Well, I say ‘wasted’ but I suppose that’s an exaggeration of sorts. It’s not really wasted if they figure out what’s wrong.
Possibly in the realm of TMI, I felt it was still necessary to explain what’s going on for the curious and the rubber necker. A couple months ago, my friend Andi went into the hospital to have her gallbladder removed. During her stay in the hospital, my own right side started acting, well – weird. I could feel pressure there, almost like someone was pushing on me. It’s an odd sensation. It doesn’t hurt, it’s simply there. I joked with the nurses at the hospital that I was having ‘sympathy gallbladder pains’.
Occasionally, it can be uncomfortable. Again, not painful, just uncomfortable. If I sit a certain way or lay on my side, I become very aware of it and soon have to readjust my position.
Doggedly unwilling to go to a doctor unless it’s already too late and there’s some sort of unbearable pain involved (I know, I know – I’m working on it – all right?), I let it go until I mentioned it to my mom who, like a hawk who had caught sight of a mouse far beneath her in the underbrush – attacked. The end result of that conversation was that I really needed to not let these things go, get over myself, and have a doctor take a look and see what was what.
So, I called my doctor and made an appointment.
I like my doctor. John Knight. He’s cool. We chat about Apple and technology and my writing every time I go in. I think I detailed the last visit elsewhere, so I won’t do it again except to say that he couldn’t find anything wrong with me through a ‘regular’ exam – mostly him pushing and prodding my side and looking for signs of tenderness or pain, which there were none of. So he took some blood and said, “We can take the next step if you want or, since it’s not causing any pain, we can just skip it and you live with it til another symptom shows up.” Like pain. Remembering that hawk with the mouse I decided to go ahead and take the next step, which was an ultrasound.
This is where they take the thingy and they squirt the stuff and then they run the thingy and you get black and white Rorschach looking splotches that are supposed to be stuff. Parents to show em to people and say, “Here – see? That’s my kid!” I have to admit, I can never see anything in those. They’re like those hidden image posters that were so popular in the 90’s – I just don’t see anything in em. Well, mostly. Certain ones I never had any problems with but others I saw nothing at all.
Which brings me to a funny side note story – I once bought one of those for my cousin, who absolutely loved those images. Only this one was left intentionally devoid of anything hidden. It was, in short, a joke. No hidden image whatsoever. Everyone was in on it. We all talked about what we saw in the image while she stared, furiously, at the poster as if to will herself into seeing something. I finally let her in on the joke. She was pissed, but she laughed.
Anyway, ultrasound came back negatory on anything screaming out ‘OH, HEY! WERE YOU LOOKING FOR ME? YEAH – I’M CAUSING ALL THE WEIRD PRESSURE IN PATRICK’S SIDE – SORRY ABOUT THAT – MY BAD!’. Blood work was the same – no culprits. Which put me back at, “We can take the next step if you want or, since it’s not causing any pain, we can just skip it and you live with it til another sympton shows up.”
I opted for the next step, which was the CT Scan today. Let me break this down for you:
7:45 check in. I get there, the place is pretty busy, which kinda surprised me. Lot’s of people filling out paperwork or waiting in the waiting room. This is ‘health imaging’, so that’s pretty much all they do – ultrasounds, CT scans, MRI’s. Business must be booming. Around 8:15, all my paperwork done and my copay paid, they sit me down with orange tang. “I’ve got some tang for you,” said the lady. Flashbacks to ‘That 70’s Show’ skittered across my brain with Mrs. Foreman shouting at the boys, “What’s so funny? Growing boys need tang!”
In this case, the tang was laced with an oral contrast solution. “We need you to drink this as quickly as possible. In less than ten minutes if you can manage it.” It was a decent sized thingy of tang. I nodded then proceeded to drink it as quickly as possible. Oy. It tasted terrible. I don’t care what they say, lacing orange tang with contrast solution does NOT make the orange tang taste any better…
“We have to let that go through your system – it’ll take about an hour and then we’ll call you back for the CT scan.”
Okay. So I sit. And I wait. And I try to ignore the vapid excuse for national news playing on the tv in the corner. I have never understood the appeal of the ‘Today’ show or any of it’s counterparts. Let’s dumb everything down and teach you to cook all in one segment! Bleh. Spare me. Lucky for me I have my iPhone so I start cruising the web and tweeting and checking facebook, which I rarely do. The hour mark comes and goes and eventually, someone does come to get me.
“We’re sorry, but our IV injector for the contrast solution isn’t working, so we’re not going to be able to do this today.”
“We could send you to one of our sister facilities?”
Oh. Okay – yeah, that’ll work. At least all of this won’t be for nothing.
“We need to get you over there fast though, so you won’t have to drink more contrast.”
Ugh. Please, yes – let’s make it fast.
So they send me to their sister facility which is about 15 minutes away in a loopy part of town with streets that loop back and forth and circle around – I hate it. There’s a great restaurant over there that I never go to anymore because of all the crap involved in getting to it. Anyway, I show up there and they are mostly ready for me.
My clothes must go, so into scrubs I jump. Then I’m lying flat on a bed/board with my legs crooked on a traingle pillow thing and my arms above my head, one with an IV in it. Back and forth, the bed moved through the machine, telling me to breathe or not breathe or hold my breath or not hold my breath. The technician warns me that I’m about to feel very warm – that’s the IV contrast stuff and boy was he right. Felt like I suddenly had a fever. Very odd sensation. More moving back and forth, the machine telling me when I could and couldn’t breathe.
Then it’s over. I’m taken back to the room where I changed so I can change back and I’m told to hang out there til the technician omes back for me. I look at my iPhone – 10:45. I take a chair and I wait.
I’m in a little cubby off the main drag of the place. There’s a changing room with a shelf full of scrubs for patients, lockers for your clothes, a bathroom and a couple of chairs. I’m back on my phone now, waiting. And waiting. And waiting. I see the technician now and again in the hall, but he doesn’t come my way. Another lady sitting there fro before I got back, has another tech walk up and hand her some paperwork and a disc. ‘Okay’, I think. ‘That must be what I’m waiting for. Interesting.’
So I go back to messing around on the phone. Getting thirsty, wishing I had some water or something. Plenty of stuff out in the main waiting room, but nothing here in the cubby. Staring at the painting across the way. Some abstract scene. Doesn’t make any sense to me. And I’m waiting… Look at my phone – 11 am. Okay – dude, wtf?
I look out in the hall and there’s no one around. On the table next to my chair, there’s a customer survey phone. It has the phone number for this place on it. I call it.
“Hi! I’m sitting back here in this little cubby waiting on the technician who did my CT scan… Do you know if he’s ever coming back or will archeologists uncover my bleached bones a thousand years in the future?”
She puts me on hold. Comes back a second later, “Someone is coming for you.” An image of Stormtroopers stomping down the hall with their blasters drawn flashes across my brain and then retreats again back into the closet where I keep my geekdom when I’m talking to the straights.
My technician, looking very flustered, comes running down the hall. He’s incredibly embarased and explains that, no, I’m not getting any paperwork or a disc and that he totally forgot that I was there and is really,really sorry – they gave him another patient and then this happened and this happened and… D’oh. My doctor will be contacting me once he’s gone over the results blah blah have a nice day here’s the door againsosorryforforgettingyoupleasedon’tsueus…
Thirsty as I am, I completely forget all the free stuff in the waiting room as I make my way back to my car, quite amused by the whole situation. I could’ve been pissed but, seriously, why? Mistakes happen. No reason to bust the guys balls over it. As late as I am for work, I decide to hit a drive through on the way home to change ( I was in blue jeans and a T, work is slacks and a collared shirt ). I eat quickly and head into work.
Again, I won’t know anything for a couple days. If this doesn’t turn up a reason, I will probably go back to ignoring it as best I can until something screams out to me, “HEY! HEY THERE! IT’S ME! I’M THE ONE CAUSING THE PRESSURE! SORRY! DUDE, MY BAD!”