Thursday, December 01, 2005

Inflamed But Relieved

This morning I went for my cat-scan at a local lab here in town.

Before I left for the lab I had to drink a foul, chalky liquid drink (imagine a McDonald's shake with no flavor). I had to do this at 6:30 this morning and then wait around until 8:00 before my actual appointment.

As I pulled into the medical center I noted the hundreds of cars everywhere and thought it a good sign that I managed to get a parking spot right in front of the building (I look for "signs" everywhere - it's a superstitious trait I have). In any case, I made my way through the maze that is the Utopian Medical Building and eventually found the room I was looking for. Stood on line for what seemed like an hour and when it was finally my turn I was asked for my referral, proof of insurance and a co-pay (is that co-pay thing part of The Hippocratic Oath...). I took a seat and checked out my co-waiters. A lot of senior citizens, a few middle aged people, more women than men, everyone looked miserable in spite of the TVs inane chatter (some dreadful morning chat show issuing forth from the set bolted to the wall) and the gaudy and pre-lit Christmas tree that sat under the television.

I began day dreaming thinking about everything and nothing...and then a perky little woman in a colorful nurses smock peeked her head out of one of the many doors in this room and said, "Mr. Romano?"

I jumped up and followed Muffy, who was just so perky she should have been shot, into another room where a donut shaped machine with a stretcher-like table awaited front and center. The room was very chilly and dimly lit; I sat down and another women named, Wanda asked me some questions. She was a blond, middle aged woman, very sweet and with a lovely southern accent she told me what to expect during this procedure. She explained that since my test was a "contrast" that they would be shooting this iodine mixture into my arms, "Now some people say they get a very warm feeling when this occurs. If that happens, don't fret, sugar, think of it as your own private summer!" I laughed out loud and finally felt some of the tension I was filled with melt away.

Later on I lay on the table and, feeling like Frankenstein's Monster, with a tube sticking in my arm and my pants down to my ankles with a thin sheet thrown over my mid section ("For privacy's sake, sugar", Wanda assured me) lights flashed, a robotic voice instructed me to "breathe deep, hold your breath", and then a few seconds later, "exhale..."

Waiting to exhale this one time, I caught site of these red swirling lights in the donut contraptions that I was being fed in and out of ---"Cool", I thought, "Just like a sci-fi film"...it was all I could do not to lift my arms up and forward and begin growling like Boris Karloff.

Oh, and remember that "warm feeling" - well I felt it, as if I'd just had a couple of shots of brandy, all warm and tingly until finally my ears felt hot (who's talking about me?)...my own private summer.

Finally, it was over, not really that much of a big deal. Apparently they get the photos within a matter of minutes after the x-ray, and I was told they were sending it to my doctor who would call me later this afternoon.

***
Just got off the phone with the doctor and it turns out that I DO NOT have diverticulitis, rather I have colitis! Caused, by an infection and made worse by stress and caffeine (my two fave drugs of choice). He said this is very common in men in their 20's and 30's (so I guess that makes me a late bloomer) and to take it easy for the next few days and to remain on the antibiotics. Until the meds are through no nuts, no raw veggies, no fruit, no cheese (OH MAN!!!), no wine (OH MAN!!!) and no java (though one cup a day is OK I was told).
All in all, at least I know what it is now, and I can stop cooking up major horrors.

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