Sunday, November 7, 2010

CAT Scan

Looks comfy, doesn't it?   I had a long, exhausting week, and  I was really looking forward to my CT scan so I could get some rest without impacting my family.  (I think they are getting tired of waking me up for dinner).  I thought about it all day:  how comfy the padding would be, how they give you those nice, heated blankets, and how they said it would take an hour so I could just lie there, listen to the hum, and doze.

Friday at 5:30, I'm wearing a hospital gown and am ready for my nap.   I got in feet first, just like in the picture, arms over my head. As I imagined, I was given a warm blanket which immediately began lulling me to sleep.

Just as I closed my eyes, a disembodied voice male demanded "Breathe in."   I was startled into obedience, and took a deep breath. Imperious, it ordered, "Hold your breath" and the machine started whirring around me.

It's pretty hard to sleep and hold your breath at the same time.  So, I  reluctantly held in air and gave up my nap.

The next set came, and the tech explained it would be a long one.  She advised me if I couldn't hold my breathe as long as they wanted me to, then to gently and slowly let it out so I wouldn't move.

A challenge.

If I can't sleep than I am going to hold my breath.

When the machine told me to, I inhaled deeply.

And held it.

And held it.   

Eyes open, I looked up and noticed on the machine two little light-up pacman  graphics that were apparently designed to help me know when to hold my breath.

Oh, this is getting kind of hard.     Maybe I can't really hold my breath this long.  How long has it been anyway?  Two minutes?  Three? Why didn't I pay attention to the start time? 

I looked up at the clock counting down the time.  34 seconds.  33.  32.  I can do this.  No, I can't.  Yes, I can. 

12, 11, 10....It's so hard.  Just a few more seconds.  I can do it, I can!

I did.  Whew!  The woman literally high-fived me when I was done.

If you think about it, she's probably really bored with her job - put people in machines, take them out,  over and over, all day long.  They have even taken away her ability to tell people to hold their breath - the only power she had.  The machine has an electronic voice that does it now.  (Why?  Were the techs forgetting?  Is there a study that shows people will hold their breath longer for machines than a live human?)

All she can do to make it fun for herself is to guess which people can hold their breath and which ones can't.  She probably pegged me as a winner and was so pleased at herself for being right that she high-fived me.  Maybe it was the first win she had all day.  Maybe she had made a bet with herself,  "If I get five right today, I get to buy a new pair of shoes."

No wonder she was happy.

I wasn't.  Napless, I went home and was tired the rest of the night.

I see my oncologist on Wednesday and I'll hear if I have a disc problem then.   I'm not worried about it either way.  

You know, since I held my breath so long, I think I deserve a new pair of shoes too.

Macy's, here I come.



  1. Go get some wow-shoes! You know the kind where people come up to you a say 'where did you get them?'. Good luck with your CT results.

  2. Yes, you need some killer shoes after what you've been through. I hate these kinds of machines (who loves them, come to think of it?). I often want to be disobedient and flub up the results, but I always comply like a good little girl-patient.


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