Avalon's Army of Angels
|September 3, 2008
Gastric emptying study
This was an easy enough test, even if the schedulers did drop the ball preparing us for it.
Here's the breakdown of the morning. Avalon was NPO after midnight. (no food or drink after
midnight) We arrived at the hospital and mistakenly went to MRI, thinking nuclear medicine
was down their hallway. Oops, I was wrong, its actually in the deep dark recesses of
Radiology. No problem, the charge nurse for MRI knows us well, she was happy to walk back
with us and get us through the secret ninja employee doors, to save us time. She also gave
Nuclear the heads up that we were there - to speed up the process.
Once in Radiology, we had to wait to register like normal. What wasn't normal was the ditzy,
rude clerk we got. I'm telling you, we're in radiology so stinkin' often, they nearly croaked a
few weeks ago when I brought Ambrosia in instead of Avalon. Yet here I was, having to go
over stupid, redundant details with someone who wasn't smart enough to look at the computer
long enough to see her file.
Better yet, Little Miss Lovely suddenly asked for my Driver's License. What? Being naturally
curious, I asked what on earth for? LML declared that its department policy, everyone always
must provide a driver's license for any procedure. WHAT?! I said, "Well that's new, we were
just here last week." At this point, LML informed me that, "This policy has been in place for
about 4 months, obviously you just haven't been here in quite some time." WHAT?!?!
That's when my politely amused demeanor flew out the window. Not been there in quite some
time?! Oh, only about 20 times in the past three months!!! Not to mention, the visit less than
two weeks before - that I'd already told her about!!! Aaaaaaghhhh!!
Eventually, I walked away - convinced the hospital had obviously hired someone as "brilliant"
(heavy, dripping sarcasm here) at their job as Voldemort is. (you know, the idiot surgeon who
botched Avalon's recent shunt surgery - leaving a piece in her brain forever?) Oh yeah, I'm
pretty sure they were hired by the same monkey. Scratch that - monkeys are waaaay smarter
than the morons who hired these people....
I should have taken check-in as a clue for what was to come. No, I didn't. I'm simple that way.
When the nurse came out to get us, I blindly followed her back, expecting the rest of the
morning to flow smoothly. We sit down, settle in, and she asks Avalon, "So, what are you
going to have for breakfast?"
Remember, I'd been told by Dr. Potter that Avalon would most likely be eating radioactive
oatmeal. Therefore, I answered, "Whatever you feed her." This was met by a rather vacant
"Ummm, didn't you bring the food like you're supposed to?"
"Yeah. You're supposed to bring two raw eggs. We scramble them here and put the isotopes
in them for her. You can try going to the cafeteria, but they often won't sell them raw. Didn't
they tell you? Didn't you read your paperwork?"
What paperwork? I have no paperwork!
Oh, well I guess you'll have to go get food and bring it back here. And she has to eat all of it
and be full. She has to have a really full stomach.
This is why we're doing this! She never eats a lot! AAAAAGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!
Oh yeah, this day was going spectacular....
OK, off to the cafeteria we went, completely destroying anything close to the timetable we had
figured on. On the way there, we ran into a J-5 nurse we love, and stopped for a few to speak
to her. In all honesty, I think I stopped for a few to blow some steam. God Bless Natalie, she
happily took my steam and laughed with me. If she hadn't, my head may have exploded.
We trudged back to Nuclear Med with yogurt to mix the isotopes with, and chips and
doughnuts to bribe her into eating with. Not to mention doughnuts for Ambrosia and I, since
we'd followed the family rule of we-can't-eat-if-Avalon-can't. Of course, once the nurse caught
site of food other than the oh-so-important yogurt, she had a mild coronary. The department
was being inspected that morning, and there could be no food that wasn't radioactive. Of
course not....that would be silly......
A little while later, the nurse reappeared with half of the container of yogurt mixed with the
isotopes. Avalon readily ate it, anticipating the coveted chips that were waiting in the
breakroom. She was such a trooper! She not only ate the chips, she also ate half a
doughnut! That's more than she's eaten in weeks. I guess I need to open a convenience
store in our kitchen if I want her to eat.
The funny thing was after Avalon finished with her yogurt. The nurse had mixed the
concoction in a Styrofoam bowl with a plastic spoon. You'd think its something you could just
throw away... When Avalon handed it to me, it occurred to me, it was probably considered
medical waste, and would have to go in the red medical waste bin next to me. Just to be sure,
I waited until the nurse came back to ask.
Oh no, my cute little bowl and spoon were hazardous materials - they had to be disposed of in
special radioactive waste disposal containers. Ha! My kid's breakfast required a Haz Mat suit
to throw away...that's just so weird, its hysterical. Better yet, the nurse had to have me sign a
special paper. I have to carry this paper with me at all times for the next several days. It has
phone numbers on it, so government agencies can contact people at the hospital to get
information verifying that Avalon had this particular test.
I'm sure you're asking the same thing I did, who would care if she had this test? When I asked
that, the nurse kind of stuttered. She said, "Well, it really only matters if you're going to an
airport, or a secured government building." I ever-so-stupidly replied, "Oh, that's no problem.
Avalon can't go through metal detectors anyway - she has a shunt." (and yes, I'm totally
embarrassed I even said that) The nurse was kind enough to not point out my dorkus answer.
She simply said, "No. No, its not about a metal detector. Its....um...well, its in case they have
bomb detecting equipment. She would set it off..."
Oh yeah, my kid is radioactive. She will set off Geiger counters. I told the nurse she'd set my
Weird Bar to a totally new level - and I hadn't thought that was possible. Check and check -
don't ever assume anything.
Once Avalon had finished eating and I'd been freaked out; it was time for the first scan. The
test itself couldn't have been simpler. Avalon laid on a table, and a scanner was placed
slightly askew from center, next to her. She held still for 3 minutes 20 seconds while the
machine picked up the isotope signatures in her stomach. Oh, and the nurse took the syringe
containing the residue of the radioactive material, and touched Avalon's shoulders with it, so
the machine would pick up the signature, and thereby label the position of her shoulders, as a
reference point. Weird, totally, absolutely weird. Its going to take a lot to ever clear this
In a mere few minutes, we were aiming for the Blue Jackets Family Resource Center. The
FRC is a facility that has meeting rooms, computers to borrow, laundry, workout, and shower
facilities for in-house families, as well as a play area/family room to wait in during just such a
circumstance. So wait we did, for the next 2 hours. I have to give a shout out to Aurora here.
She was kind enough to stay at home with Anam, so we didn't have to fight Anam-zilla during
the wait. I'm pretty sure GRATEFUL doesn't begin to cover how we all felt.....
Soon enough, we were headed back to Nuclear. On the way back, we ran into two of our 3
favorite PCAs of all time, Ryan and Sarah. (seeing Liz would have made it a PERFECT day!)
We chatted briefly, and hugged a lot. They were as amused as I was about the whole
radioactive thing. Seriously, you just can't make up stuff like this...
Once in Radiology, we told them we were back and they contacted the Nuclear nurse. It
barely took a minute before she came out to get us. Avalon hopped up on the table, and we
repeated the earlier scan, another 3 minutes 20 seconds. Wham, bam, thank you Radioactive
Man - and we were headed home. While it truly ranks as Weird Day #1, it certainly was one of
the easiest tests Avalon's ever had to do. The pictures below are from the second wave of
the test. I forgot I had my camera for the first round.
I don't know if any of you will care, but I thought it was kind of cool.
|The white dots are from the radioactive isotopes. The small bean shape upper
right hand, is made up of the isotopes still in Avalon's stomach. The larger group
lower left, are the isotopes/food that have already left her stomach. This was
from the 2 hour scan. At least food is moving! We're hoping this is normal, and
we just have to get a bit strict with her. I'll take being "mean" with timing,
over medical interventions anyday! I'm hoping we'll hear the official results