One of my goals for this blog, aside from making millions of dollars and giving you thought provoking things to read in the bathroom, is to pull the curtain back on some of these medical experiences I’ve had to go through. Perhaps make them a little more human and a little less scary. Therefore if you have to one day go through anything similar you can be like, “If this clown can do it, so can I!”
This morning was my PET scan. That is not a normal was to start the day. And by start the day, I mean start of the freaking day. My alarm went off at 6:30. Which might be fine for normal people, but if you’ve been reading me this long you know I’m not very normal. Even my dog Andy was pissed. I swear I saw his paw reach out from under the bed and try to hit snooze.
You have to fast before a PET scan. No breakfast. No coffee. So I when I get there I’m starving, and I’m greeted by all these happy receptionists. They’re like, “How you doing this morning?” smiling from ear to ear. Starbucks cups sitting beside their keyboards.
Also-how am I doing this morning?? I’m at a cancer center at 7am! Things could be better!
Of course I don’t say that. I smile and say, “Great.” Because I am great. The sun is shining, I feel good. Let’s get a scan.
I sat in the waiting room for fifteen minutes and read an article about the native people of Hawaii. Is there anyone we haven’t screwed over, I thought to myself as the weather channel played on the TV behind me.
The nurse called my name. She was very excited to see me. “I saw you were on my schedule this morning and I was so glad I got to see you!” WHY ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE AT THE CANCER CENTER SO HAPPY TO SEE ME!? DON’T THEY KNOW I’VE GOT OTHER SHIT I’D RATHER BE DOING??
Of course I didn’t say that. “Glad to see you too,” I said as we made our way to my room.
Now all scans are not created equal. Each one has their own little thing. Their own little flair. The PET’s “je ne said quoi” is that after they give you the shot of radioactive sugar, you have to sit there and wait for an hour for things to kick in. And they don’t really want you doing anything because brain activity can mess with the scan or something like that I don’t know how much of this stuff works so after the nurse who was excited to see me gave me the shot, after our small talk was complete, she turned off the light and shut the door. There I was, sitting in recliner, alone, in the dark, an hour before a high powered machine was about to take detailed images of the inside of my body.
That is not a normal way to start the day.
I spent about fifteen minutes trying to sleep, but it was to no avail. My mind wandered back to PET scans of old. What they said. How they each changed the course of the next few months of my life. If it’s good, I keep going. If it’s bad, I switch to something else. I tried to send good vibes to my body, but who the fuck knows.
After about thirty minutes I turned over on my side. That’s when I remembered that the lights in the room are motion censored. So all of a sudden I went from peaceful darkness to harsh fluorescent lights. I felt like a criminal sitting in an interrogation room waiting for someone to come in and splash me with water.
I thought about getting up to turn them off, but it was a real Catch-22 . If I did that, me walking back to the chair would just turn them on again. So I was just lied there, motionless, barely breathing, waiting for the lights to turn back off.
They never did.
After an hour they came to get me. Twenty minutes after that, the scan was done. I always try to read the CT Tech's face as I leave the room. They can’t tell me anything, obviously, but I want to be like, “Blink once for good, blink twice for smoke em if you got em.”
He didn’t even look my way. I left the room and said goodbye to everyone. Tuesday we’ll have some answers. Tuesday I’ll know what the next few months will be.
For now, it’s time for coffee.