MRIs, CT scans, and Blood Tests, Oh My!

MRIs, CT scans, and Blood Tests, Oh My!

I don’t remember the last time I was exhausted as I was when I got home from the hospital yesterday after a day full of pre-op testing for my brain surgery, which is in 12 days and counting. I’ve had numerous surgeries (this will be number five), but none of them required the extreme attention to detail that has been required thus far prior to this one. But I guess, it is brain surgery after all.

The day of course began way too early for my night owl mind. I only got about three hours of sleep the night before, between worrying about all the appointments to not being used to being in bed prior to 3 am. I barely managed to drag myself out of bed on time. After much thinking and overthinking, I remembered that I had taken an online health assessment a few weeks ago, so I was under the impression I could skip the first appointment of the day like my appointment sheet said I could. So my dad and I set off for the hospital by 10:15 am to give us enough time to get there, park in the employee parking garage, and walk the mile to the other side of campus for my appointments, which started at 11:15 am. Plus I wanted to make sure I had enough time to find the right location. Even after working there for over six years, there are still places that I have no clue where they are!

The Skyway, which we traversed about four times. So. Much. Walking.

My first appointment was very straightforward. I met with a very nice internal medicine doctor who reviewed my health history, surgical history, and medications and did a brief physical exam, which I passed with flying colors.

After that, I went to the lab at the next desk over. For whatever reason, they had to have two different people draw my blood according to some rule they have, so I got stuck twice. Hmmph. Then I had to pee in a cup, which was good because I had to pee by this point anyway!

After that, since all of that got wrapped up fairly quickly, we were able to walk back over to the other side of campus to grab a quick lunch. Then I took my dad upstairs to show him where I work and to see my coworkers, who I haven’t seen in months and miss so much! It felt like I had never left. Although I did start feeling dizzy about halfway through our time there;  I joked to my dad the satellite makes me sick. I got to spend about half and hour catching up with everyone until it was time to go down for all my imaging.

Just a typical Halloween in the peds satellite. Any wonder I miss these people?

It was a bit of a challenge to find the elevators to get to the imaging area in the basement, but I think we just ended up taking the long way around. I checked in for my CT scan first. I had been sitting in the waiting area for less than a minute when I was called back. And the scan only took about as long. The lady at the reception desk was shocked to see me again so soon to check in for my MRI! I figured I’d be waiting longer since my MRI wasn’t technically scheduled for about another 45 minutes, but they took me right back anyway.

imageI’m forever grateful for the instructional pictures on the wall in the locker room on how to put the gown on, otherwise I probably would have accidentally flashed the good-looking tech who was running my MRI. I wish the scrub pants came in smaller sizes through; I was swimming in them on my 108 lb frame! I had my IV placed (on the second attempt, so four sticks today, darn it) for the contrast dye. Upon entering the “zone 3” magnetized area, with room after room after room of MRI machines in action, the tech scanned me with a metal detector wand before I boarded my own MRI machine for takeoff. I’ve had four MRIs prior to this one, so I was expecting those clunky headphones that do nothing to dampen the noise. But this time, he gave me earplugs and, to help keep my head absolutely still, packed rolled-up towels in all around the space my head was in, topped with that helmet/cage thing. I have to say it was the quietest MRI I’ve ever had! And one of the shortest, taking only about 35 minutes.

Once I was finally done in radiology, we headed back across the skyway for my registration and anesthesia clearance. Registration took no time at all, but it felt like I had to sit forever waiting for the anesthesia nurse. I had to sit in a waiting room watching broadcasted power points about osteoporosis and heart disease that were full of grammatical errors and it was making me twitch. Finally, I was called back. imageAfter the nurse reviewed my chart, looked in my mouth, and went out for a minute to talk to the anesthesiologist, I was free to go! Apparently I’m low enough risk that I didn’t need to speak to the anesthesiologist. Sweet. But this will be my fifth time under general anesthesia and I’ve never had a problem before, so I think everything will be fine. However, I WILL be having a conversation the day of surgery with the actual anesthesiologist about what happened the last time I had surgery at this institution and they botched my anesthesia. I will put the fear of God in them, believe me.

By the time we got home, I was completely bushed and a dizzy spell was coming on. Good thing my dad was there to drive me, even though I probably could have in a pinch. Now all I have left are an appointment with the neurosurgeon’s nurse and then the ENT surgeon, back to back on September 6th. Then I should be ready to go!

Overall, I feel much better about all of this now that the crazy testing is over. I’m still wondering what the results of my MRI will show now, like whether the tumor shrunk at all on the medication. Hopefully I’ll find out soon! But at least today is over and I’m one step closer to the surgery that will hopefully be the final thing to getting my life back to some sense of normalcy. Even if it is a little different normal, that’s ok with me!

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