Today was my day as the human test subject. Actually it was just two tests, but I didn’t leave the center until one-freaking-thirty this afternoon. Combine that with the fact that I was not allowed to eat after midnight the night before, and you have one cranky, sleepy 33-year-old woman.
The short version: Apparently, my gall bladder has lost its will to live.
The long version: I show up at the diagnostics center at 8:15 and fill out all the paperwork and blah, blah, blah. They didn’t come get me until well after nine o’clock, so I had to suffer through at least 15 minutes, possibly 30, of the Dr. Phil show on the TV in the lobby. I did have a book to read, but that man’s voice and demeanor or downright annoying.
I follow a female technician into a curtained room and proceed to lie down on the chair and lift my shirt for the ultrasound. I wondered about that gel stuff they put on you. I was hoping it wasn’t cold, but I wasn’t expecting it to be borderline scalding hot! The woman moves the wand over my abdomen, occasionally taking pictures of my liver, pancreas, gall bladder, kidneys and spleen. I ask her if she sees anything abnormal, or if I’ll have to wait to get all the info from the doctor. She informs me that everything looks normal and that she doesn’t see any gall stones. Inside I breath a sigh of relief – just one more test to go and I assumed I’d be going to a gastroenterologist for more tests.
A little before ten, Chip came and got me for my gall bladder ejection fraction (infraction? Oh, it’s something like that.). He tells me that this test will take an hour and a half total. So much for getting back to work well before lunch. My stomach was already starting to gnaw on itself. Chip puts an IV stint in my arm and shoots me up with some sort of radioactive stuff. “You shouldn’t feel any different,” he says. Sure but will I grow a second head? Will it turn my poo green?
I have to sit in the lobby for 30 minutes for the nuclear reaction to happen. Luckily, Dr. Phil is off and Ellen is on. Well, this is definitely bearable. In fact, I leave the book sitting beside me, and enjoy the show. Then Chip comes back for me, and I follow him into his x-ray room. I have to lay down on a table that’s as wide as a gymnast’s balance beam – and almost that high off the floor. Yeah, you want my fat ass where? Luckily, the table does hold me up, and I get a pillow for my head and one to put under my knees to keep my back from hurting.
Chip tells me that he’ll be taking four pictures, one every 15 minutes, during which time I’ll just be laying on this slab. He asks if I want a blanket, but I decline. After all, I was wearing a pretty thick three-quarter sleeve shirt with a camisole underneath; however, I was wearing capri pants and sandals. After 20 minutes, I was freezing, so Chip brought me a blanket when he came for the 30-minute picture.
At that time he paused and said he needed to explain something that was going on because we were “going to have a monkey wrench thrown into our day.” I panicked for a second. Did I have a tumor? Was that second head was starting to grow? Then Chip explained that my gall bladder wasn’t showing up on the camera. In a normal scenario, the gall bladder shows up at least by the second picture and definitely by the third. He planned on taking the fourth picture in 15 minutes, but that if the gall bladder still didn’t show itself, I’d have to wait another hour and have another picture taken. Then if it still wasn’t visible, I’d have to wait yet another hour for a final picture.
My stomach began growling in protest. “So, if you can’t see anything, that means I have a gall bladder problem?” I ask. Chip confirmed my suspicion and also added that he thought I’d be there with him for a while. Lovely. Sure enough, it didn’t cooperate 15 minutes later, so he let me get up off the balance beam and sit down in an actual chair in the room. I read my book while he sat at his desk in the opposite corner and did paperwork.
You remember being sick in school and being sent to the nurse’s office to wait for your mom or dad to pick you up? That’s the flashback I had. I remembered lying on the cot in third grade trying to talk to the Nurse of the Week while she reads the want ads in the newspaper.
After an hour, he took another picture – and still no gall bladder. Then I had to sit just outside the x-ray room while another girl had tests done. At this point it was after noon, and my stomach was screaming. Another technician came and knocked on the door to Chip’s x-ray room. “We’re going to Taco Bell for lunch,” she said. “You want anything?”
Oh. My. God. No she didn’t.
“Yeah,” Chip said. “Get me one of those gorditas.”
Okay someone needs to leave because if I’m hungry enough for my mouth to water at the mention of Taco Bell, someone could lose a limb.
Finally, she does leave, and a little while later, I go in for my final picture. But my gall bladder wouldn’t say cheese. “So this means they’ll have to remove my gall bladder?” I asked. He nodded.
So, folks, that was the extent of my day. I don’t suppose poking my gall bladder with a stick would make it start working again, huh?
I didn’t think so.