Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yet Another Gall Bladder Test Today

To update, I saw the surgeon two weeks ago, but he said that he can’t remove my gallbladder based on current test results. He felt really badly because he said that my symptoms are classic gall bladder-itis. Well, he didn’t actually say gall bladder-itis. He said that my symptoms were a “classic case”. I added the gall bladder-itis part because I’m a clever, wordsmithy writer of the highest order. Anyway, the surgeon said my test results didn’t warrant surgery, but that he was sending me on for another test to try to get something that would make the case.

I was disappointed that the foul organ wouldn’t be coming out, but I have been feeling lots better, so I didn’t cry and grovel for him to cut me.

So, today was the test. I had a HIDAscan, and I will just own here that I was not at all prepared. I had what I thought was a HIDAscan 5 years ago, during my first gall bladder flare up. Apparently, I was wrong. During the test in the past, I ate some radioactive oatmeal, and they took a few pictures of my gut. Easy peazy lemon squeezey.

Except that’s not what happened today.

Today, I walked in and the nurse immediately started eyeing my arm. Whatever for? I asked myself. My arm is not a chicken wing. There is no need to view me like you’re a dog, and I’m a pork chop.

Nurse: You’ll need to decide if you want to take off your shirt or if you want to pull up your sleeve for the IV.

Me: What? I thought I was going to eat some crummy oatmeal.

Nope. That’s another test. We have to do two different injections for this test so we do an IV.

Neurotic Factoid #35, I am really bad with needles. Really bad. Like so bad that I can make my mom cry if she’s in the same room with me when I have to have a shot. The “whys” aren’t important, suffice it to say that I must do some serious mental preparation if my skin barrier is to be breached.

I tell the kind nurse that I am not so god with the sharp things, and she’s relatively sympathetic but not skilled enough to not blow out the first vein she tries to get. (And yes, I know that this characterization of her skill level is grossly unfair, but after she dug around in my wrist for a little bit, I was in no mood to be fair.)

Nurse: Oops. Your vein puffed.


I have never actually blown a vein before, and it was surprisingly painful. But there was no time to inspect the damage as they quickly started searching for another vein and told me to lie down on the table and not move.

So I lay down on the table, and they put this large piece of imaging equipment over my entire torso and injected me with a radioactive dye. They positioned my arms to my sides, and told me that I would need to lie still for 60-90 minutes. 60-90 minutes!

So here’s me, laying stock still staring at the ceiling for 75 minutes. I couldn’t fall asleep for fear of moving. I couldn’t read because my arms were plastered to my side and there was a contraption pulled almost up to my chin. All I could think was, This is a desperate way for a mama to get some down time.

At the same time, the blown out vein on my wrist was hurting. A LOT. I couldn’t see it, but I envisioned that my throbbing wrist was swollen and discolored because clearly the trauma to the area was severe.

And then the betrayal. Turns out that the injection and the insane amount of stillness was only THE FIRST PART of the test.

This was followed by yet another injection (but to be fair, I had an IV at that point, so the actual getting of this injection wasn’t such a problem) that made my gall bladder squeeze “like you just ate a high fat meal” followed by about 40 more minutes of stillness. Except this time the stillness was accompanied by nausea and pain since I stopped eating high fat meals 8 weeks ago because of this whole gall bladder thing.

And throughout it all, my wrist was throbbing, throbbing, throbbing. And I’m envisioning the carnage that must be my lower arm; because it hurts so badly. But of course I can’t see it, as I’m super busy holding still. Really still. Not daring to move even my eyes still.

And ridiculously, all I could think was, Well, this will at least be an interesting picture for the blog.

So behold, my massive vein blow-out:

Do you see it?
Ack, the pain! The pain!


zulhai said...

I'm sorry for the misery, but that picture at the end made me laugh out loud.

nancy said...

You are too funny. I hope the results indicate a resolution that makes you all better, and that you never experience a blown vein again. Does that make sense? It's me, trying to make nice.

belsum said...

Man, you are having a helluva time with this gall bladder saga. I'm glad you're keeping your sense of humor about it!

lsig said...

I haaaate pain and I bruise when someone breathes too hard in my direction, so I empathize. Sorry to hear.

Mom said...

You're a brave girl. I'm glad I wasn't there.

Thea said...


L. Noelle said...

Is your vein all healed up? When are the results back? Please let us know what happens! Thanks for the support also, BTW. :)

Sue said...

You really crack me up. I'm sorry they didn't prepare you for the test. I once had a nurse botch an IV and my whole hand and wris was a big bruised mess. I am super pale and bruise easily. But actually, I don't mind needles. I can imagine how much worse it is if you fear them.

I'm glad your ordeal is over and I hope your wrist heals quickly. Let us know the results of the test.

Zany Mama said...

My aim is now to make you snort when you laugh at me.

Thanks. I almost didn't recognize the make nice-ness, but then that's because my other two readers are zulhai and thea. (Just kidding, everyone. No one who reads this blog is very nice.)

You said it sister. My sense of humor and increasingly svelte waistline are the only things getting me through.

Thanks. Believe it or not, there was actually a pretty significant bulge coming out of my wrist which appeared to be filled with blood and quite tender. The pics, however, seem to prove that perhaps this was just in my mind.

This is coming painfully close to your kissing me in front of the other kids when you dropped me off for school.

Stop it.

You talk a lot of smack for a new blogger!

I'm healed. I see the surgeon Monday for the results. I'll let folks know, but I'm pretty sure they're just going to tell me that they can't do anything.

It's actually not a rare thing for gall bladder-itis sufferers to to have several flares before it gets bad enough for removal. It sucks, but it's not so rare.

Needles are my kryptonite. Well, needles and snakes and manual labor.

I'm actually quite neurotically fearful.

Anonymous said...

Your pic does bring a smile to my face. In the "I can relate" category. It figures we both have a horrific fear of needles. I start screaming before the needle even touches me skin.