Saturday, January 16, 2010

Inquiring minds want to know

We left on Wednesday for my 2 day trip to San Fran for testing, which means 3 days away from home. We left the critters here in the care of my mother and son and I (god help me) took Bill with me, because they said I'd need a driver home after the last test.

We stayed in Mill Valley which is this little quaint old historic mill town just this side of SF. The motel was about half of what I would have spent in the city and I probably drove less time getting from there to the hospital than I would have if I had actually stayed IN the city. Our motel room was HUGE, but upstairs, which sucked with the unlit walkways at 6 AM each morning.

The first day of testing was lab work first thing in the AM, with the lab tech who wasn't thrilled that I could have cared less about her "talk" about the proper way to take a urine sample. Lady, this isn't my first rodeo, save the sweet talk. When I tried to rush her through her little speech she says "I'm trying to make sure you're not confused!" (she was oriental with a think accent, I'm not sure which of us she was trying to direct) I'm pretty sure at that point I rolled my eyes... but I TRIED really hard NOT to. Isn't it all about the effort?
Once the vampire drew her 13 (yes really 13) vials of blood we were off to have hoses crammed where they just don't belong. Luckily all of my tests this day, with the exception of one add on were in one building, this saved on my lung function and made for a MUCH easier day.

Up to the 6th floor to the GI clinic to have a 24 hour acid test and a Esophageal blah blah blah test. Hey, I take the tests, I don't memorize the names. Nor do I remember the names of doctors or techs or nurses. This may seem rude to them but I see so many, and most only once ever, I just don't bother. My mind has enough clutter, really. The VERY nice woman calls me back to the torture test from hell, and actually explains WHY I have to have the torture test from hell, which THANK YOU. Her name was Joy. I know this because I spent the next 15 minutes staring at her chest while she tried to shove a pencil up my nose. Epic FAIL. We could not get a catheter to pass through either nostril. Since that couldn't happen, that meant I didn't have to wear the tube overnight either, nor did I have to totally screw up the cardiac unit the next day while they had to wait for me to get the tube removed before they could have me.
Down to the Plaza Level for an abdominal ultrasound. Ever had a baby? Pretty much the same damn thing. So either they didn't believe me, the urine test, and the blood test that I wasn't pregnant, or they really did want to look at my liver and kidneys.

Down again to C level for a CT scan. Giant donut x-ray basically. IT takes clearer pictures in slices. So they can get a much closer look at what's going on in there. You lay on a table and they pass you back and forth through the donut while the camera whizzes around inside the donut. It really sounds a little like a jet taking off, and the tech told me it can go even father than what I heard it going. Some ten revolutions every .4seconds. I will be interested to hear what the differences between last year and this year were. I'm hoping that my Pum. Dr can get copies of all these results.

Now, back up the the Lobby of Parnassus building, only we found that at some point in our comings and goings in and out doors, we were in a different building. I'm not sure how we did that exactly without ever going outside, but we had to go outside to get back. Ehh, whatever, it was fine and we were only next door. I finally receive a call back from one nurse coordinator about trying to combine one other blood draw with the heart test I was having the next day. Turns out the heart test would be ventricle (through a vein) not arterial (through an artery), so them drawing blood wouldn't work. Dammit. This meant I was going to have to have someone shove a needle in my wrist and dig around for the artery there. A note should be made I HATE this test. Almost as much as I hate a failed nasal catheter.
Now I'm technically done with all the tests for today, but to save myself running all over in the morning before the heart test, I run up the block and have my EKG done. While I'm there my nurse coordinator FINALLY friggin' calls me back from the day before. She has scheduled my ABG (blood gas, needle to wrist test) on the 5th floor. OK, I make sure I ask twice which floor. 5th. She's sure, I'm sure, we're good to go!

We head back to the 5th floor of the first building we were in. We read the signs. Nothing screams GET BLOOD SUCKED HERE. One way says: Lung and Allergy. The other said something that sounded blood like. Hemoglobin Clinic or something like that. We headed there. They looked me up on the computer and said Oh no that's on the 6th floor, GI clinic. (Read first part again about not remembering names....) So off we head to the GI clinic. Or should I say,back to the GI clinic. We round the corner off the elevator and I'm all Dude, we've been here before. Bill says, "how can you tell, they all look the friggin' same?" Then I'm all, DUDE, IKNOW we've been here before. Oh yep, there is the receptionist lady from 8am. I said to her, ha, bet you thought you were done with me HUH? So she is totally sweet, makes 5 phone calls (5, because my nurse coordinator doesn't return calls, or apparently answer her phone) and finds out that YES I am supposed to be on the 5th floor. At the allergy clinic. I thank her profusely and off we head the allergy clinic.

I might mention that at this point it's about 11:30. I haven't eaten since the day before at 6pm, and that was only 1/2 a grilled cheese. The elevator is really beginning to be a head spinning experience and these elevators go at mach nine. We're sitting waiting to get this one last test, so we can just leave and eat real food. And waiting. And waiting. Then this man start talking to me. Do I look nice? Do I look friendly?Man, you have a southern accent, I look at you and see fried chicken. Turns out, he was a totally nice thigh, I mean GUY, who had a double lung transplant in '04. The, hot & sour soup, opps, man, he had been talking to before us, was a single lung transplant in '03.

Finally they call me back for my blood stick and we find out how unprepared some clinics are. You see, I'm horribly allergic to rubbing alcohol. It's a real pita at a hospital. They are not prepared for this at all. Now, they can use betadine, they can use a baby wipe, just don't use anything with alcohol. Turns out there was NO betadine on the floor. All of their wipes were expired, in Jan of '09 (check the stock much?). The poor tech finally found a bottle of betadine somewhere and we got the draw done. But not before I scare him by telling him I hope he's good and hurries up, I'm starved I haven't eaten in 17 hours. He stops, says, have you drank anything. I bat my eyes, lie like a rock, and say yes, plenty (4oz of My Dew totally counts). He breaths a sigh or relief and says phewwww he was worried about dehydration.
Then we ate. Went to the motel. The end.
Just kidding.

Well, not really. We left SF, saw an Outback Steak house, planned dinner, went back to Mill Valley, ate at DipSea, got a stomach ache, toured around Mill Valley a little (as long as you consider driving around and stopping a the pet shop, touring), drove out the Stinson Beach (their ocean is as ugly as ours, IMAGINE THAT), went back to the motel, and vegged until we went back to Outback for dinner.
When we finally did go for dinner we realized Outback was actually in a big box mall. OMG. I could have walked around Best Buy and Ross or Babies'R'Us ( after the urine, blood and ultrasound it's been confirmed we will not be needing such a store) rather than drive to the ocean. * forehead smack*

So I'll save the Heart test for tomorrow. This was enough to write today. The heart test day is a whole post worth on it's own. And I have the scars, bruises, and rash to prove it.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

My goodness. What an ordeal! The most I've had drawn is a dozen vials of blood at once and I ate pretty much right afterwards. I can't imagine going all that time without food, especially with all those other tests. And a nasal catheter? Umm, eww! :-)