Friday, May 21, 2010

#167: PET friendly

Getting a PET scan is an intense experience. The facility is in a separate building from the rest of the hospital. They use a lot of radioactive whachamacallits in there. I sat with a nurse and recited my medical history one more time. This is sort of the hospital version of "What's your major?" They have your history in the computer, but they ask you all the same questions over and over so they can get to know you. It's OK. I love talking about myself.

A lady in scrubs with a clipboard came into the room and told me it was time to go to the scanner. Mrs. P asked if she could come along, but they told her "No". Radiation.. Scrub Lady led me out the front door and around the building to a large trailer that was parked in the lot. We stepped onto a lift gate, like the one on a delivery truck, and were raised up to a rolling steel door. I was starting to feel like Maxwell Smart.

A second tech was inside. She answered our buzz by raising the door and letting us in. The door rumbled back down behind us. The place was lovely. Carefully designed lighting fixtures. Well crafted cabinets and molding. A small side room with a comfortable recliner for me to sit in.

While Scrub Lady put an IV in my arm, the second tech put on a face shield and gloves - sort of like Homer Simpson's opening credits outfit. She opened a small metal canister and removed a vial. I was relieved to see that it did not glow. Smiling, she injected the mystery isotope into my IV line and they shut me in my cubical. I noticed that the steel door was about three inches thick with a small heavy glass window.I could have been in any medical office in the world. Or a CIA interrogation room.

I had to wait for about half an hour in the silent glow of the MR-16 lamps hanging from the ceiling. I breathed slowly, trying to relax. When I closed my eyes, I could hear muffled conversation through the door. From my chair, I could see the door of the treatment room at the other end of the trailer. After a few minutes, both techs rose and went into that room. I saw a young woman coming out. She had a red bandanna on her head, and her face was gray and tired. She smiled and laughed for a moment with the attendants, then Scrub Lady pushed the button and the great steel door rolled up. The two of them left gingerly.

The second tech opened my door and said it was time. We walked through the windowless work area into the treatment room. A PET scan looks a lot like a CT scan. It's a big white donut with a table that slides you through the hole. I had to remove my watch, my metal ID necklace and belt, then my jeans (rivets, you know). She had me lie down on the table and covered me with a sheet. I found a comfortable position and she told me to lie still for the next twenty minutes. The donut started whirring and the table started sliding. I thought about the woman in the bandanna. Would that be me in a few weeks? How long had she been sick? Was she going to live? Her cheerful spirit was evident, but so was the toll that the disease had taken on her body. What the hell was going to happen if they found out that I have Cancer?

I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

When Scrub Lady led me back to the main building, I saw Mrs P in an earnest conversation with another woman in the lobby. I asked to use the rest room and they led me to a special toilet in the corner of the facility. You can't go just anywhere when your pee is radioactive. I turned out the lights to check, but it didn't glow either. When I was ready to leave, Mrs P hugged her new friend and they exchanged phone numbers. That's just the kind of woman she is.

"She was nice," I said, once we were outside.

"Her husband is terminal."

I took her hand, and we walked wordlessly back to the car.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Label Cloud

mrs p Cancer running lifting weights LIVESTRONG at the YMCA treadmill weight nutrition depression God Living Strong at the Y injury YMCA dogs mom walking radiation Weight Lifting cardio friends program theatre body fat long slow run love One for the Five aches elliptical race resistance bands stretching 5K Acting Jeff Galloway chemo doctor family mental health Church Pittsburgh Marathon bluegrass fundraising inspiration patience personal trainer recovery Flying Pig Marathon Jesus Johns Striders Race Report Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon bipolar frustration kentucky knees measurements morning promatx yoga Christmas Marathon Pennsy's Greatest Hits cats clothes heart rate hope lance armstrong life molly poetry rest side effects steelers swimming 10K Actors' Guild of Lexington Blog CT Scan Coach Carrie PET Scan cross training exercise fear feeling good groin healing ice cream livestrong nausea powerlifting run/walk/run stair climber surgery Cancer Fighter Cold Gear Hills Iron Horse Half-marathon Job LSR Mum Nike+ Shamrock Shuffle 3K achilles advent arboretum bmi bodyweight exercises changes charity circuit training cycling dad deadlift diabetes encouragement experts give up goals horses interval training jake kettlebells lean body mass new rules of lifting pacing personal best plateau prayer recumbent bike research shoes sleep strength teeth therapist toe video Blood Easter Endurance Funeral Garmin 405 Homecoming House Insurance Juicing Keeneland Legacy Night PR Pennsyltucky Pittsburgh Relapse Run This Town TRX Training Values aflac arnold ben-gay bench press chafing christian compression shorts dentist dreams faith fat fatigue foreclosure good day half marathon hospitality javarunner john's run/walk shop lou schuler new year nurse pains peg tube powercage progressive resistance. racing rain rapture reboot runners world squat sun block supplements team pennsy tired weather will rogers work #3rightThings 9-11 ACSM AIDS Aquaphor Blessings Bluegrass 10K CSN Cancer Boy Cedar Hill Charles Dickens Class of 82 Classes Colby Road College Compassion Courage Crowdrise Cystoscopy Dee Diet EFM Epiphany Fall Fartlek Fat Man Fat Sick and Nearly Dead Frankfort Gadgets Gramma Grampa Gratitude Grete Waitz Guest HITT HIV Hell Holding Hands Holy Saturday Homer Horse Capital Marathon IVP Ice bath Jacuzzi James Taylor Jesus wept Joe Cross John Izzo Joy KY LaDonna Leg Day Lent Lessons Lexington Little Pennsy Mental hospital Midsummer Night's Run Mindfulness MobileFit Negative Splits Old Frankfort Pike Pilates Podrunner Pre-race Priorities RICE Railrunner 10 Miler Random thoughts Resurrection Reunion Run Bob Run Run Report Run Review Run for the Gold 3K Running Form Running for Sabrina STUPID Shakespeare Skip Brown Speed Spinning Summer Of Speed Sunrise Supersets Tao Te Ching Thank You The Wall Three Right Things Toxic Passenger UK UK basketball Urine Urologist Victory Walk of Shame Warrior Westminster Whole Foods Wind Words Zumba ace bandages addicted agony alwyn cosgrove america anger antibiotic anxiety awake back baseball blood clots blood pressure body glide bonhoeffer books brad calories chinup colonoscopy consistency crazy cycles dentures dip dr. google dumbbells elevation facebook failure farts feet fight for life fitness forgiveness frankenpennsy fun getting started glucosamine glutes goal gremlin grenz grumpy hair hamstrings hiccups high school hot ice incarnation indian food jogging john lennon joint legacy trail liniment lunges machines maker's mark medicine ball meds mercy motivation motley fool music nature neighborhood new balance nike noah numbers pennsyltuckian periodization persistence phlebitis postmodern prison professional boundaries progress psychiatrist pullups pushups quads ramble rememberance renewal road running ronnie coleman rowing safety sauna scan-ziety sexy shopping shorts shower sick sleepless snow socks spandex star trek statistics steam room steroids stiff strained muscle strap strength training supination support surgeon survive swackett swiss balls table technology tempo terry bradshaw testicular torsion text thai food that's fit the five thighs walk breaks warm up water fitness water jogging weak wedding ring wellness wife winter workout writing yardwork