Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Testing the limits


Two down, one to go.

First one was a blood test, not sure what for except maybe possible anemia, but I am pretty sure that is not a problem for me. I arrived at the lab minutes before closing time and the last tech was just closing up shop, she was not thrilled to see me. I wasn't thrilled to see her either, last time she took my blood she dug around in both arms looking for a suitable vein and ended up leaving big bruises that took a long time to heal. However, beggars can't be choosers, I was grateful that she did the bloodletting at all, and this time quickly without bruising.

Second one was a colonoscopy, that was yesterday. Whew.

For those of you who have had the pleasure, I'm sure I need say no more.

And for those of you who have not, you don't want to know.

Suffice to say, the doctor performing the procedure had zero bedside manner, but if performing colonoscopies was my day job I'm sure I'd have no bedside manner either.

Once again my lousy veins were a problem. Sedation was an option, I chose to take it, but the good doctor tried four times to find a vein to insert the sedation needle into. Each time hurt, each time he cursed, and by the fourth time I was ready to pass out and he was ready to quit. Things went downhill from there. I think that if slapping around recalcitrant patients were allowed, he would have. As it was he just slapped the recalcitrant veins and made unpleasant comments.

He asked if I would forego the sedation, how low was my pain threshold anyway.

I said, At this point, pretty damn low.

So he ploughed on. Literally.

The good news is it's done, they gave me cookies and water in the recovery room and escorted me to the bathroom to expel accumulated gas, and after 30 minutes or so I could walk without staggering and went home.

The last test is scheduled for Thursday, an ultrasound. Going without food for most of the day and waiting in the lab with an overfull bladder sounds like a piece of cake compared to the last few days!

I was supposed to see the referring doctor mentioned in a previous post yesterday, but he apparently has come down with the 'flu so my appointment is deferred until next week. Hopefully I have not caught the 'flu from my visit with him last week, but I don't remember him sneezing or coughing so I am probably OK. There seems to be a lot of 'flu going around right now, swine or otherwise.

After the colonoscopy the nurse in the recovery room told me everything looked OK except that I have diverticulosis (not diverticulitis), apparently a common condition in people over 60. Having looked it up on the internet, I know there isn't much to be done about it except eat lots of fibre and drink lots of water, and it is simply a chronic condition that may or may not cause some discomfort. I already eat a pretty high-fibre diet, but I probably fall down in the "drink lots of water" routine. It can develop into diverticulitis, and then more needs to be done, but since that is usually signalled by significant pain it is probably not something one would miss or fail to get treated.

In any case, I think the ultrasound will just be verification that nothing else is the matter, so if I was in a hurry I could probably just leave for Nova Scotia right after that test. However there is so much to do to get ready to leave and I am not up for the supreme effort to stick to the schedule, so I think I'll just take it easy. I have no external deadline to meet, just an internal deadline of wanting to be there by mid-May.

Packing for the trip is looking more and more hopeless. I like travelling by truck because it means I can carry lots of stuff with me. However my desire to take lots of stuff with me has gotten out of hand, the pile of stuff I simply must have this summer is clearly several times larger than the truck. All the stuff I took last year, plus all the stuff I wished I had taken last year.



Barbara Anne said...

Ah, Anne, the rigors of being a patient are not to be taken lightly. Especially of being a patient with bad veins. My sympathies.

Hope the rest of the tests prove you're fit as a fiddle!

I had to laugh at your packing dilemma and how you wrote about it! Yes, the useful stuff plus the wished-for stuff will stand you in good stead. Will you take the kayak? Perchance will you consider putting that extra stuff in a small trailer to pull behind your truck? If there's no kayak, perhaps a cargo carrier to go on the roof? The kayak could go right side up and be filled with stuff, of course ....! :D


Zabetha said...

Yes Barbara, the bane of my existence, bad veins!

In my head the kayak is already full of extra stuff and there is still not enough room. It really is quite ludicrous.

Alan G said...

Glad the 'testing' has gone well to this point. to love those old colonoscopies!!

And....good luck on the packing decisions.

Zabetha said...

Thanks Alan, I'm working on it (the packing decisions that is). I so want to be on the road!

Wisewebwoman said...

Oh I sympathize being the unproud owner of collapsed veins, poor you. I usually demand a doctor pull the blood as I've been made a mess of in the past. And those veins seem to attract a lot of hostility from the medical professionals. And don't talk to me about loading up and travelling. Never ever enough trailer truck or wagon.

Zabetha said...

Hi WWW, I haven't seen much sign that doctors do the job better than nurses, I'm not even sure whether it's a matter of skill or luck! But they should darn well have a little humility and not blame the owner of the veins for any difficulties encountered.

Yes, I imagine if I had a trailer I'd need two trailers. And if I had two trailers, I'd need three... You're right, never enough.