Author Topic: "Dem bones, dem bones, dem glowing bones. Hospital. Are we having fun yet?  (Read 4896 times)

Offline Gyppo

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For anyone else who may need one of these scans, here's what's involved.

Bone Scan

This is the story of my recent Whole Body Bone Scan.  As the nurse said, "From the top of your head to the soles of your feet."

This is very different from the MRI scanner, although at first glance I thought, 'Shit, another bloody tight tunnel'.  But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

It starts with a radioactive injection to make your bones glow in the dark.  Well, not exactly, but it does make them visible to a gamma camera, which does the real work.  The dye collects in damaged or suspect areas, including arthritic joints and the sites of old breaks or splinters.  Or severe knocks.

Interpreting these patches is a skilled art, and although I've never needed to have anything plastered I wonder if some of my arena injuries or bicycle falls have left a mark.  We shall see.  My knees probably glow like little bonfires.  I dare say my right wrist, which was stomped on repeatedly when I was at school, will also give them pause for thought ;-)

The fun and games started when the nurse checked both arms and couldn't find a vein.  "Oh dear, you're one of those people."   She found one in the crook of my right arm, but didn't want to mess with it because it went across at a funny angle which she reckoned she'd never seen before. "Let's see the back of your hands."

'Damn!', I thought.  The last time someone stuck a needle in there it bruised like hell.  She found a vein she liked the look of and almost crooned with satisfaction before slipping a fine canulla in there, with a little attachment for the syringe.  Almost painless.

Then she opened a little locked box with two preloaded syringes nestled inside.  'This', I thought, is the serious stuff'.  All carefully documented and in single dose containers.

"This first one is just a saline solution, just to check that the pathway's clear and there are no problems.  We wouldn't want the other one to stop flowing part way through."

Happy that all was well she then connected the hot stuff syringe and started squeezing that in.

"How does it feel?"

"Cool.  Not cold, but definitely cooler than the saline."

"That's good.  No burning or stinging?"

"No."

"Cool is good.  It  means you're not allergic."

She took out the canulla, taped down a little pad, collected her tool kit, locked it away in the safe box and told me to wander around or sit and read for the next two hours.  "But drink at least five cups of liquid.  Eat what you like and pee as often as you need."

So I roamed the corridors for a while, then ventured down to the eye unit where the Hospital League of Friends serve excellent hot chocolate and sarnies.  I went outside for a while but it started raining, again, so I went back up to the Nuclear Medicine Department and spent the next hour reading a book and drinking water.

Then I was invited into the scanning room...

=====

The first noticeable difference between the MRI tunnel and this scanner was that the bed part was more like a high tech plank.  This is because the camera works from underneath as well.  Narrow, hard, and bordering on uncomfortable.  I imagine that for some people it would be very uncomfortable, but my bed at home is pretty near solid, with only a very thin mattress.

But you still have to take all metal things out of your pockets and remove any jewellery.  Following my fairly recent brush with the security scanner at the law courts I wasn't carrying anywhere near as much metal.  So I quickly stuck keys, coins, knife, and copper bracelet into the little pot and was then reminded my belt had a metal buckle.

There was a strange and unexpected little spurt of embarrassment at undoing and removing my belt in front of an uninterested female.

With the 'plank' being so narrow there is nowhere to rest your arms, and they have to be alongside, not resting on your lap otherwise the camera gets fingers and hip bones mixed up. (Who says the camera never lies?) So they give you an arm rest, which is a strange nylon thing they lay across your body and then do up with Velcro tabs.   This supports your arms, and she suggested hooking my thumbs into my side pockets 'like a guardsman' to help keep them still.

You then have to move your heels apart but bring your toes together, and they wrap a little strap around them to keep them in position.  It's an unnatural position and after about the first ten minutes it starts to pull on your shins.

There's a little bit of whirring and rumbling as they line you up then she announced that the camera was going to come down to within a couple of inches of my head.  "So you might just want to close your eyes for a while and pretend you're somewhere else."

"As long as it doesn't touch me.  If it does I'll probably freak out."

Well,  I had to look, didn't I?  That damned curiosity/research gene.  It looked closer than two inches.  But it was flat, like lying under a shelf.  So although I had to keep my head still and couldn't look sideways I knew there was open space to the sides.  It wasn't wrapped around me.

"It'll take about ten minutes to scan your head and shoulders, then we'll bring you back out from under the camera so you can look at the ceiling instead.  Are you alright in there?  I'll be in the room with you but I won't talk with you for the next ten minutes because  we can't get a good picture if your jaw's moving around."

So I took a mental fishing trip for a while on a favourite stretch of the river Fowey until I realised the light on my closed eyelids was getting brighter.  I opened them just in time to see the top edge of the camera receding out of sight as my body was moved along the track.

"Now try to keep still.  If you move your head the rest of your body will move a bit.  About twenty minutes to go."

So she asked questions and filled in a form.  Then she asked about my knife, and if I was hunter because her brother-in-law has a knife just like mine.  Clearly a man of taste.  And tradition.

When all the pictures were taken she undid the arm restraint, which was beginning to get to me and unhooked the strap around my feet.

"Have a little wriggle, but don't get up just yet.  We may need to put you back in for another five minutes.  I want a colleague to come and have a look at your pelvis."

In trotted another wench who looked at the picture, rather than my pelvis, and they decided the specialist would give them grief if they didn't get a better picture.

"Do you think you can empty your bladder again?  It's interfering with the picture."  So she led me to the nearest toilet, with my belt-free trousers hanging low like a teenager.

Then they strapped me up again but let me just cross my arms over my chest.  So I did my famous impression of the effigy on top of a knight's tomb.

"I'll have to tell people we had King Arthur in here today."

This time they were happy with my pelvis and let me escape to the waiting room where I had to wait a while until the specialist had a quick look and decided the pics were all good enough to let me go home.

=====

My daughter ran me home in the car.  I'd been told to stay a metre away from young Alma because of the small risk from the radiation.  So with her in her car seat in the back and me in the front we were okay.

The guidelines allowed one quick cuddle, so I had that when I got home.

Of course, kids know when they're not supposed to do something, even without being told.  I put her down and went into the kitchen to make a drink.  Just as I was pouring the water the door pushed open and Alma crawled in.  (Yes, she's finally managed to co-ordinate front and back ends.)

"Grandad."  (Yes, she's learned that too since I last saw her.)

For the next couple of hours, until she went home, she was stalking me.  If I stayed in any one place more than a few minutes she came barrelling across the floor like a little wind-up toy.  I'll swear I've lost pounds from all the exercise.

=====
« Last Edit: February 02, 2014, 03:47:40 AM by Gyppo »
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Pale Writer

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Re: "Dem bones, dem bones, dem glowing bones. Hospital. Are we having fun yet?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2014, 01:08:29 PM »
Interesting read, Gyppo. Glad you seen some sort of light in that tunnel. :)

Offline bri h

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Re: "Dem bones, dem bones, dem glowing bones. Hospital. Are we having fun yet?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2014, 01:26:26 PM »
I was a bit concerned when you described the gurney, gyp. It sounded like one of those execution ones they have in Sing Sing, or whever they do them?

I too thought it was a great read, pal. Bri.
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline Gyppo

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Re: "Dem bones, dem bones, dem glowing bones. Hospital. Are we having fun yet?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2014, 05:33:12 PM »
I was a bit concerned when you described the gurney, gyp. It sounded like one of those execution ones they have in Sing Sing, or wherever they do them?

I'm glad I never thought of that when she pressed the button and ran me into the machine ;-)
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Offline bri h

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Re: "Dem bones, dem bones, dem glowing bones. Hospital. Are we having fun yet?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2014, 06:23:14 PM »
 ;D ;D ;D ;D
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline Gyppo

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Re: "Dem bones, dem bones, dem glowing bones. Hospital. Are we having fun yet?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2014, 06:29:19 PM »
It did occur to me that the Sister who injected the radioactive stuff could be killing people off.  She didn't look evil, or anything like that, but I realised that most of us cheerfully take them on trust.
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Offline bri h

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Re: "Dem bones, dem bones, dem glowing bones. Hospital. Are we having fun yet?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2014, 06:30:49 PM »
Never trust a woman who's going to 'prick you.' heh heh
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline 2par

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Re: "Dem bones, dem bones, dem glowing bones. Hospital. Are we having fun yet?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2014, 09:10:42 AM »
Well, that was a fairly easy exam. I don't feel bothered at all. I came through it just fine.

That little one is a little confident, loving smartie for sure.

JewelAS53

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Re: "Dem bones, dem bones, dem glowing bones. Hospital. Are we having fun yet?
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2014, 01:36:44 PM »
Isn't it wonderful to have little ones around to take ones mind off the awful moments?

Glad that was a less traumatic experience. Holding thumbs, and whatever other appendages required, for the results.

Offline Gyppo

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UPDATE:

The bone scan and the MRI scan results are back and have been discussed amongst the various doctors.  The specialist who spoke to me did use that phrase 'interesting case' again ;-) They are almost certain I'm a suitable candidate for 'watchful surveillance'.[1]  Which just means several blood tests a year, but no need for surgery, radiotherapy, or chemo unless the test results spike suddenly and repeatedly over a few months.  The tiny patch of cancerous cells haven't migrated to my bones, which is apparently one of the first places they go if they're determined to be a real bastard.

But they do want to do one more biopsy.  This is the painful one and they knock you out for it.  They can't reach the upper part of your prostate through your bum, so they stick a load of needles in through the perineum, that little patch between anus and scrotum to collect 30-50 tissue samples.  Sounds delightful, doesn't it? Still a day visit through.

The bad news is I'll have to wait about five months for the tests and they aren't done at a local hospital.  I'd rather get it over with.

But overall the signs suggest Alma will have her Grandad around for a long time yet.

[1]  They aren't the first people to say 'watch that bloody gyppo' ;-)
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Offline ma100

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That is great news Gyp. My brother-in-law has had that one, not pleasant. :o

Offline 2par

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You couldn't wait a few more years until Alma is old enough to bring you breakfast in bed and baby you? How selfish.

Offline Dawn

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UPDATE:

The bone scan and the MRI scan results are back and have been discussed amongst the various doctors.  The specialist who spoke to me did use that phrase 'interesting case' again ;-) They are almost certain I'm a suitable candidate for 'watchful surveillance'.[1]  Which just means several blood tests a year, but no need for surgery, radiotherapy, or chemo unless the test results spike suddenly and repeatedly over a few months.  The tiny patch of cancerous cells haven't migrated to my bones, which is apparently one of the first places they go if they're determined to be a real bastard.

But they do want to do one more biopsy.  This is the painful one and they knock you out for it.  They can't reach the upper part of your prostate through your bum, so they stick a load of needles in through the perineum, that little patch between anus and scrotum to collect 30-50 tissue samples.  Sounds delightful, doesn't it? Still a day visit through.

The bad news is I'll have to wait about five months for the tests and they aren't done at a local hospital.  I'd rather get it over with.

But overall the signs suggest Alma will have her Grandad around for a long time yet.

[1]  They aren't the first people to say 'watch that bloody gyppo' ;-)

Aw that is such hopeful news, Gyppo.
I'm squeezing my cheeks together at the mere thought.   :P
Time to take it serious and get the job done

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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I know you are a tough ol' bird, Gyppo. So please forgive me for saying it, but I'm glad it's not me getting 50 needles stuck in any place on my body.

Hope you continue to be a good candidate for 'watchful surveillance'.
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Offline bri h

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'Good news,' always travels well. Am glad you're ok, mate. B
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx