Friday, April 6, 2018

Yum Yum Barium

Maybe medical procedures are old hat to most people. You're looking at this blog and going, "yawn. Last week they had to remove my head to get out a mouse that crawled in through my ear. No biggy. It's only a little wobbly now." It's exciting to me though! So here's the story from my most recent magical medical adventure.

I went to the hospital on Wednesday. I got there a half hour early for a 10am appointment, which was fortuitous because I had to drive around in circles looking for a parking spot. Finally I spotted a lady making her way to her car. I slowly crept up and stopped, staring at her with wide eyes. I moved up, thought I was too close, and moved back. It's like my car was shifting back and forth with excited agitation.

Another thing that shifted back and forth -
excited to fry my insides

I went into the correct entrance on the first try. I brought my laptop with me, having the illusion that I would do something meaningful with it. A woman made me fill out paperwork. We made small talk. I don't remember most of it, except that she has a niece who has the same birthday as me, and a nephew who has the same birthday as her. In fact, all of her nieces and nephews followed a similar pattern. I couldn't tell if she was resentful that they couldn't be born on their own days. That would be a weird thing to be resentful about.

In my defense I'm not great at small talk. I may have said something like, "aww those silly kids," as if the little rascals decided to pop out on a particular day as a practical joke.

After that I went into radiology, which had no radios. Well, maybe there were. I didn't examine every individual office. I was directed to a changing room and told to TAKE OFF MY PANTS. I put that in big letters to amuse myself. I put on scrubs. These scrubs were MASSIVE. I put that in big letters because they were really really big. I had to pull the drawstring half a mile to cinch them up, but then they were pretty stylish!

Seriously stylin'!

I put my things in a locker and sat. There was an Asian kid sitting there with me. We didn't make any small talk. I was wearing scrubs and it felt oddly intimate. Whatever he was there for was done in like two seconds though. So... probably not a head removal. "We're just going to pop your head off, scan it real quick, and then pop it back on. No no, don't worry, I do this all the time. Nurse, where's my saw?"

Let me tell you about these Barium milkshakes. They're white, super white, like paint. And chalky. The first one wasn't that bad actually. I explained to the nurse that I didn't eat sugar, so it was kind of like a dessert. She didn't seem to believe me but she smiled. There were two ladies actually. I was going to say nurses, but I don't know if that was their official titles and I don't want to be the kind of a$$hole who assumes all women in hospitals are nurses. I'm sure at least one was. Ahem.

Both ladies put on epic radiation suits. I pointed out how stylish those suits were. I asked if they were allowed to take them home to wear out. You know, to a party or something. They said no. Those suits looked like they could take a bullet. During the hours that I waited later on, I would get zapped every half hour by a little X-Ray to check the progress of the barium, and all I got was a little.... mat, over my junk. No suit.

The "little" X-Ray

I'm getting ahead of myself though. The first scan I didn't have to wait for, as it was for my throat and stomach. They weren't going to find anything there, but they had to look anyway. The machine was a blast! It was a table that titled 90 degrees. First I stood against it as it whirled around me, broiling me with delicious radiation. Then it tilted back until I was horizontal. It was SUPER FUN. I used big letters there because it was super fun. I was grinning like an idiot. I think I may have giggled. I don't giggle often.

"OMG that's so much fun!" I exclaimed to the doctor and the two ladies. They laughed. Then they had me do a barrel roll to coat my insides. I told them I was getting in my core workout for the day. After that I had to move to my sides at different angles. I said it was like I was posing for a sexy photoshoot. More laughs! Who knew X-Rays could be so much fun?

A rip-roaring adventure!

The giggles ground to a halt after that. I had to wait for the aquarium of barium to move through my guts. They suggested that I walk to accelerate the process. So I walked laps, looking for radios. A corrections officer, watching over his orange-jumpsuited ward, commented that I was wearing holes in the tiles. Every half hour I lay down under the smaller X-Ray to check the progress of the gooey milkshake. Then I walked more.

I had to drink more barium. A lot more. At one point I noticed myself in a mirror and my beard was rimmed with white. Eventually I had to drink something really vile. The nurse said it may help move things through. She asked the doctor if I should drink it and he said, "sure, what the h3ll." Great. After 4 hours I was finally ready. My insides were totally coated.

I was pretty tired out by then, but I was excited to finally be close to done. I had to pose on the flat bed some more. I watched the scans show up on the monitor. For a moment I thought I was pregnant. The doctor said things looked much better. That's good? My body this week has been cr@p, so I hope the problem isn't something different they haven't thought of yet.

Suddenly I was done. I had been there for almost 5 hours. In TV shows everything happens so much faster. On Star Trek, things happen in like 2 seconds. They wave a magic wand over you and say, "he has a space virus! Set phasers to kill!" I got to put on my real pants and leave. My belly was sloshing around with a gallon of chalky fluid. Despite that, I got a gigantic meal and it was FANTASTIC. I used big letters there because it felt good to finally eat something.

Most of those 5 hours were spent walking and amusing myself...

I drove home through some very bizarre weather: it cycled through snow, bright sun, and rain, with tons of wind throughout. The wind blew away my internet in fact. True story.

I hope that I'm getting better now, but only time will tell.

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