Posted by: jeanne | July 15, 2008

My CaT scan part one

i still don’t have results to last week’s colonoscopy and endoscopy. let me go back a little.

after starving myself and spending hours on the pot the night  before, jim and i drove the familiar way to the hospital, and sat in the comfy waiting room and then i was in the back.

the last time i was there was in 2004 when they did a bunch of tests after the mastectomy, to figure out how extensively to treat me. if i’d had any signs of cancer in other parts of my body, then we wouldn’t do radiation but go straight to chemo, for example.

the last time i was there, in 2004, they had this nurse whose job it was to prep you, tell you to get undressed and put this gown on opening in back. it’s her job to stick the needle in your arm to start the iv.

this nurse, i hate to say it, was from new york, not there’s that anything wrong with new yorkers; some of my best friends are new yorkers, but you have to admit that they can be quick to come to the point. hell, they can be rude. and on purpose, too. like they’re more important.

this nurse was a nightmare. she must have been having a very bad day because her attitude was vindictive. this nurse, whose name i don’t remember, but about whom i tell this story with great relish to anyone who will listen – she was bossy and abrupt. she had a clipped, no nonsense, commanding accent, like i said, bossy, and she was not above swatting the patient’s hand away when her needle work became aggressive.

i don’t feel at my best when i’ve got a gown on and all my things are in a plastic bag and i’ve got an itchy blanket around my shoulders in a really cold room, and am sitting up on a gurney behind partitioning drapes, with other captives guarded by nurses who make sure you go to the bathroom, instead of bolting out the door. in your gown that opens in the back.

most of the victims accepted their fate easily enough. i lay in terror of the iv, which i knew would throb and hurt from the moment it was in, and the anasthetic, because i hate being unconscious when people are fucking with my body.

i always spend some time fantacizing what everyone will say when i die under the anesthesia, or whether i’ll float above the table and watch as they use desperate measures to bring me back to life. i’d be looking around and sticking my nose in it as usual – where’s that damn light?

the nurse was no help in easing my anxiety. she stood there and ran down a clipboard full of things i might be allergic to and conditions i might have had, fast and perfunctory, slashing no before i’d said anything, and moving on.

i tried to crack jokes, partly to relieve my own tension, and partly so they’d have something bizarre to talk about when they got an idle moment. who was that masked man?

but the nurse wasn’t having any of it. her job was to get me prepped and ready to go as quickly as possible.

anyway i complained to everyone i saw about her when they came and wheeled me into number 3. that would be the anesthesiologist and someone who checked on the anesthesiologist’s procedures, and the nurse who was going to punch the buttons when the doctor found something to snap a picture of, and the nurse who was hooking the line up to my iv.

the doctor came breezing in as they were bustling around, and shook my hand.

i’m in love with my doctor. that’s why i insist on women doctors, because i don’t get roantically attached to other women, so i can think.

but this doctor has the most wonderful brown eyes, and the most polished latin manners, and he’s got wavy hair you want to run your hands thru. i’d give money to be transported to a ballroom for a night of being held in the arms of my gastroenterologist. i drool to think of it.

and, really, the relationship is kind of romantic, when you look at it. for the love of this man, i am willing to ly there on my side in a thin gown, with my knees as far toward my belly as i can bring them, my flank exposed and freezing in the operating room air, while a rooomfull of people watch my doctor probe my most intimate insides. if that’s not love, what is?

but i don’t know about all that, because i was out like a light.  the doctor turned away to his people, the iv nurse put a syring of stange liquid into a line connected to my arm, and said count to three, and i thought 1, 2.

versed, the drug they used to knock me out, worked imemediately, the moment it hit my X. it felt very very bad for the count to two, and then it stopped feeling. and the next thing i knew i was being waked up in the recovery partitioned section.

but that was the colonoscopy back in 2004. my doctor has ony grown more distinguished, and the chrinkles in his eyes betray heartfelt kindness. all of his nursese love him. i went to the prep area and stuffed my clothes into a bag and sat crosslegged on the gurney with a sheet around my shoulders, freezing, waiting, reading my book.

i wanted to know what happened to that mean nurse, and nobody remembered her, and couldn’t believe she slapped people’s hands away. i like to think i had a hand in lowering her score on her final performance review.

this day, last week, the nurses and techs were all wonderful, cheery without being plastic. the anesthesiologist reminded me of a friend of my cousin’s, but i didn’t tell her, because that friend’s in jail. she near talked my ear off, telling me about today’s anasthetic, propofol.

which felt not quite as bad as the other stuff, but i got to three and a little past, and had time to tell them, around the plastic mouthpiece, that it felt almost  as bad as last time.

and then i was awake, and the doctor had already gone to the hospital and wanted me to stick around. but i know what he’s like, an i just wanted to get home, so i didn’t know what the results were until yesterday..

the doctor called me up and in honeyed tones told me that i have gastritis in the lower quadrant of my stomach, and that he had found a polyp in my colon, like he did in 2004, and was having both finds biopsied and sent to the labs, and it would be abo ut a week until he knew anything, so he would talk to me later.

in the meantime, while waiting by the phone for the kind doctor’s call, i called up his nurse and asked her to send me a copy of the report, which arrived today, and so now i have little thumbnail pictures of the polyp and my stomach. oooh. otherwise normal. the report says that. back in my office in 2 weeks, in 4 weeks.

and all this is preparatory to today’s cat scan. when it was first introduced, i remember, probably somewhat wrongly, it was called a cat scan, and now it’s called a ct scan, and as far as i can tell it’s the same thing. so what does cat stand for, and when did it change to ct? well, it’s the same thing, a bloody lot of xrays manipulated by the computer to produce pictures. i just don’t know why it’s not called cat. it’s so much more melodic to say than ct.

i love the drive from my house downtown and the hospital zone up in buckhead. it’s superhighway and skyscrapers for awhile, and of course there was a morning accident, just past the peak of rushhour, that was making loads of people late to work.

just not northbound traffic thank god.

so when the toll road approached i got off the highway and went the rest of the way on the surface streets. which is a lovely stretch of old road lined with very expensive old houses, that goes up one ravineand down another for several miles, linking the peatchtree ridge with dunwoody.

because gas is so expensive, and just because i’ve always been a tightwad, i put the trucklet into neutral and coast down all the steep hills. thirlling, quiet, you can hear the wind, hear the crickets, mainly because the windows are down and the awful bleating engine is idling for a change.

i detest air conditioning. but that’s a rant. maybe i’ll write it in my rants blog sometime.

buckhead is full of new skyscrapers. midtown is full of new skyscrapers. a whole lot of them are using a particular shade of blue glass to clad their structures, and in midtown at least it looks like all the buildings are somehow connected, part of a campus. it’s kind of nice, for huge fucking buildings where there used to be small old buildings, and even a house now and then.

but i love atlanta. it’s green, it’s beautiful, the buidings are all unique and expressive. it looks great at night, cuirsing down the connector with all the buildings lit up, and past that nothing, the darkness of the hinterland all around.

like the forest moon of endor.

next: my cat scan


  1. I am hoping that nothing is cancerous. Can that gastritis go away. I don’t know too much about that.

    Hope you are doing okay Jeanne.

    Love Renee

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