Friday, October 22, 2010

Testing Day

It was a long day yesterday. I had to fast from midnight Wednesday and be at the hospital at 7 am. The hospital is in Perth City and we allowed a bit too much time to get there. Kevin dropped me off at 6.45 and I spent the next three quarters of an hour waiting. At least they had the current newspaper and I spent my time productively.

At half past seven I went into the day surgery ward and, after a toilet stop, stripped completely before donning one of those awful gowns that open down the back. Because of my clotting history a pair of TEDS (pressure stockings) were pulled over my lower legs and I was shaved in the pubic area where the catheters were to be inserted. I had a visit from a doctor to explain yet again the procedures that were to be done and that after them I was required to remain in bed under observation for four hours, so I wouldn't be leaving the hospital until 5 pm at the earliest. I rang Kevin to let him know, then read the book I had taken in with me until about 9.15 when I was wheeled off to the catheterisation lab.

The procedure involved two doctors and two nurses, an enormous quantity of dressings and other paraphenalia and three screens showing the X-rays of what was happening (thank goodness for health insurance). I had a local anesthetic injected into both sides of my groin and then a sheath was inserted into the each of the arteries, one on either side. A wire was inserted to check the direction needed and then the catheters were introduced and some contrast solution injected. One of my arteries is apparently not normal and has two branches, so they had to direct the catheter and some contrast into each in turn to find which branch fed the liver. When they were satisfied they called the nuclear physician who injected some radio-opaque inert spheres. These simulate how the actual radio active spheres will perform when injected. The main reason for this test is to check that not too many of the spheres end up in the lungs. Apparently a few are OK, too many are dangerous.

The next stop was the Radiation Laboratory for a CT scan. Moving me from one horizontal surface to another was quite a procedure, since I was not supposed to move my hips or legs at all in order not to dislodge the catheters and sheaths. I had to be rolled onto my side, a mat placed under me and I was slid from one surface to the other (three or four people required for this), then the mat removed. Before the scan more contrast was injected and I went into the scanner head first - I have always been feet first before, but I had a couple of IV bags attached to my lower parts. The catheters were removed, though the sheaths remained. Another slide from the scanner onto the trolley.

We had quite a long wait then for an orderly to come and bring a machine to help push the trolley up a long steep incline and across to the Nuclear Medicine building. Another slide and I had some more images taken. This took quite a long time - five minutes for the lungs, another five minutes for the liver and then fifteen minutes for the whole torso. Then another slide and another wait - apparently there is only one machine for this particular trolley, and it has to be used for the down incline as well. We eventually got underway and were back to Day Surgery. Final slide for the day onto a normal hospital bed.

By this time I was really in need of the toilet, so I was installed with a bed pan. I can't remember the last time I had to use one of these and it was dreadful. For a woman the position is all wrong and I really envy men their different plumbing arrangement. I finally manged to empty my bladder and the final procedure took place. The sheath into my artery was removed, a plastic disk put on top and pressure applied with a clamp for twenty minutes. After the wound site had been checked for bleeding, the procedure was repeated on the other side. A check then found that there was some seepage from the first site, so manual pressure was applied for about fifteen minutes. I was warned I would have a bruise and I have a beauty this morning.

By now it was 1.30 and time for the bed rest. I was given something to drink, and did it taste good! and some sandwiches. I managed the cheese and the egg, but couldn't eat the chicken or ham. I spent the next four hours keeping really still so the wounds weren't disturbed. I was allowed to read which made the time pass quite tolerably. I rang Kevin to pick me up at 6 and followed the discharge procedure: toilet, have wounds checked, get dressed, have wounds checked, collect discharge forms. I was downstairs by 6, but Kevin didn't get there till 6.30. He had been caught in traffic. By the time we got home I was not feeling very well and I vomited. I had a glass of Sustagen and went straight to bed, where I slept the clock around. I feel much better this morning, though I have taken a precautionary Pramin.

We will not know the test results until next week. I hope they will be sent to the oncologist by Monday afternoon when we we have an appointment, but maybe not. Apparently the meeting to discuss the previous week's tests is not till Monday. Today we are off to the Ivy Suite at noon to have the PICC line dressed.


  1. I wrote a comment a while ago but it obviously hasn't gone through. I am sorry you had such a long day but as usual you handled it so well. I didn't even know they used bedpans any more, but I suppose they have to use something. Praying that your test come back showing improvement. Have a great weekend....:-) Hugs

  2. An incredible day! What an amazing amount of detail you are aware of in such a difficult situation. I suspect most people go into a daze and only have a vague idea of the procedures. I agree about bedpans - I was given one when I was recovering from a gallbladder op. The anaesthesia remnants plus an upward tilt of the hips proved too much - thank god for catheters :)
    Keeping my fingers crossed for your results. Love, Jen