Yesterday I had the pleasure (read: discomfort) of a CAT scan on my noggin. As an extra added bonus, I got to have “contrast dye” injected into me so that they’d have a better view. The technician was preparing the IV for me and checked my right arm, and then my left arm, and then asked if I usually get my IV’s in my hand. “Usually? Usually I don’t get an IV at all. It’s not like an everyday thing for me.”
She ended up putting the needle in my left hand while regaling me with stories of the three times she’s accidentally hit an artery instead of a vein, and what an incredible mess that makes. I considered that while she continued to search for the right spot, and was glad that I was wearing all black; it would be less of a laundry challenge if she should accidentally tap her fourth artery. She managed to stick me in a vein after all, and then she gave me a pep talk. “When we inject the dye you might feel a little warm or flushed, and some people feel like they just peed their pants. But don’t worry; you didn’t.”
Peed my pants? Why in the world would some dye make me feel like I was urinating? That didn’t make any sense to me, so I casually “Hmmph’d” at her advice as she left the room to start up the machine.
There was a slight delay as the scanner had a few hiccups getting started. I slid into the machine… and out…. and in… and out… like, um… well…. My kids read this blog so I’ll just leave it to your imagination what simile I was envisioning there.
Finally she got it going and the machine started whirring and spinning. Over a microphone she told me, “OK, we’re going to inject the dye now.”
I felt a pain in my hand and arm as the dye started travelling in my blood stream, and then the warm, flushed feeling she had warned me about. I stayed focused on not moving and breathing shallow and even breaths… and then I gasped! It totally felt like I had just peed, so much so that, as unobtrusively as possible, I reached my right hand over my crotch and felt to make sure there wasn’t any embarrassing moisture soaking my pants. I guess I wasn’t as nonchalant as I had thought, as over the microphone she said, “You’re OK. Just don’t move, please.”
A minute or two later and the machine spooled down and it was all over. She removed the IV and walked me down the hall to the elevators, which helped me avoid becoming trapped in the confusing maze that is the second floor of the hospital. As we walked, she asked me what the doctor was looking for in the scan. As I gave her the three options that he had told me (Read: “Oral Exam”), I was carefully monitoring her facial expressions for any indication that she had the inside scoop on my condition. “He said it could be A. a salivary stone, B. a ranula, or C. a tumor. I’m rooting for A or B,” I said.
“Or if it’s a tumor it could be benign!” she said with an overly cheerful smile coupled with a furrowed brow. It’s the same smile that people use when they say, “I’m sorry your dog died, but you could always get another one, right?” Not the most encouraging thing she could have said, given the fact that I was desperately trying to read her mind to get a preview to my diagnosis.