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Of Sydney and the PET of awfulness...

So, yesterday, off we went to Sydney.

I hate Sydney, just as a little introduction to this post. I really am not a big city person. There are too many people, too many cars and too much EVERYTHING.

We had to go to Liverpool hospital. Liverpool, for those not in the know, is not the funnest of places. And the first motel we were supposed to be staying in was SO dodgy! And in a really bad area.

The second place wasn't much cleaner, but at least the area was better, and it was only for one night.

I didn't sleep at all, I was so nervous about the PET scan. I wasn't allowed to eat all morning, either. We arrived at the hospital at 9:15 and when it was my turn, the nurse weighed me and then took me into a room with the parentals. A nice doctor came and took my medical history and details about where my cancer was and what they were looking for. Then the nurse came back and measured my blood sugar, by pricking my finger which hurt like ALL HELL and then gave me a canula. All I could think was "TURKS KNOWS HOW TO DO A CANULA!"

Anyway, after the canula, I was put in a little room on a hospital bed. I needed to lie there getting super warm. At first my parents were allowed to stay, but once the technician came to inject me with radiocative sugar, they had to go away. I got my radioactive sugar injection, and then I had to lie there for an hour, as warm as possible. I was in the dark, and I wasn't allowed to do anything. To keep me warm, incidentally, took five hospital blankets and a special heat pack because I'm special. There's also this thin tin-foilesque blanket that's meant to keep you warmer.

So, how did I entertain myself in the dark for an hour, you ask? Well, I played the alphabet game. You know, starting at A and trying to think of things starting with that letter. Incidentally, can anyone think of a person, object or place from the Firefly 'verse that starts with a U?

The technician came and got me. She took out my annoying canula and then led me into the room where the PET scanner was. These machines are very rare. There's only two in Sydney and I think six in Australia. I wouldn't recommend one. It's very much like a CT scanner, except where the CT scanner has the flat bed and one big doughnut, the PET scanner has a flat bed two doughnuts. Go figure. I had to remove anything with any trace of metal and then lie on the bed part. Then, my arms were strapped in. I got covered by my five thick blankets again. You have to be warm, because of the radioactive sugar.

Here's how it works: They inject you with radioactive sugar. The sugar will run off to do work where sugary work is to be done. You have to be relaxed and warm because if muscles are contracted, the sugar will fly off to help there. If you're all relaxed like you're supposed to be (God knows how anyone achieves this), the sugar will float off to your cancerous cells to go and play with the cancery sugar. Or so is my understanding.

I had to lie there for what was apparently half an hour, but THIRTY MINUTES MY ARSE! It was about fifteen hours. I was supposed to be relaxed and lie ABSOLUTELY still for the entire time. This is surely not possible unless you are an extrodinarily neck pain resistant quadraplegic or I dunno, A CORPSE...

My right leg cramped up after five minutes, but I couldn't move it, so the cramp just got worse. After ten minutes, my head was sore where it was lying. But I couldn't move it. I just had to lie there in pain, wondering what was happening.

The machine itself is painless and uninvasive. The bed just moves you through the machine, apparently taking pictures. What made it such a hideous experience (apart from not being allowed to move at all) was that the bed moved a little bit and then stopped. You'd be left in one spot for several minutes. All the while the machine would be absolutely silent, and all the working parts would be stationary. So... as far as I could tell, it wasn't doing anything at all. Somehow, being forced to lie there dead still while NOTHING AT ALL took place was incredibly distressing for me. And, the longer I was in the damn thing, the longer the pauses were between movements. So, I was in more and more pain and, to my senses, making less and less progress.

At one point, I was ready to get up off the table, or scream for them to let me off and making stop. Tears started running down my face. Then, at last, a technician came out and told me it was all over.

She released my arms and I LEAPT off the table in relief. I put everything back on and let this mysterious new technician take me to another little room. She just dumped me there and left without saying where she was going or how long I had to wait for what. I couldn't walk, either, because of the incredible cramp in my poor innocent leg. So, I paced up and down, trying to rehabilitate the little dear, and trying to figure out what was happening. Then I needed to go to the toilet, so I had to stand at the door until a nurse came past and asked me if I needed anything. She gave me permission to leave the room for a second, and then explained that I was actually waiting for the doctor. At least SOMEONE thought I should be kept informed.

While I was toddling to the loo, I heard a nurse remarking "Look! She had FIVE blankets!" in astonishment. I'm Special!

When I came back, there was still no doctor, and I'd been waiting about twenty minutes all up when a nice lady came. She brought me a ham sandwich and an orange juice and a little cup of fruit. I felt instantly less stressed as soon as I got some dodgy sandwich into me. My parentals were allowed into the room to see me then, and they arrived to find me frantically devouring my little supply of food.

I was well finished ten minutes later when the doctor finally came. He said I'd been tense in the shoulders, and it showed up in the scans (he thought I was cold, but it was more likely the pain and stress). It was obviously still useable though, cos he gave me the all clear and we left the hospital.

After that, we went to Homebush Bay. First we went to the Outlet Centre, where I bought two shirts for obscenely, criminally cheap. Then I got an awesomely huge and comprehensive mythological encyclopaedia for $30. Sweet!

Then, we went to IKEA to buy a new computer desk, and ended up with two little drawer units as well. It was after 3:30 by the time we got back on the road and headed home.

That was my two day trip to Sydney. The shopping was fun, but as for the rest: *gag*.

Tomorrow, I shall be examined head to toe by a dermatologist, to see if he can spot any potential melanomas.

But, before I go, just a little IKEA fun for the LorFers. I swear upon Andy MacMillan's hopefully long-distant grave that these photos are the genuine article. We purchased this IKEA furniture and brought it home. I didn't even notice when my parents were looking at it, but when I did, I cracked up. What are the odds, eh?

Our new desk, in its box:

And, to go with it, a wire mesh drawer unit:

Andy standing around all day, holding my printer? It could happen...


( 7 comments! — Make Remark! )
Jun. 15th, 2006 11:40 am (UTC)
Oh, that's brilliant! Andy AND a mis-spelled Mikkel? Absolutely priceless.

*many hugs for enduring the horrible machine and the radioactive sugar*
Jun. 15th, 2006 11:49 am (UTC)
the homebush bay bookstore! i love that place, it's terrible for anything in the fiction realms, but for non-fiction it's fantastic. Most of my reference books are from there *hugs it*

and i told my mum you needed five blankets, a thermal blanket and a hot pack, and she laughed :P You crack all the nurses up, don't you :P And nurses are always the best people to ask, in my opinion. And less confronting. So always ask a nurse if a doctor is being aloof. I could be biased though :P

many hugs and grugs and swedish leprechauns.
Jun. 15th, 2006 12:04 pm (UTC)
Oooh, love the Andy and Mikkel-ness :P

Hope you're feeling ok! And the tinfoil-like blanket would be a space blanket, it reflects the heat back to you. We use them camping and so on, especially if someone has hypothermia, cause they're tiny. You can't put them away again though (unless you buy the bigger ones) which is why you only use them if it's an emergency like someone with hypothermia.

Hope everything turns out ok!

Jun. 15th, 2006 12:29 pm (UTC)
I can do a cannula *beams happily* glad you remembered.

heee hee Andy and Mikkel by accident even! Gotta love LorF!
Jun. 16th, 2006 01:44 am (UTC)
Unification Day, or "U-Day" for short. Funny how Mal always seems to find himself in an Alliance-friendly bar come U-Day, isn't it?
Jun. 17th, 2006 11:52 am (UTC)
*shakes* god that sounds scary...*grugs*

The radioactive sugar reminded me of the simpsons ("what you see here is the radioactive dye we've injected into your husband" "er, doctor, we haven't injected the dye yet"). Even after your explanation of the dye and how it works...I'm still lost.

Good luck with the rest of the tests *hands over chocca*
Jun. 19th, 2006 02:52 am (UTC)
*major grugs* I was getting worried at the end of that post, thinking you'd say the doctor came out to say your shoulders were too tense and you'd have to do it all again! *phew* I reckon I'd have started screaming in that thing, or at least wiggled my leg and frustrated all the doctors or wotever, so WELL DONE TO YOU!!

And carn the IKEA furniture. My family's a huge fan of it, too :)

FtS :)
( 7 comments! — Make Remark! )

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