So yesterday morning, bright & early, 6:45 AM, I was at Riverside Health Center for a long series of barium xrays on my intestines.
To set this up in the proper mood, you have to understand that my normal wake-up time is 8:30. I work second shift; I’m a night-owl. I can’t get to sleep before midnight. 8:30 AM is still early for me. And I had to get up at 5 A-freakin’-M to have enough time for both me & Brett to shower & drive over there. Sleep? What’s “sleep”?
Nothing to eat/drink since midnight, and I had to take 3 laxatives the day before. So the words “exhausted & drained” were really really really appropriate at that point.
And what did the nurse give me for my first “meal” of the day? Yup. 2 big plastic cups of barium.
For those who have never had that experience, imagine drinking a half-melted McDonald’s Chalk Milkshake, without sugar and with lots of extra chalk. If that doesn’t do it for you, the taste is something like diet vanilla-flavored Pepsi with the ‘diet’ aftertaste of aspartame ramped up several hundred times. This stuff was nothing BUT diet aftertaste. ICK ICK ICK. And I had to chug 2 big plastic cups of this stuff within 15 minutes.
Somehow, I kept it down. I don’t know how, but it stayed down. Then, every half hour, the xrays started. I will say this, Riverside is definitely up on the latest tech. I was able to see the xrays on their monitors within a minute of their being taken. Most cool, they had the tech to do a “real-time” xray of my gut, so I could see the intestines working as it happened. Very cool — it held my interest enough so I could partially ignore the queasiness.
I don’t know what a ‘normal’ intestinal xray is supposed to look like, but I don’t think this was it. Or maybe it was — it’s basically a long long strand of human sausage casing, after all. But there was a mid-sized dark ‘hole’ in the middle of the xray, and the intestines were bunched & gathered around that hole; the doctor said that was likely all the scar-tissue from the previous surgeries. How lovely.
The good news is that this is supposed to be a 3-4 hour process. My intestines were running fast — I was out of there by 8:30 AM (an hour and half), and the officiating doctor said that while he could see where the partial obstruction likely was, it didn’t seem to be obstructing me now, since everything was flowing just fine. However, the final determination is up to the surgeon, and I’ll be fighting any suggestion of ‘surgery’.
The bad news is the … ah… aftereffects of all that freakin’ barium. Let’s just say “golfballs” and leave it at that (Brett’s been joking about glow-in-the-dark golfballs, but not that I can tell, and yes, I got that curious). I can’t get that aftertaste out of my mouth; it pops up at the oddest times. Food is definitely optional right now. I can eat, and it stays down, but it’s not comfortable. So I’m keeping it light for the next day or so; lots & lots of water.
And Frodo, our big-little tabby boy cat, has been insistent on getting in & staying in my lap at all times, a big solid ball of fur & purr that insists on being cuddled RIGHT NOW. *snuggle snuggle snuggle*