Thursday, August 18, 2005
Back in my room by shortly after 9:00, and to my chagrin no breakfast, but two pitchers of a chalky barium dye to infuse my system for the next test, a CAT scan. They gave me until 10:30 to put away two liters of the stuff - the second pitcher was the hard one - and then took me down for the scan. This one was easier, although the couch was uncomfortable for my sore back, as they only scanned my torso and hips.
Again back to the room at 12:05, where I began inquiring about LUNCH, since I was getting hungry; the many quarts of liquid running through my bod, from the various testing dyes and the constant saline drip, do nothing to keep the stomach from rumbling. (They do, however, keep me shuffling across the room lugging my IV stand to the bathroom.) Happily, I learned in short order that I was getting lunch, and my first run of chemotherapy, and a radioactive dye injection - all at once. A doc from my oncologist's office figured we could sneak in one bag before the bone scan, thus the isotope dye; which came with the cheery warning that my urine would become radioactive, and that I would have to handle it carefully! The chemo tick-tocked into my IV through a timed release over the next 90 minutes, with no noticeable effect; they said that the side-effects could be expected a few days later. Meanwhile I ate my lunch, every bit of it.
I was finally picked up for the bone scan about twenty minutes late, and made my third trip of the day to the basement (traveling everywhere in an escorted wheelchair, of course; the novelty is wearing off fast). Then I was left outside the imaging room door for a long spell, long enough that I fell asleep. Finally the tech brought me into the dim room and asked me her questions - EVERY separate testing department asks me the same questions, and requires that I sign releases. The series of images for my bone scan took the longest, since the table and me each had to be repositioned for each shot. The sequence required six frontal images to capture my skeleton from head to toe, including my skull from left and right; then two more for my arms; then four from under the table to get my back from shoulders to hips. For many of the plates I was able to watch the monitor to see my ol' bones in realtime; fascinating, especially my own skull, while I'm boggling away inside of it.
Again, many thanks to the friends who have called and written. I can read my email and the comments to my journal on my cellphone, and I do appreciate them very much. My local friends are welcome to visit me too, although I've been warned that I mustn't be exposed to anyone with colds or communicable illnesses; my immune system is going to be severely depressed by the chemotherapy, and I'm getting two more treatments tomorrow.
(Email is still appreciated; I don't think computer viruses pose any threat!)