I expected today to be hectic and it did not disappoint.  This week, the kids are in Watersports Camp at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center.  The MBAC is a solid 30 minutes from home, all the way at the beach, and drop-off is 7:30-8am, so at 7am we headed out the door – this is earlier than we have to leave for school!  Lane was excited, though, and woke up more willingly than usual.  Paige was another story – she was just not feeling it today.

But we left the house on time and headed for the beach.  It was bright and sunny in El Cajon, as usual, but breezy and chilly at the beach.  Of course I was not thinking (duh) and had not brought jackets for the kids.  So after dropping them off I found a nearby tourist tshirt shop across from the roller coaster that was open at 8am and got them each a hoodie that says “San Diego.”  They were pricey but not as bad as I feared for a tourist shop.  Back at camp, Paige was still feeling nervous and uncertain, so I made a last-minute, instinctive mommy judgement call and had the camp move her from Basic Sailing to Marine Science, which I figured would be more mellow.

After that I still had time to kill before my first appointment of the day, so I walked the beach for about a half hour.  I walked along the sand from the coaster down to the jetty and back up along the boardwalk.  I love Mission Beach; we’d tried to go there for Fourth of July but there was no parking, so today felt like making up for that (although I missed having Aunt Elisabeth and Paige with me!).

My first appointment of the day, at 10am, was a bone scan. They’d first inject me with a radioactive dye (again!), then I’d have to come back three hours later for the scan itself.  The injection was very quick.  The technician instructed me to drink lots of fluids, wash the injection area with soap, and be back at 12:45pm for the bone scan.  I killed the three hours in between by looking for a working, available electric car charger in the UTC area, which was much more difficult than I expected, having a nice lunch at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza while my car charged, and then doing the bra shopping at Nordstrom’s that I mentioned in my last post.

I arrived back at the clinic and was brought back immediately, right on time. The technician was friendly and competent. She had me lay on the table used for the bone scan, and wrapped my arms in a sheet so that when I relaxed them they’d rest against my side.  She put a small pillow between my heels to separate them, and taped my big toes together.  I did have to raise my arms over my head, but not very far, and she padded them well, so it was not uncomfortable. She then moved me into the machine to start the scan. She did it in segments, making adjustments as needed – in particular, apparently due to some recent dental work, she had to re-scan my skull.  When she was scanning my lower body, my head was out of the machine enough that I could see the monitor, and it was cool watching my bones show up on the images. In all it took about a half an hour, and then I was done.

My next procedure was a CT scan, which was to be performed at a new building on the main hospital campus, a few miles up the road from the clinic where the bone scan was done. Since the timing between the two appointments was tight, and since I’d never been to this new building, during my three-hour gap I’d driven over there to figure out exactly where to go to ensure that I’d get there on time. My diligence paid off, and I arrived in the radiology office right on time…

…And proceeded to wait over two hours for them to call me. In fact this appointment was one of the only bad experiences I’ve had throughout this whole ordeal so far. Everyone was friendly and helpful, but that did not prevent the many problems I had at this appointment.

They were running behind because the power to the new building had gone out that morning, so the CT scan machine was very backed up. Of course they did not tell me this right away; I reminded them several times that I had one more appointment today: at 4pm for an EKG, upstairs in the same building. But it wasn’t until after 3:30pm – after I’d drank the barium solution mixed into a quart of water (more fluids!) – when it seemed to sink in, but by then it was too late.  The whole time, I was freezing; there was something wrong with the thermostat in their waiting room.

Finally I was called back. The CT scanning machine looked very similar to the bone scanner (but without the cool real-time monitor). The technician was courteous and friendly, but did not seem as experienced as the bone scanning tech. He got my IV inserted the first try, but there was something wrong with it – it worked, but it hurt.  I’ve never had an IV hurt before. He was as gentle as he could be, but the injection stung, and of course the fluid made me even colder.

Before rolling me into the machine, he asked about any metal on or in my body.  I said, “I have a breast expander; I’m not sure if there is metal in that.” He said, “What’s a breast expander?” Well that was disconcerting. Then, after taking the first couple of images, he came out from behind the glass to announce, “You are wearing a bra with underwire.”  Oops.  I’d completely forgotten to mention that.  So, I needed to take that off – with an IV needle stuck in my left arm, and my right arm not very flexible from the mastectomy. That was tricky!

I should have both test results in a few days, and you can be assured that I’ll get a copy of the images and post anything that looks cool (Erika as a skeleton!!).  My EKG has been rescheduled for 11am tomorrow.


3 thoughts on “Radioactive!

  1. Thanks for the detailed update. No wonder you’ve taken a leave of absence from work (aside from recovering from major surgery). All these doctors’ appointments and tests are like having a full time job. Hope all the test are negative.


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