Iodine

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Worst Test Ever

Published December 9, 2016 by helentastic67

worst-test-ever

Worst Test Ever

Ok, so there’s actually two tests/treatments I’ve experienced over the last 10 years and ironically, I’ve managed to have two of each. So, I might as well be on a roll and get them over and done with and write about them now. If you don’t do horror (I don’t) and you are squeamish you are excused and can skip them. But if you want reminding, you only have to read about it.

I actually had the procedures and was WIDE AWAKE for them.

Firstly, soon after diagnosis back in 2007, I saw my first Neuro-Surgeon who asked if I was claustrophobic. I am not, but I could later appreciate why he asked.

A test was scheduled to look more closely at the arteries in my brain. This procedure is called a Cerebral Angiogram.

3d-angiographic-imaging-1

My first recommendation if someone tells you, you have to have one, is the night before, get a snatch wax! No, really.

If your anti-razors or have a beautician who will be displeased by a razor on certain parts of your body. Go get waxed!

snatch-wax

Now this procedure, you are bare ass naked! (Just warning you) with only a gown on that for this occasion you put on open at the front. I found I was nervous so kept wanting to pee. When they wheel your bed into the room it feels like an operating room.

And the first thing that occurs to you is how crowed that room is. One or two people will talk directly to you. Don’t expect to remember anyone’s names.

Medical personal quickly take on nicknames in your head, such as ‘Hot Doctor’, ‘Old Doctor’, ‘Nice Nurse’ or ‘Chic, chic, chic, chic, guy, guy, guy!’ Why are there so many guys?

too-many-doctors

And a nurse comes over and produces a pink daisy razor. I looked at her and told her she wouldn’t need that. She lifted my gown & she told me they love girls like me! And her eyes darted around the room to all the other girls sharing a knowing look. I wonder if they bet on whether or not they have to shave the patient. A carefully folded face washer was strategically placed over my groin & I recall looking down thinking it hadn’t been very big to start with before it was folded.

I recall looking down to see what they do, until the needle came out. It was a local anesthetic and those needles really sting. Next came the scalpel and they made an incision at the top of my thigh (pretty much along the line where your underwear sits) for about an inch. I confess I looked down at this point because the ‘older’ doctor came over and started touching the skin around the incision. The question lingered in the air, “More anesthetic?” Oh my God he’s going to jab me again…….little did I realize that would not be the worst part…..

groin-management

 

Next, a wire was fed into the artery at the incision and while I didn’t feel anything there was a very weird sensation. Head back I was told to breathe deeply, I understand this is when the wire passed up through my heart. It then continued up into my head. Large plastic shower cap type things were placed over some square plastic plates that were moved close to several sides of my head and face. Very close this is when the claustrophobic query came to mind.

claustraphobic

The room seemed to clear and the young doctor started describing the next step. Words like “stay calm, warm, don’t move, and a weird taste in my mouth “and the understanding that they would do it as quickly as possible. FYI; How quickly they would perform the tests was not up to them at all but my ability to not move, freak out or anything else.

From behind a window off to one side a voice came to remind me to hold still. Next, No words! No words, can accurately describe the next part but I’ll try! Every known swear word comes to mind but I think I managed to only Yelp an “Ow!” (don’t know how) A burst of warm iodine, or contrast was released up into one artery then another into my brain. Each renewed the metallic taste in my mouth I could not get rid of. I’m certain it was not boiling but it felt like it, because it wouldn’t dissipate. The last burst out iodine (must have saved the best till last) was down the side of my jaw. It was even more unpleasant because the heat travels over your jaw and under your skin. You realise how there is not much else there but skin and bone. And you could not make it go away.

Imaging

And each release of the iodine showed up on the monitor that was above me suspended from the ceiling. Squiggly lines snaking across the image of my skull. I had the perfect line to give the doctor except they were all in the other room behind the safety-glass……..it went something like this “Someone should tell the guy in the next room he’s completely messed up!” When clearly it was me that had the seriously messed up arteries.

squiggly-lines-in-brain

Then, of course the monitor machine started beeping oddly and everyone that had returned to the room started moving more quickly. I was told my blood pressure had dropped and to breathe calmly. I don’t know, what else I was to do, I was also told I had to keep my head down and not to lift it.

The wire was removed and they moved me over to another trolley and into a small room. A guy pressed on the wound and started to count. He asked me a polite question and I’m sure he didn’t expect such a chatty response, but I must talk more with a guy putting pressure on an open artery near my groin. Must have been nervous and embarrassed. I’m sure he lost count and when he released the wound it continued to bleed. I had asked if they put a stitch in it? No? What about a bandaid? They told me it would ‘just close up’. Huh?

I as wheeled out to the room with lots of other people (recovery?) had, had other procedures. I just wanted to know when I could get up and pee? Hours, the answer was hours. Felt like a lifetime! To return my blood pressure to normal a drink and a sandwich were produced and I was expected to eat and drink without lifting my head. To be clear, I did. And then I threw up. And I had to lift in order to do this. This was also my first experience of the bedpan.  So, I will just say, bedpans, not invented for ladies peeing while lying down. I’ll spare you the details and just say, sheets were changed. I eventually got my bandaid after the wound was inspected a further 20 times. And of course, a group of young ‘student’ doctors came around also by which time I had an all-out migraine. Lots of stupid questions I did not need while trying not to lift my head or throw up asking what my symptoms were so I could explain how I knew it was a migraine. If you have not had the displeasure, you want to be left alone and in the quiet and dark. I had some tingling down my left arm. I’m sure they gave me something after this and left me alone because I couldn’t stop vomiting.

I was kept on the ward overnight. Where even more young doctors visited to quiz me. Super! One guy I gave him so much cheek when he told me he once misplaced his car I told him he didn’t deserve his car and he should handover his keys. My hand was out and he didn’t know how to respond. I did not leave the hospital with a car, just saying.

medical-students

The second time I had an Angio, because you know there was. Considering how unpleasant it was, it went a little better.

When I had my meeting with my radiologist I told him, “Just promise me I will never have to have another Angio, because it really did seem the worst thing ever. He looked uncomfortable and I’m certain my mum grumbled I couldn’t ask that. Like hell I couldn’t, I’d been the one who had had one not her. “Just lie to me, it’s fine!” And he did.

Eventually, when it was time to have that next Angiogram to confirm my treatment had done its job and I didn’t require any more he broke the news, “we need to have a conversation about that test you don’t like”. And there is no point fighting it, you have another Angiogram. The second time was better. I was at a different hospital and knowing what to expect makes it much better. Secondly, and this is my next bit of advice, when they come over to you and offer you drugs? Take it! I was given a ‘mild sedative’ and as I had had an allergic reaction to the iodine I was given something for that too. But this time, I came up with the description that it felt like I was being punched in the head but from the inside! And I’ve never been punched in the head at all, and I’m not complaining about that.

pain-killers

Lastly, I would love it if every young doctor had to experience that procedure, that is so intensely distasteful as it is.

 

Music To My Ears

Published December 5, 2016 by helentastic67

music-to-my-ears

Music to My Ears

Oh minimalist industrial German techno! It’s been so long. I had an MRI (Magnetic Resonating Imaging) yesterday and that is the best way I’ve heard the noise made by the MRI machine, so that how I’ve described it ever since.

mri-scan-room

The specialist appointment I had several weeks ago now was supposed to result in an MRI but, best laid plans and all that! But my regular monthly appointment with my GP Dr Chris last Tuesday sorted it out in only 6 days.

My GP is a genius, more about him another day, but in the meantime, I thought I’d give a little ‘non-doctor’ advice about what to expect when you go for tests like an MRI.

Mostly, I’ve had a few in the last 10 years so my response is very ‘Meh!’ (Shrugs) Whatever: Next!

But for me, I know what to expect, so on a very rare occasion someone I know tells me they are going for a test or procedure that I’m the person to explain what’s going to happen and what to expect. Sometimes, knowing helps relieve the anxiety. So, I think my next few posts will be about that!

Here’s what to expect for an MRI.

It gives more detail than a CT scan, but I won’t elaborate because I don’t speak enough “DOCTOR!”

The first part is pre-planning, you get this part right, it’s a whole lot easier when you get there.

Take out your piercings (don’t argue, just do it) I have 3 piercings in my ears. That’s it! And I wear a light chain around my neck.

Don’t wear any metal objects. I live in tracksuit pants these days. NOT daggy ones, but not dry-clean only either.

Yesterday, I filled in 4 pages of questionnaire. The barrage of questions is intense.

It’s a bit of a tick and flick affair. Even for me things like, any pacemakers, stents? Surgeries? Is there any chance you could be pregnant? Um? If I had a dollar for every time I’d been asked that in the last 10 years and are you breast feeding? I hope you have all read my profile stating I’m a single celibate barren spinster? Well, that’s the answer for that one! Tattoos? I don’t have tattoos so I don’t know what that would do for the people covered in them. I like a good tattoo. I always meant to get one, just didn’t yet?

barren-spinster-bitch-with-cats

So generally. You go in, change your top half of clothing and put on a gown and then you usually lie down on a bed that is slightly curved to fit your body. It’s quite comfortable. Your head sits between a slightly raised frames. They give you a squeezy thing that is like an emergency button, so you can tell them if you need stuff. (Not like a cup of tea, but if you don’t feel well or can’t cope)

positioned-in-mri

Love it when this bubble-thing that is offered to my left hand because that hand is going to do big fat nothing! Yes it happens! If they offer you a blanket, take it! They will give you some ear plugs (foam disposables) and wedge some bits of foam near your ears so your head won’t move.

Usually a plastic foam is pushed down over the top and if you’re lucky there is music. (Besides the minimalist German Industrial Techno) and above your face inside the MRI machine, sometimes theirs a mirror so you can see a clock or timer down on the wall beyond your feet.

Sometimes it’s just nice to have something to focus on.

If you’re especially lucky they will talk to you throughout the scans. It might only take 15 – 20 minutes but each scan might only be 4 minutes long. If they give you warning be sure to swallow. Makes you self-conscious that if and when you swallow your head will move. I can guarantee you during that 20 minutes you will get an itch somewhere and a hiccup or an itchy throat. It’s Murphy’s Law.

Don’t get grumpy if you have a set appointment time for your MRI and then find yourself waiting. Some people may be anxious or claustrophobic or have an epileptic fit and they have to come out to calm down before returning to their scans.

Be patient! All I’m saying.

Afterwards, you will get back into your clothes and maybe wait 5 – 10 minutes before departing. Some places will hand you a CD of your scans. Only Doctors have the software to see the scans and your referring doctor will get the results.

Sometimes, if they need to see your arteries they will inject you with a small amount of iodine or contrast. (Without getting too “Doctor”)

This is often injected into the back of your hand or inside your elbow.

The iodine some people can have an allergic reaction to. My experiences have been that other scans (yet to react) I’ve felt nausea and vomiting but small doses it’s OK.

One miraculous sensation is a nice warm flush that travels to your groin. Super! Kinda has that sensation you may have “pee’d” (just a little). Don’t worry, everybody feels that sensation. The best comment from a technician was that ‘no one in his experience has actively “pee’d”. That technician has been working at the same place for 20 years. So I trust his judgement.

The iodine or contrast usually absorbs into your system very quickly, so you needn’t panic. It’s good to drink a little water before you leave and that it’s nothing to freak out about…. Yet!!!

iodine-glow

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