Saturday, August 13, 2016

And the Nuclear Medicine Tech Said, With an Evil Smile, "Hospital Bondage"

Yesterday I had a nuclear medicine three phase bone scan.  The purpose was to see if somehow the replacement hip had shifted in position.  Since I believe in sharing information, here's what happens (or at least what happened to me.) 

Phase 1 - taken through one of those mysterious doors from the waiting room into the bowels of the hospital itself.  The tech - a lovely woman named Cammie - seated me on a narrow table, near the gaping mouth of a huge machine of some sort.  She asked me to lie down, pulled and tugged to get me lined up to her satisfaction and then chose an arm for the infusion shot.  She said as she began her inspection, "Let's go shopping!"  The left arm was chosen and then rejected in favor of the right.

"So, left was Ralph's and right is Bristol Farms?" I asked.  She grinned.  Cammie has a great sense of humor which is comforting in those circumstances - flat on your back being pumped full of nuclear something-or-other.   I kept taking surreptitious peeks to see if any part of me was glowing. 

I asked her how dangerous I was to others and she said, "Not at all, but it probably wouldn't be a good idea to hold a newborn on your lap and read all of the Harry Potter series to it" which made perfect sense to me.   And easily done - we don't know any newborns.

The machine hummed into life and began a slow trawl down my body toward my feet.  She said this was a full body bone scan and the resulting film would make me look like a Halloween skeleton which amused me.   This cursory scan is done as a baseline before the scan with the bones fully infused with the blood-born nuclear broth.

Every test room I've ever been in must double nights as the place where they hang the beef, used in the cafeteria.  They are damned cold.  Cammie disappeared (from my sight, flat on a table) but quickly reappeared with a heated blanket which she carefully spread over me.   Ahhhhh bliss!  Cammie was so appreciative of my appreciation that she kept'em coming all of the time I was there.  Upon my departure, I looked at the table, piled with blankets and said, "Damn!  That's a week's worth of laundry!" and she just shrugged.  Hospitals (in my limited experience) seem to go through supplies with gay abandon.  Gloves, used syringes, blankets... toss!  Grab a new one, plenty more where that came from.

Phase 2 - a dismissal for 1 1/2 hours to let the drug infuse the blood for Phase 3 and the "real" scan.
Since Elephant Bar is across Torrance, we went over for lunch.  I can't praise their Tofu Banh Mi enough - little "meatballs" of tofu with a chili-ginger crust, the usual carrot strips, raw jalapeno slices, sprigs of cilantro,  spicy mayonnaise dressing.  Richie relished his Marsala chicken with garlic mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy and creamed spinach.     Sated, we waddled back to nuclear medicine.

Phase 3 - When it was my turn, back to the room full of strange and evil-looking machines.  Cammie put me back on the table, then took a couple of blankets and wound them under and over me.  "Now I'm gonna show you 'hospital bondage'" she laughed and grabbing a big roll of adhesive tape, began winding tape around me and the blanket.  She stepped back from my Frankenstein-on-a-pallet set-up, snapped her fingers and got a blue elastic tourniquet band and tied it around my feet.

Trussed tighter than a Thanksgiving turkey, I heard her remark, "There - now you'll stay still," turned and hit some buttons on the machine and then stepped to the wall and dimmed the lights.  And left me.

She is a very kind person with a great sense of humor, so I found myself drifting off to sleep.  She didn't strike me as the axe murderess type.   Belly full of food, comfortably warm, the machine humming quietly away, doing its job ... who wouldn't drift off?  So, I did.

Some undisclosed time later (you can't wear your watch in these machines and I couldn't have moved my arm to look at it anyhow) she flipped the lights back on and I opened my eyes alertly.  I was still, after all,, trussed up.  And vulnerable.

Next came the cheering sounds of her chatter and of tape being torn off of a blanket and I was free again.  After a short wait while she checked the computer monitors to be sure that what was sought was found, she turned me loose.

Cammie shot the accompanying photos of me with enthusiasm and elan.  If you ever need a nuclear scan at Providence - Little Company, inquire beforehand if Cammie is working that day. 

Additional H/T to Matt Mayfield who got the photos from the smart phone to here.  The man's a computer genius. 


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