Posted by: cg00n | August 6, 2010


As you may not have gathered from the title I had a CT scan yesterday.  Of course the results won’t be known until at least next week (when I see Dr. D) but unlike some scans I’ve had this one came with more immediate and tangible effects.  The procedure for an abdominal & pelvic scan (as I related in the CAT scan posting)  involves injecting a contrast-enhancing dye without which the kidneys, liver and other major organs are invisible on the final result.  So, as usual, after my final cup of gastro graffin, the nurse offered to prong me with an IV needle which is used to insert a small catheter into a vein.  I’m not that keen on needles but I am fairly used to them by now so I presented my left arm for sacrifice.  After the first “little poke” and a certain amount of discomfort that followed the nurse extracted the needle and told me to “keep some pressure on this cotton ball” for a minute or two.  Apparently the needle went in OK but the catheter refused to “advance” up the vein.  That was so much fun!  Let’s try that again!

Shot number two followed much the same trajectory after which we abandoned the left arm as a bad job and called in the radiologist to see if he could do any better with my right.  Short answer:  no.  Twice.

By this time I was getting kind of tense.  It’s not just the needle, you understand.  It’s the feeling of someone trying to shove a tube up the inside of my arm that just feels really kind of … uncomfortable.  All my instincts were telling me to kick my tormentors in the groin and run screaming for help before they produced the dentist’s drill and the bottle  of green frothing liquid with the skull and crossbones on the label.  Instead I concentrated on breathing and attempted to make light of the situation:  “Have you considered a career in accupuncture?” was the best witty repartee I could muster but it seemed to break the ice.  “Depending on what sort of mood you’re in we could try the vein on the back of the hand.  That usually works” was the next suggestion.  What sort of mood was I in?  I was so wired you could probably have run the scanner without a power supply.  If I refused I might just as well not do the scan at all and I would still have to go through the whole mess again some time in the future.  Oh joy.  Deep breath.

Fifth time lucky.  Five minutes in the scanner and we’re done.  Stick around for another five minutes, they told me, then you can go.  Presumably they wanted to make sure I didn’t bleed to death.  I was expecting to stagger out of the hospital looking like a wine-filled ornamental fountain but with all the cotton balls stuck to me I just looked as though I was wearing a mangy Halloween snowman costume.

Today I paid another visit to Dr Wu.  What the hell.  If western medicine thinks sticking needles in me is a Good Thing who am I to cast aspersions at Chinese treatments?  Dr. Who checked my pulses (plural – don’t ask me) and said my energy seems to be improved since last time and promptly stuck half a dozen more needles in me.  I was certainly feeling energetic when it was time to come home:  I was ready to run the entire 80Km.  The bruises aren’t so bad this time but P will still have some explaining to do if I want to get her into trouble.

Take my advice:  if you are ever offered the chance don’t get sick.



  1. Loved that last line.. wise words indeed!

  2. I’m always fun when I donate blood–I get a whole crew clusered around me trying to find a good vein. Don’t bother with the right arm, nothing will come of it.

    For simple blood tests I usually ask they go directly to the hand, and save my inner elbow the poking.

    Did I say I have small, slippery or phantom veins? I’m such fun for phlebotomists.

  3. i admire ur sense of humor at times of stress. i do the same. think happy and humorous thoughts =)

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