Sensations and Confusion

I just got home from my CT Scan. That one that should take 1-2 months? Yep. Time sure flies fast!

I can’t say that it’s an experience I’d like to go through again, though, despite the courteous experiences from all the staff.

I was told not to eat anything after 830 am for my appointment at 1145 am. Only clear fluids after that. That’s easy, since it’s my fluids day anyways. My soup wouldn’t even be ready until 11 or so anyways. But I wasn’t looking forward to waiting that long without my soup….. I hoped I didn’t turn from everybody-loves-Barney to a feral velociraptor.

It was fine to start. I was finally not harassed by the admin staff about my Alberta Health Care card, like I normally do only at that hospital. I have two cards. One from birth, which they don’t like because it has my maiden name on it. The other has only my first two initials and married last name. They say it’s not the right card, because it doesn’t show my full name. So they ask me to get another new one. I never understand why it was sent to me to begin with if it’s wrong – and what the big deal is. They need the number, not the card. My ID should be enough to prove who I am. So what’s the problem? I always hear from them that “it’s illegal”. No one else has ever mentioned this in any of the several facilities I’ve visited. I’m not sure how Wetaskiwin ended up in a different province. I’m still waiting for someone to show up with a warrant for my arrest…

It originally took me three years to get a new health care card after getting married. Forms were sent. Filled out. Lost. Filled out again. Lost again. But found! So on. So I’ve filled out two forms since having issues with the new one, and still haven’t seen a new card after a year. Two more years, and I’ll have the “proper” card with my full married name on it.

Thankfully, though, no issues this time. Registration was quick, I only got slightly lost from the two corners I had to turn, and everyone was friendly along the way. The nice lady with the lovely purple hair brought me “breakfast” in a flowered paper cup. With…. a straw. I GASPED. Don’t they know straws are illegal now?? Oh, right …. I forgot, Wetaskiwin has it’s own laws. It’s different, here.

My breakfast smoothie was …. without any fruit. Or milk. Or… flavor. It tasted an awful lot like water. It was disappointing, but at least the portion size was big. And free!

While I enjoyed my smoothie water in a room with cushioned chairs, I realize that they used the cozier chairs for people who were meant to be there. Emergency, though, they use plastic chairs in order to chase away those that might not actually need to be there. Sounds an awful lot like fast food seating vs table service.

The lady with purple escorted me to another room and asked me to change into their in-house spa attire. There were out of slippers, but kindly offered me a warm towel to make up for that. And then, as instructed, I made myself comfortable on the nicely made bed. I knew they were injecting contrast fluid and needed an IV cannula. So she poked me… and my vein saw it coming and soccer-dove to the side and hid behind the goal post. She continued to see-saw the needle back and forth, trying to hit that sneaky little devil. It was uncomfortable, but not the worst I’ve felt. Failing to convince that one to co-operate, she decided to try the other arm, since there was a vein that looked like it might be better. This vein is also notorious for moving, however. The first poke wasn’t like any other poke I’ve had. It hurt like she was stabbing me deep into a muscle with a hot needle. I felt like I was getting branded. I don’t know what branding felt like, but that’s what I’d imagine it feels like. I gasped. I told her it hurt more than any other needle. My knees fell to the side and I scrunched my face up in most likely the smallest it would scrunch, as if making my face smaller would help the agony searing into my elbow. She finally rescinded. The sawing motion stopped, but my arm still hurt. She had turned away towards the sharps container, and I thought the needle was gone. Nope. I looked down, and it was hanging from my arm. What a relief when she finally took it out.

It’s amazing how friendly people can be when stabbing you with shard objects. “Sorry about this” – Stab – “oh, sorry, it moves!” – stab – “I think I got it” – stab.

I don’t think I could have been more relieved when she said she was going to get someone else to try. I’ve had many needle pokes, but none have ever felt the way that one did. I don’t blame anyone, and I don’t get mad. I know they don’t want to be causing pain, and this way she can practice on someone who is patient with it. Normally. I don’t normally cringe at all for it, so this time was much different, and I found myself thinking not-very-nice-things at the time. But they faded quickly. I know it’s not entirely her methods as much as my veins being difficult. So she left me to contemplate my gratitude for those that are skilled phlebotomists, and I continued to wait some more, and my bladder slowly filled up again from my breakfast water.

After a mini nap and listening to the chatter of people waiting, a kind sir walked into the room, introduced himself and started chatting about the town and asking questions about me and here’s a little poke and how far away does your husband work again? And there we go – it’s in! He did pull it back once looking for the vein, but it was in quick and done. He welcomed me to take the blanket with me and follow him into the CT room. It’s a fairly new machine, with a giant display on the front that makes sure your remember your name through the procedure, and tells you what kind of procedure, and has a whole lot of kit ‘n caboodles I didn’t see on my last one. Like the digital IV push. And I think it may have had a latte machine, too…. I’m sure all I had to do was ask. But the last time I had caffeine I was jittery like never before, and quicker to black out than usual. I’ve stayed away from it since then. I wish I had asked for a shot of rum, though ….

The machine talks. It was made by General Electric and I couldn’t help but wonder if it came with a “pots and pans” cycle. It tells you when to hold the breath, and when not to. Nice and loud and clear, unlike people when they come onto the intercom. It makes for less patient contact and communication, but at least when you can’t make it out clearly you know you need to visit an audiologist next. It’s like a bonus preliminary hearing test.

But then come the things they don’t really tell you. Not really. There’s a bit of warning. “You probably won’t die. You probably won’t experience side effects. You’ll probably be fine if you do because most people are. You might feel a sensation from the fluid. You might feel a bit off. You might feel a bit warm.” You know. The standard basics they have to tell you about to cover their butts.

What they DO NOT tell you, however, is that the fluid is a vasodilator, and causes a rapid increase in blood flow and because you have more blood vessels in your head, neck and groin areas, you may experience a greatly increased warming sensation in those areas, too.

I seriously thought I was peeing. My head got warm and fuzzy, my fingers went from freezing and white to warm and pink and stiff, and then I felt a warm sensation like I was actively urinating. I wanted to reach down and check, but they were scanning and I was holding my breath and my arms were above my head and I realized that my thighs didn’t feel wet. Nor did anything else. Just …. unusually warm…. what  the actual shit?

I made a comment to the radiographer that maybe that should be on the warning sheets. He laughs and apologizes – it’s usually a warning while getting the IV started, but because I was passed off to someone else it was forgotten. He then says I’m done and that I can go to the bathroom, if I need it, and with a smile he adds “It looks like you do.”

Haaa. He could never have been so right.

Getting up made me *dizzy*. I mean, more than usual dizzy. I’m dizzy when I sit up anyways, but this was even more intense than normal, and I needed a moment to find the light in the room again. I was still not quite steady while I grabbed my phone and headed down the hallway with my stylish spa attire, but I really did have to pee again, and I didn’t exactly trust my groin after that.

I did my business, changed my clothes, and sat to wait for him to remove the cannula. I still feel the warmth of the solution, but I’m feeling better by about 10 minutes after the IV push. When he comes and pulls off the bandage, however, the burning in the IV site was intense. It felt like my skin had ripped. Like it was on fire. He placed the cotton swab and tape over the needle hole and told me to sit tight for a few more minutes.

The burning intensified, and I felt it was growing down my arm. I took the tape off, to be met with the very sensation of my skin being peeled by a potato peeler as it came off.

My skin was still there. It was intact. But it was very red, and very hot and very unhappy.

The bandage wasn’t latex-free. This is what happens when a person with a dermal latex allergy uses latex bandages.

Thank goodness I’m not deathly allergic to it.

That’s another experience done, and a new thing that I know what the other side about. And hopefully don’t have to experience in that way again. I’m glad to be home, and hoping to have some more clues to the road to wellbeing again.



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