Thursday, November 12, 2009

Face-to-Face

I had the CT scans done yesterday. The process was very smooth and very fast. The tech talked my ear off the entire time, but even with all of his gabbing, maybe seven minutes passed before both tests were done. I had to drink 900 mL of a contrast fluid — Barium, I think he said — so my bowels would show up. I had to take an IV of contrast fluid so my veins and organs would be revealed.

The tech said his entire day was off because his first patient had an anxiety attack about the IV of contrast fluid. At first I thought, “How curious,” but then it dawned on me that he had just informed me that as the fluid raced through my veins, they would feel like they had been lit on fire, my mouth would taste like metal, and my bladder may or may not spontaneously empty. If I was allergic to the IV contrast fluid, all of that would be immediately worse. I had to remind myself that the concerns of the first patient were valid, reasonable.

In stressful situations, I’m the one who emotionally disconnects.

Overall, I felt fine after the test — a little warm, hot flash warm perhaps, but really not bad. The remainder of the day, however, was challenging since my confused little nursling wasn’t allowed to latch on. (There’s some question about the iodine passing through breast milk and harming the baby.) I had nine bottles of expressed milk at home, but I picked up a can of formula while at the market on the way home. I wasn’t convinced I’d stored enough breast milk to last her the entire 24 hours, then come to find out, what I had stored had not even thawed after a night in the refrigerator. I was happy, as was she, to have some food at the ready when we got home.

I was unconcerned about her taking bottles for nourishment initially. She’s taken up to two bottles in a row before without significant complaint. I was concerned that she would have issues with the bottle when it came to comfort, and that she did. She took the first two feedings fine, but by the third she wriggled and writhed around in my arms. She turned her mouth away from the artificial nipple and sought out any bare skin she could get her lips on. She finally found comfort after I swaddled her flailing body and held her tightly, pacifier wedged in her mouth, nose touching my arm, the scent of me filling her nostrils. The night was long and rough, but today, precisely 24 hours after the IV needle went into my arm, she was latched on. She couldn’t have been more pleased that she’s allowed to nurse, and I’m pleased to see my contented little baby again instead of the little one who seemed so lost only yesterday.

As the day progressed, I began to wonder what sort of blood work had been run in the office. The nurse left a voice mail on my cell phone saying it had all come back normal, but as far as I knew, they were testing me to ensure I wasn’t some pill head looking for a fix. I called the office to see what tests had been done: a CBC, CMP, blood sugar tests and some others. “Everything looks great on your blood tests,” the nurse said. “But about your CT scan,” she continued, “the doctor would like you to come in for a follow-up.” I asked if the nurse could just give me some results over the phone. “No,” she said, “the doctor would like to see you face-to-face.”

My previously scheduled follow-up appointment was set for Tuesday, but I had just moved it to Monday because James was planning to take a day off for me to visit my Tulsa friends. At the moment, I’m sick with congestion, a horrible cough, and an on-again/off-again fever, so I just canceled my travel plans. I moved the doctor’s appointment to Monday only a couple of hours before my conversation with the nurse, so I asked her if I should just keep that appointment, or come in sooner.

“Um, I think you’ll need to come in sooner,” she said.

“Do you think I need to come in today, then?” I asked. “What do you mean by sooner?”

She tried to work me into the day’s schedule taking into account Matthew’s return from school, but she couldn’t make it happen. Instead, she booked me into the first available appointment for tomorrow.

In the movies, the only time a doctor calls a patient in for a consultation is when the news is really, really bad. To know this doctor wants to see me face-to-face is terrifying. James is coming with me to the appointment, as are Gracie and Brystol, and I have a feeling that the news is not going to be good. Whatever it is, I hope I don’t scare Gracie with my reaction, and I hope I don’t throw up.

I feel like I might throw up right now.

1 comments:

  • Randi

    I remember feeling very worried on your behalf but not wanting to let on that I was so concerned. So glad you're on the other side of that now.

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