Thursday, April 29, 2010

PET Sounds

I had a full-body CT/PET scan this morning. And what did you do, busy bee? 'Cause I do more lying motionless before 9 am than most people do all day.

There was no reason for this scan except that my doctor wanted to establish a baseline. And I think that they bought the machine.

The good thing about a PET scan is that they let you wear your own clothes for it. So I didn't even change out of the ten year-old fleece pants I'd slept in. I don't want no scrubs.

The bad thing about a PET scan is kind of everything else. Or nothing really bad happens, it all just takes a while. Compared to mammography, which involves standing around topless for free, PET is almost restful. The only weird part is that, after you're all checked in, and they've given you an injection of the radioactive stuff through your IV, they want you to sit and relax for an hour, but you're not allowed to read. That's right. You have to sit in your own little room, in a comfy chair, and let the radioactive sugar work its way through your system, going to be metabolized wherever things are getting metabolized. Apparently reading would involve using your arm muscles and your eyes and whatever part of your brain you use to read, though I told the guy that the book I'd brought doesn't actually involve my brain. If you are using those areas, they would take up the sugar and light up on the PET scan instead of letting the sugar go to possible areas of interest, like cancer cells.

Like, I guess if you sat in the PET thingie doing a bicep curl with a heavy weight, the PET camera would be able to see nothing but your arm. Or that's how I understand it. Please now confer upon me an honorary Doctorate in Nuclear Medicine.

So I said, "What if I don't hold the book and instead put it on my lap?" And he still said no. And Matt couldn't come in there and read to me. But I could listen to something. So they tucked me into the magical chair of relaxing and gave me a blanket, and then I fired up the "This American Life" app on my iPhone and started listening to a show from couple weeks back about a hedge fund. I made it through about ten minutes of that and then it was sleepy time. I paused the playback, worrying that I was using too many muscles to do it, and dozed a little bit.

Did I mention that this whole PET camera was not actually in the hospital? But was in fact in a big truck pulled up behind the hospital? We were up at the satellite hospital near our house, not the big serious hospital downtown, so they have this roving PET camera that's there only two days a week. Like the Bookmobile. Or, as Matt said, the Girls Gone Wild bus.

Yeah, so I was resting in the bookmobile until they were ready for me, then they made me get up and walk to the bathroom, and I'm all, what was the point of all that muscle relaxation if I'm hoofing it to the toilet before hopping into the camera? But what do I know? And one of the techs was playing solitaire on one of the computer monitors. I said, "Solitaire, really?" And he said, "Well, ya gotta do something."

So I got to lie on my back for the scan, which was good, and the PET machine is really quiet. MUCH quieter than an MRI, which sounds like lawnmowers having sex really close to your head. And it was only twenty minutes, really. So nothing much to complain about.

I just lay there willing every part of my body to score awesome on the test. You know what I mean. If you're someone who has made an identity or even a career out of doing well in testing situations, it's hard not to want to earn gold stars in medical screening too. And then it turns out that your body parts are just average, or even worse. (Yes, I'm talking about you, former boob.) Like, if someone would just give me my A+ in being a patient now, and have it certified by the proper authorities, I could relax. So could we do that please?

And now also I would like a hot dog and a cosmo.


Amy - the gazelle said...

I hope you get your cosmo (I cannot, in good conscience, hope that anyone gets a hotdog).

I do understand about wanting to score well on medical tests. When I had an MRI a couple of years ago, I kind of wanted the nurse to say at the end that I got a gold star for holding stiller than anyone had ever held for the MRI. She didn't, and I kind of felt like a failure.

I hope you passed your test with flying colors.

Jenni said...

This makes me want a hot dog real bad....

Good luck, waiting anxiously for results!

Becky said...

This is Amy posting as you, because I know you hate it when I log you out on your laptop.

Now. I think we should steal the PETmobile and take it out for joyrides. We can do donuts in the parking lot. Sweeet!!

This was very informative. So, although we don't know if the technician is giving gold stars, you at least get one in the PET scan blog post category.

Marie said...

Beck, As someone associated with medical folks and as someone who knows a whole bunch a teachers, I hereby give you an A+++ as patient
and bestow upon a Doctorate in Nuclear Medicine.
Loved your post!

Common Household Mom said...

I am hereby giving you 5,000,000 extra credit points. And I don't just give those out to anybody.

Sjn said...

yeah, that whole PET thing threw me too. Drew came with me only to sit in the waiting room alone while I sat in the comfy recliner alone. Oh well, modern medicine.

Amy said...

I can't believe they wouldn't let you read while waiting. That is SO MEAN. The very worst torture of all. It's what pisses me off every year at the eye doc, when the dilation takes off and I can't read.

Lawnmowers having sex. THAT'S what that noise was. I couldn't quite place it when I was having mine...

u deserve a cosmo today.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

God you kill me! Lawnmowers having sex.

The reading thing makes NO sense to me! If you can listen to this American Life (talk about stimulating!) why no book? Weird, weird.

Here's hoping for an A++.

Veronica said...

Yeah, I always forget that the tests at the optometrist are diagnostic, not competitive...

Becky said...

Right. I mean you know they're ranking your corneas.

And yes, the no-reading-but-listening-is-fine thing seemed weird to me too. But I am not a smarty brain doctor, obvs.

Elle said...

Zomga, I am so relieved to know that someone else wants a high score at the doctor.

Put that cosmo down! It's full of stuff that feeds cancer cells! C'mon, Becky, you gotta quit partying so you can get an A! Me & Betty Finn & Martha Dumptruck are going to make wheatgrass smoothies later + study before retiring early, come on over!

Keely said...

Lawnmowers having sex sounds really dangerous. Especially close to your head. I mean, heads are important.

I get performance anxiety before medical tests, too.

Veronica said...

Whatever, you could totally be a neurosurgeon, and answer questions about reading vs. listening and brain waves. I'll just send you the manual for a couple days. LOL.

Scott said...

I mentioned this to Amy on Facebook the other day and, since I assume you watched "The Informant!" with her, let me mention this: there is an episode of 'This American Life' dedicated solely to that story. It's pretty interesting and probably includes stuff the movie left out or blah, blah, blah. Anyways. Plus, that guy who Matt Damon plays, he lives in Pensacola now (as does the Taco Bell diet lady)! Crazy!

melondonkey said...

if i ever write a book, i'm stealing the simile "like lawnmowers having sex." i will not give you credit, either, because my entire fame as an author will rest on this one line.

gretchen said...

There's a This American Life iPhone app?!! I love this world.

I hope that you got the cosmo and some of the deep fried goodness that Amy mentioned in her post.

Keep us posted. Hah. Get it? "Posted" like blog post...okay, that was dumb.

The Stiletto Mom said...

If you get an A+ I will personally bring you a cosmo. Heck, I'll personally bring you a cosmo when this whole ordeal is over anyway!

I had an MRI a few years ago and they had to pull me out of the tube because I lost my ever loving mind right in the middle of it. Yeah, I felt all sorts of awesome after least the technician tried to not laugh at me.

Sara said...

No reading and then walk to the scan? Does not compute.

"Solitaire, really?" sigh. That hit the spot.

So I walked into the new pizza place in our one horse town. It's called "3 Guys Pizza." When I walked in to get our pie there were 4 fat guys, not 3, so I say all smiley-faced 'n friendly "Heeeeey, there's *4* guys in here, not 3!" Clever, I know. But you would've thought I'd exclaimed "Smells like porta-john in here!"
And they proceeded to very seriously explain who the actual 3 guys were and how the 4th guy shouldn't be included in my count.
Apropos of nothing. Just for your enjoyment.

I hope you get 100% on your party bus exam. I'm pretty sure you had to have aced it. And have a cosmo for me plz.

Beth said...

Girl, how do you write such magnificent posts? It must be a natural gift, no?

DId you tell them you were going to listen to Ira Glass? If so, maybe they would've objected.

Mad Woman said...

Yeah, kind of defeats the purpose of all that sitting still eh?

Good luck on the results!!

A Day That is Dessert said...

Just read this aloud to Alexi - we laughed so hard we cried. I assume you'll be getting a book deal soon, my dear. Hoping you got an A+, and that hot dog and cosmo.