all.  You learn something new every day, folks!

i had some minutes to wait in the inevitable waiting room all these departments have, having checked in at the Reception area.  But i was prepared and had brought one of my library books - Monty & Sarah Don's 'The Jewelled Garden'.   Looking back, a book on depression and gardening might not seem an ideal book to read in a hospital waiting room but it's the one i'm reading.  :)

But inevitably it gets round to your turn and the nurse collects you and escorts you down.  You strip off top half and have one of those hospital gowns that rarely cover all of you - they politely leave the room and knock before coming back in, so sweet.  You lie down on the bed that is attached to the machine.  It's narrower than a hospital bed and you have nowhere to put your arms [what a surprise], other than cross them over your body or in this case, raise them above your head, out of the way.

Before you do that though, they take your blood pressure so they can monitor it during the procedure and attach leads over your collarbones and on the sides of your body on level with your heart.  A plastic tube is inserted into a vein [errgh!], unpleasant but of short duration and the nurse chats away telling you what comes next - doctor will be in shortly to administer a beta blocker to slow your heart to a safe level and administer something of the same through the tube.  This doctor duly appeared, introduced herself 'rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb' - i defy anyone to remember that bit!  i was trying to focus on her through my bifocals and getting the weirdest split vision and opted to do without my glasses for the duration, didn't need to see anyway.
The nurse and doctor both take you through a series of questions - any allergies, what drugs are you on, do you suffer from asthma, foaming at the mouth or mad cow disease...  No, but she explained how you may feel drowsy and that you will feel flashes of heat during the procedure - she didn't say it would start at your head and flash down to your intensely private bits!  Quite an odd sensation!  She did say there would be no after effects and i would be good to go pretty much immediately after we finished.

i had a good look at the machine while i was waiting for them to rejoin me when i had changed and it was a big round doughnut ring, with an open back, so the bed could pass inside it.  Neither of them asked me if i suffered from claustaphobia, which i found interesting, especially as i do a bit.  i won't start yelling 'let me out' or anything, but it's like small lifts and crawling into small spaces - i'd rather not.  i have done both but i won't do it again if i have a choice.   Anyway, the doctor then administed the beta blocker etc and retired smartly.

There were two/three operatives behind a window, working the machine [like when you have an x-ray] and giving you instructions, via a microphone inside the machine.   The bed moved smoothly into the doughnut and lights started flashing in a circle around you, getting faster and faster.  The sound of the machine picked up at the same time, until it was humming deeply to itself and the lights were racing in partnership - very deep space!  i find the regular sounds of machines quite soothing actually, as long as it isn't a shrill noise, and i quite enjoyed that bit.   A disembodied Voice told me to 'breath in, breath out, breath in again - and hold it' - for what seemed quite a long time, until the Voice said 'okay, breath normally'.  i managed it okay but i do have good lungs.  i had a 'drug' taste in my mouth about this time and the first quick hot flash and was forced to smile at the latter's effects.
The machine moved me further in and we went through the same thing, 'breath in, breath out, breath in again and hold it' - and i had a second hot flash, more intense than the first.  Madam Hot Twat...  :)

i became aware that the back of my neck wasn't supported on their horrible little pillows properly and i was getting a nasty little headache as well.   The machine moved me back to the entrance again and not long after, the nurse arrived as i was smoothly moved outside the doughnut again.  She removed the leads but left in the tube, in case we needed to do some more.   i had to use her arm to sit up as i found it almost impossible to do on my own.  Apart from that, it wasn't a traumatic experience or deeply unpleasant.  Some slight discomfort and not something you'd want to repeat on a regular basis, as in my case i HATE needles.  i wore a short sleeved top but left off my cardy, too awkward with the tube still in.  It was quite warm enough anyway, they always are.

i sat in the side waiting room and drank some water, while they checked over the stuff they'd done.  Then the nurse came out and took me to a side area to remove the tube - that was okay but she would insist on pressing both her thumbs over my vein until it stopped bleeding completely, now that was unpleasant and i had visions of massive bruises [luckily none so far].  i eventually said conversationally, 'OW', when i'd had enough of that and she had a quick look.  Yes, no blood - but she still made me flex my fist and my arm before she put a dressing on it and let me go.   Enough already...   A quick visit to the loo and i headed back out to catch the bus.

i did some quick shopping on the way home and was ready for a cuppa and some lunch by the time i got home.  i nearly always watch TV while i eat and i was in time to catch the Actor's Studio, which i try to catch everyday if i can, depending on who the actor is of course.  Today, it was Michael J Fox and listening to him talk about Parkinsons put my little trip into perspective, if i had been even half way inclined to feel - what?  i'm not sure i was feeling 'anything' like that but it did remind me, yet again, so many people are worse off than i and bear their troubles with a lot more dignity.  i found him a modestly self-effacing man when he announced it in 1999 and he is just the same today.  The title of his autobiography says it all 'A Lucky Man' and he is worthy of our admiration in many ways - not just for his MJF Foundation to research Parkinsons but that he has raised 15 million dollars for it so far. 

i was quite tired and after that, i kept drifting off.  i should have been reading some papers for a meeting tomorrow but i have been curiously lacking in concentration and as evidenced by this post - and various emails i've written this evening.  i still haven't got down to it and i will have to read them tomorrow morning now as it is nearly 10 past one in the blessed AM already.  *sighs*

so i will add a little poem i saw and liked and go to bed. 

"Shed no tear - O, shed no tear!
The flower will bloom another year.
Weep no more - O, weep no more!
Young buds sleep in the root's white core"
John Keats

i must find who took the Stonehenge pic but the bluebells are Keith Laban

Night, guys!


Jan. 20th, 2010 10:26 am (UTC)
Cracking post, very explanatory and funny. I need to get all stiff upper lippy like you! I think this is what my sister had and they gave her a hand thingy to ring if she had a panic. I am praying to God I never have to have this done, I don't think I could face it. I'm not so bad with needles and stuff though they are nasty but the rest of it. Agh. No. I was supposed to be at Cardio again today, but am too crook with chesty cough/cold thing to go anywhere. :( Is the book any good? I have it on my 'to get' list. I have his other and very much enjoyed it. :) I don't think I thanked you for that other book on Mormons. I enjoyed that too, a real eye opener. I'm putting books I've read on my LJ this year, so if you see any you fancy, give us the nod and I'll post...
Jan. 20th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)
It is amazing what you can actually do when it comes down to it, dear Ditto and there was a man on TV last night? who carted around a little backpack with his respirator/oxygen in it and said, 'You'll do anything if you can't breath'. i think it applies to everything bad that happens to us.

Yes, the book is worth reading. The Mormon book cost me the aquaintanceship of a Morman James fan regretfully as she felt my comments were anti-Morman and de-Friended me in an eye-blink - saying as she did so, that she really didn't like some of my posts anyway! i think this was the straw that broke her religious back. i had her email luckily and tried to explain that i wasn't anti-them so much as anti-all religions and only really interested in the book because it was a crime thriller set in an unusual place. i think i explained it was nothing personal and tried repaired bridges enough so that if we ever meet again, we'll nod and be civil but she won't ever Friend me again here.

That's why i loath religion. If you don't belong to something, they all try and convert you and it colours everything in their lives. i think they are hipocrites as most of them only practice the bits they want to anyway and to hell with the rest! And more people have been murdered in the name of religion than any other.

If you are really interested in books, check this LJ out 'Bookshare' - i have picked up a lot of new authors that way. i have managed to read a lot of them in my local library too, so i don't have to buy most of them. i only pick up those i'm REALLY interested in and can pick up cheaply on Amazon [or Ebay]. My next one is the 'Life of Pi' - i have six out from the library at the moment! i have the second [the Girl who played with Fire] in the 'Girl with Dragon Tattoo' series [a bit grim & horrifying but fascinating], 'Notes to my mother in law' by Phyllida Law [i loved it!], 'Knife' and 'The City of Dreaming Books'.
take care,