Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Attitude Helps...Even With Scary Medical Tests

There's no point in being afraid of medical tests. They're only going to find what's there or not find what's not there.
   Today I was scheduled for, and had, an arterial Doppler on my carotid artery ("jugular" to us non-medical types) and an angiogram C/T (CAT scan) on my lower body.
   An attractive young blond woman came to get me in the lobby. It was 8:28 AM, and my test was scheduled to begin at 8:30. I hadn't had any coffee, but I also didn't have a caffeine withdrawal headache yet, so I felt pleasantly half-awake. When we got to the exam room there was: an exam table, a machine with a monitor, a desk with a computer on it, another monitor and computer on a counter, and an attractive young brunette at the desk.
   I'm in my mid-forties, but anytime I'm in a room with an attractive blond woman and an attractive brunette woman, and medical Jello...well...I'm all grins. Whatever happens, I know they're not going to take pictures of anything external...and the pictures I have cooking inside my skull at that hour, in my equally important states of being both happily married and caffeine deprived...will most likely involve an Egg McMuffin and large coffee instead of anything kinky.
   Still... If I must suffer having Jello smeared on parts of my body, I'd rather it be done by an attractive young woman than by some gender indeterminate individual by the name of Jo.
   So, when the brunette asked if she could unbutton my shirt, I said: "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

Some women are pretty when they blush. Turns out both of these ladies were.

   The blond led me down the hall to my next test: the angiogram CT. That tests involves having some sort of isotope injected into my bloodstream, and then getting shoved in and out of a circle surrounded by whirling cameras and laser beams that take pictures of my innards and look for stuff that isn't supposed to be there, or stuff that is supposed to be there and isn't.
   There was a pert young brunette waiting for me. I was pretty sure she was going to make me take my pants off, and I was, frankly, looking forward to that. I'll look forward to that when I'm eighty...if only to see if they'll run and scream or stand there and giggle.
   I commented that it was chilly in the room. She said, "It'll warm up once I start the machine."
   The last time I had that test was 2007, and I forgot the way that machine warms up the room.
   She had me lie on the table and covered my lower half with a sheet while I lowered my pants. Kidding aside, I wouldn't have been happy if she took my pants off for me. She injected me with the stuff. The Stuff is whatever they use to make your blood show up better than your bones on the X-rays emitted by the C/T scanner.
   The machine fired up. There's--and this makes me laugh every time--a little sign that tells you not to look at the lasers while the machine is in operation. What's funny about that? You can't read the sign without seeing the laser! On the other hand, you're already looking at the laser because you're passing under it, so if they put the warning anywhere but the laser point, you probably wouldn't see it at all.
   The machine told me to hold my breath. The young woman had already warned me about that. She said if I couldn't hold my breath the entire time, I could breathe if I had to when my legs were in the machine but my chest was out. I started to wonder if I would be able to hold my breath that long.
   Know how long I had to hold my breath? 15 seconds. Fifteen! I asked her why some folks couldn't hold their breath that long and she gave the answer I thought she would. She said: "I have no idea."
   They're scaredy-cats. That's what I say! Heck, I could've held my breath for twenty seconds!
   Then she said, "For this next portion, you'll feel some heat and you might feel like you're going to the bathroom...but you're not."
   I thought I remembered from 2007 what that felt like. I knew it meant she was going to up the ante on the X-rays so they would pick up on the dye suffusing my bloodstream.
   The machine went into high gear. The table slid forward.
   I was vibrating like a toy from one of those parties women go to and never post the pictures on Facebook. I'm pretty sure my innards were jumping around. My balls tingled and my bladder was going a happy dance, hand-jiving with my lungs. I think my nose hairs got into the game in ways I struggle not to imagine.
    I held my breath when the machine instructed me to hold my breath.
   After a few seconds, it was over. My body didn't feel the heat anymore. By the time the table stopped moving, I was laughing pretty hard.
   "What's the matter?" she asked. I'm pretty sure she was pretty sure I'd lost it.
   "Ya cooked me!" I shouted. "Do it again!"

   She wasted no time letting me pull up my pants. I was still giggling when she showed me the way out to the lobby.

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