Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Good Day to Dye

I was lucky enough to be squeezed in for an MRI at the cancer center today at 1:00 PM. Since I'd just had an MRI with the sports medicine doctor on June 12th, I knew I wouldn't have to suffer through more of that nasty, sticky-sweet contrast drink or another jab in the arm with an IV needle. Aside from being really loud and annoying, this scan is really the easiest of all of the tests I've had in the last two weeks.

I headed out for my fourth set of internal pictures this month, thankful that this would most likely be the one that would determine the cause of my back pain. As always, I checked in on the second floor and was handed a few papers to sign, along with information about the MRI. I walked over to where my mom was sitting, said hello and began completing the paperwork. No I don't wear dentures, no I don't have any artificial limbs, no I'm not pregnant. Then I got to the part about the contrast dye they'd be injecting into my vein for the test. "Hmmm," I said to my mom. "I didn't know I needed IV dye for this test. They didn't use it last time." I didn't think too much of it since I'm shot up with that contrast once every three months for my regular CT scans, but I mentioned a weird occurrence to my mom anyway, "I just remembered something," I said. "I had a scan right after I was diagnosed two years ago. After they gave me the contrast dye I felt like my throat was closing up for like two seconds but then it stopped. It scared the Hell outta me, but it's never happened again, so I guess it was nothing." My mom looked concerned and suggested I mention that to the nurse before she injected me today.

As I sat watching the minutes tick by past 1:00, I started getting antsy and a little grumpy. I blurted out, "Ya know, I'm gonna be really pissed at the sports medicine doctor for starting all of this drama if it turns out to be nothing." Then I added, "And I'll be REALLY pissed at the cancer hospital if it turns out to actually be something and they missed it in the CT scan and the sports medicine doctor was the one to find it!" At 1:15, I was finally called back into yet another wing of the radiology floor; this time we made a right turn. I changed into a gown and followed the tech into the umpteenth tiny room with a chair, Sharps container and sink this week. He explained that the nurse would be in to start my IV and fifteen minutes later he'd take me in for the MRI, which would take 50 minutes. He then left to get me a blanket and a nurse came to the door. That was fast, I thought. She greeted me, then stood in the doorway, said, "I'm just looking for that picture," and proceeded to check her phone for something. "I thought I had a picture of the house in here. I guess not," she said and kept scrolling. Am I missing something? What house? Then she shrugged and left the room.

I must be in The Twilight Zone.

Two minutes later another nurse appeared, introduced herself and said, "Oh. I'll be right back." and she was gone. I checked my armpits for any offensive odor that may have sent all the nurses running from my cubicle, but I found myself to be pleasantly fresh. Nurse #2 finally came back and started to ask my name, with spelling, and date of birth. I interrupted her, "Is the contrast dye for the MRI the same as the dye for the CT scan?" I asked. "No, it's different," she said, "Why?" Then I got a little nervous. "Two years ago I had a scan and I think I may have had a slight reaction to the dye, but it went away and never happened again."She stared at me for a minute. "What kind of reaction do you think you had?" I explained, "Well, I felt like my throat was closing up a little, but it stopped immediately and I was ok." She definitely seemed uncomfortable, "Well, if that happened it would be in your file and I don't see anything." That's when it got super fun! "Yeah, I didn't tell anyone because it went away and I wasn't sure if it actually was a reaction or I was just nervous. And it never happened after that so I figured I was ok, but I also thought all of the contrast dyes were the same. I guess they're not." She looked at my chart and asked, "But didn't you just have an MRI last week? Were you ok?" I was getting annoyed. "Yes, I was fine. But they didn't use contrast." She was shuffling papers around and reading, "It says you just had a scan with contrast last week." I took a breath, "Yes, it was a CT scan. Then I also had a PET scan here last week, but the MRI was done somewhere else." She was still reading and obviously confused, "Hold on," she said and flew out of the room. This was not going well. She finally came back, proof in hand, that I had, in fact, had an MRI done at the cancer center previously. "Yes, but it was like two years ago," I insisted. "Right," she agreed. "It was two years ago."

Oh my GOD! Why is this turning into such an issue!

"So you think you had a problem with the dye when you had that MRI two years ago?" Here we go again. "All I know is that when I was first diagnosed I had some sort of scan with contrast dye and the dye made me feel funny in my throat. I don't remember what kind of scan it was and since I've had so many since then without a problem, I didn't think to mention it. I thought it was all the same type of dye." She shook her head. "I'm trying to figure out what to do because the radiologist will probably want you to be pre-medicated before doing the MRI, just in case." Ok, let's do that. Get on with it! "But," she continued, "the pre-medication is like a twelve hour process. You need one pill twelve hours before the test, one pill seven hours before the test and one pill one hour before the test." Oh. Well, this isn't looking good for my hopes of having some answers by this afternoon. "Let me go check with someone else," she said before she left the room again.


I texted my mom and Jimmi to let them know I probably wouldn't be having the test. I listened to all the footsteps flying back and forth past my door. I heard my nurse mumbling to another nurse who, very loudly, exclaimed, "She's gonna need pre-meds!" Then I heard the footsteps leading to my door and watched the nurse's face as she entered. I knew immediately. "So sorry but we're sending you home. It's just safer if you're pre-medicated. But we'll put a note in your file so they'll know for next time." Oh, gee! Thanks! "So, can I come back tomorrow? Do I get the medicine from you?" She was shaking her head, "You need to go to the front desk to reschedule the MRI and then down to Dr. L's office to get a prescription for the pre-meds." I sighed and nodded as I got up from my chair.

I got dressed and walked, more quickly than I'd walked in weeks, to the front desk just as the nurse was informing the receptionist of the unfortunate events of the last hour. I looked at him with pleading eyes, "You have something open for me tomorrow, right?" I begged. The scrunching of his face and the shaking of his head told me otherwise. "The earliest I can get you on the schedule is July first," NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! "But go downstairs and talk to the scheduler in Dr. L's office. He can put in an order to rush it and hopefully get you in sooner." I didn't even try to fight him.

I went into the waiting room, found my very confused mother and explained the whole thing. Twice. "Well, now you can be pissed at everyone!" she quipped. We took the stairs back down to Dr. L's office, passing the main reception desk on the way. The first receptionist at the desk, who always asks how I'm doing, gave me a hopeful look with a questionable thumbs up. "Oh, you have NO idea!" I said. "I couldn't have the MRI! I'll be back again." Then we turned the corner and I was face to face with Dr. L's receptionist. One look at my face told her something was wrong. "Hi. It's me again!" I announced. Before she had a chance to respond, I spewed out the entire story without taking a breath. "Oh man," she said. The scheduler just happened to come by and catch the gist of my dilemma and broke in with, "Nurse L is gonna freak! She's off today but she's been following up on your situation every day for like two weeks. I'm gonna e-mail her and Dr. L and try to get you in as soon as we can." It had turned into such a comedy of errors that all we could do at that point was laugh. Seriously. How has it taken two weeks and four scans to find out what's going on in my back?!

While we waited on the scheduler, another nurse came out with the prescriptions and instructions for the pre-meds. A few minutes later the scheduler came out to tell us she'd know something in an hour and she'd call as soon as she could. My mom and I made jokes as we headed out of the cancer center for the millionth time, assuming we'd be back tomorrow.

But we won't be.

Thursday at 4:00 PM. That's the earliest they could fit me in for this damn MRI that may or may not hold the answer to the pain in my back, which is really turning into more of a pain in my ass. So, if the scan is at 4:00, I'll need to take my first dose of pre-meds sometime between 3:30 and 4:00 AM. I'm REALLY looking forward to that! I'm going to assume that I won't have any answers until at least Friday, so don't expect to hear anything before then.

It's funny, when I started this blog I didn't think I'd have a whole lot to write about before we really got started with the baby thing. Guess I was wrong!

1 comment: