“Hi. Bill?” The scrub clothed technician greeted us. Mrs S and I arrived late evening at the Medical Imaging unit. I’d been waiting for this scan appointment since late November. Which was originally supposed to be a ‘ten day’ appointment, where they’re supposed to contact you with a scheduled appointment date within ten working days. I’d had to chase after six weeks of nada and get an first appointment for the end of March, then chase for an earlier cancellation. Oh the joys of Universal Health care.
Inside I was fairly sloshing with the extra litre of water I’d been instructed to consume within the previous hour. No, I wasn’t to substitute any other fluid. Had to be plain water, not beer or pop, okay? So I’d chugged down two and a half pints before leaving the house for our trek across town to the hospital. Good job we weren’t using public transport. I’d have left a puddle somewhere en route.
Confirmed my identity by checking in with my BC Care card. Was I a citizen? Of course. Robes over there, keep your underwear on. Then once reclad in one of those pale surgical blue ‘gowns’ with the big draught in the back, sat down and chatted aimlessly with Mrs S until called into a side room and asked to lie on a low treatment bench. All very folksy and informal. The next mildly unpleasant surprise was having some ‘contrast media’ pumped into my system. So, into my arm went a cannula (Good technique, hardly felt the needle.) and a syringe full of contrast was pumped into my veins.
More questions. Was I worried about the radiation? No, I’d probably had worse on a transatlantic flight. Then after asking me when I’d had a previous scan (in the mid 1990’s) the technician seemed to have doubt about whether I needed this scan at all and disappeared to consult with somebody else. Which left me feeling a little annoyed. If they didn’t do the bloody scan, how in the name of Satan’s trousers were they going to find the source of my chronic pain?
But when he returned a few minutes later, all appeared to have been resolved and I was led into the Temple of the Great White Doughnut, laid on its sacrificial motorised altar and hooked up to a contrast drip. Arms over my head, the motorised bed smoothly delivered me into the centre of this holy medical relic. Red lights flashed, the hieroglyphics of blue lit controls stayed steady. I closed my eyes and breathed in and out or held my breath as instructed via an intercom built into this great holy relic. The motorised bed whined in and out of the Great White Doughnut inscribed with the occult rune ‘Siemens’. Something buzzed a few times as images were taken. All I could do was lie there, my bladder bulging with all the extra fluids.
After a couple of runs through the torus, I was unhooked from the drip and the cannula was removed from my arm with an imprecation to press on the dressing in case I soiled their nice clean floor with my inconvenient blood. Then it was out, quick trip to water the horses and back out to change into my skivvies for the drive home. I was a bit peeved at not being able to see what the scans were telling anyone, because when it comes to bad news I’d rather know than not. The report will be with my GP by Wednesday I’m told, and the next part of the saga will begin. More hurry up and wait.
I feel sorry for Mrs S, she’s the one who will fret and worry while I’m being prodded and submitted to whatever ministrations the doctors decree. I told her I can handle whatever happens, and at least money won’t be a problem, even if my condition does turn out to be something nasty. Note to self; double check the will. Because if I am coming to a premature halt, I want her to be able to forget me in style.