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June’s Adventures in Hospital Land
Enough people have asked how June's tests went, that I'm writing a single narrative here. Thanks for your concern. Nothing really happened, but, as many people know, I enjoy giving my P.G. Wodehouse-inspired side a chance to show off. The really important thing will be the results, and we have no idea when we'll hear anything. Much of what I’m writing here is based on June’s ongoing reports to me, and I’m pretty sure I remember everything accurately. However, she is not responsible for any hyperbolic descriptions subsequently forced on me by my irresistible need for creative expression..
First, she somehow disappeared through a mirror, and then she met this really big white rabbit. And when she saw Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall, things really got weird. No, wait … Sorry. Different person, different events.
Obviously, June’s condition has not changed because nothing has yet been diagnosed or treated. Yesterday (Tuesday) and today (Wednesday) we were at the hospital for cardio testing: a cardio-echogram and a Cardiolite radioactive stress test. In case you’re interested in some of the chemical aspects of the latter, I put together a summary about it in my blog from May of last year, when I had that test (and passed it with flying colors). It’s a two-day test, consisting of an injection of radioactive 43Technecium (99mTc), a CT-like nuclear tracing on day one, followed by more injections, a treadmill test, and another session with the nuclear folks on the second day. The cardio-echogram was supposed to happen after the radiation test on the first day. Sounds relatively simple. But …
Day 1: After a short time in the waiting area, June was called into the cardio quarters and injected with the radioactive brew. No, she didn’t glow, but as I said on the blog back then, if there had been a Geiger Counter around her, it would have been ticking. Right after the injection, the ultra-sound lady, apparently not acquainted with other items on the schedule, swooped down on her and proceeded with the cardio-echo. June has had ultra-sounds before, but it never had been painful before. This lady apparently was just a little abrupt in her manners, and her technique was not exactly gentle, as she virtually stabbed her wand between her ribs. (I warned you about hyperbolies.) Afterwards, she told June she could go home.
So, June came back to the waiting area where I was huddling and started to put on her coat. Fortunately, I knew that the radio-active test was far from finished, so, after a couple of minutes of all-around confusion and a teensy-weensy bit of assertiveness on my part, things got resolved. Not too long thereafter, we were off to the nuclear medicine dungeon. This time I went in with her, not for any reason other than to keep June company and because I like that creepy place. It’s actually a perfectly normal x-ray-looking facility, except that there are bodies lying motionless on cots surrounded by technological apparati. The scene reminded me a little bit of "The Matrix" or other films with similar components.
June went through her immobile period in grand fashion. Parmenides and Zeno, the ancient Greek philosophers who asserted that there was no such thing as motion, would have been proud of her. When she was done, the nuclear medicine technician came over and confessed that, alas, a piece of her intestine had blocked the machine’s view of her heart.
Lunch time. We returned to the nuclear reactor, woops, I mean department. This time everything worked. Home. For someone who is suffering from extreme exhaustion, unsurprisingly, June was extremely exhausted.
Day 2: Today started with some more injections and the treadmill test. The friendly woman who served as treadmill administrator informed June that she would just spend a few minutes walking on the rolling band, which would increase its incline every minute. Just a short time earlier, when we had entered the hospital, June had some difficulty walking up a slanted hallway, needing to stop several times to catch her breath. (Don’t ask me why there is such a thing as an uphill hallway in a hospital.) So, June responded to the treadmill lady that she was certainly happy to walk on the treadmill, but that she couldn’t guarantee that her knees wouldn’t buckle in the process.
There is a standard alternative. Instead of walking on the treadmill, the patient’s heart rate can be elevated chemically by way of an adenosine injection. After some consultation, it was decided that they would do this with June. Apparently, it was not totally routine, though, since the room was suddenly filled with personnel from various departments, just in case something would not go as hoped for. June did not show evidence of a bad reaction to the adenosine, and everything went fine, not as they had planned, but as I had figured.
Now back to the nuclear department for another round of motionless scanning. Well, make that two rounds, with a time for lunch in between. Once again, June’s insides blocked the camera’s view the first time, but settled sufficiently downward the second time around.
That’s it. Nothing really dramatic, just some unexpected little contingencies adding interest to what could have been a purely routine set of medical tests. Now we're waiting for the results.