Atomic No. 56

To make a long story short, I’ve been sick for a few months.  I’ve actually been struggling with one medical issue for a number of years (hint: it’s not something the menfolk want to hear about), but something else cropped up and it really started to impact my daily life.  For quite some time, two separate physicians have just labeled it a symptom of the first problem and I accepted that.  I mean, I accepted it enough to keep tabs on the second problem and finally spoke up about it and how I don’t think it’s a symptom of the first problem.  I explained how the second problem is actually getting painfully worse, is not tied down to any one event or activity, and I am pretty convinced that we are dealing with two separate problems here.  As usual, I would be semi-convinced to go home and deal with it as a symptom. 

Finally, after a “Hi, this is Dena N. Things have gotten worse and I need to be taken seriously, pronto” kind of phone call, I got in to see the doctor again.  She is also convinced that we are dealing with two separate problems here.  The key word in that sentence is She.  (Don’t ever visit a male doctor if there is any possible way your pain is related to or in close proximity to your babymaking parts.  ‘Cause they will never get it, these men and their testosterone and their inability to handle pain.)

After months and months of just ignore the pain until it goes away and remember, it’s just a symptom backtalk in my brain and having to wake up 30 minutes earlier each morning just to stretch out the muscles on my left side, I am on my way to finding out what could possibly be wrong.  This makes me unbelievably happy. 

This, however, does not: 

Let’s back up a second.  The McDonald’s caramel frappe makes me very happy, but it’s only there  for comparison.  Because I bought that frappe over two hours ago and I’m still working on it, though I’m almost finished. See those two bottles next to it?  Barium.  Freakin’ barium.  I have to drink those, both of those, within two hours.  After having fasted overnight.  Great googelymoogely, I don’t drink that much of anything in 48 hours!

So as any normal, panic-stricken woman would do after hearing that this barium cocktail would taste like latex paint, I tried bargaining with the technician when I picked up the bottles this afternoon.

“Can I add a flavoring?  Chew on some dinner mints?  Suck on a lollipop? Lick buttered popcorn? Good grief – gum?  CAN I AT LEAST HAVE SOME GUM!?!?!”

No, she says. And I immediately dislike her.

Then she tried to make me feel better after seeing my face redden and my eyes water up.  Why would I get so upset about this, you might ask?  What could possibly make me cry at a doctor’s appointment that will surely lead me and my doctors to a diagnosis and get me my life back?  What could go wrong!?! 

I could throw up.  And that’s what it all boils down to.  My fear of throwing up.  And if any of you know me well, then you know that is one of my Top 3 Stupid Phobias in the World. So I went for it…my last hope, my one chance to avoid tossing my cookies and barium all over the CT machines.

“I’ll take the intravenous line instead.  I can’t take that barium drink.”  I even said it all authoritative, hoping she’d just go, “Oh, sure. Okay…you’re the customer!”  But she didn’t do that.

And here’s where you would think that I’d just confessed to a horribly bloody crime by the way this lady looked at me and how all the other techs in the office stopped in their tracks to stare at me, in awe. 

“Oh, no, honey.  You don’t want the IV.  It burns like hell.”

“No, really.  I can handle it.  I had a c-section and wasn’t even completely numb, so I’ll be fine.” (I always like to add that c-section bit because it’s not only true, but solid evidence of my awesomely high pain threshold).

“No. Believe me, girl.  YOU. DO. NOT. WANT. THE. IV.”

This went on for about 2-3 minutes.  I begged for another option, any other option.  She did her best to convince me that the drink was not as bad as I’d heard and gave me tips on how to get it down.  The tech even went so far as to explain to me in great detail how the CT scan works and how closed in I would be, not realizing how much worse she was making my anxiety. So finally, I said my thank you’s, clutched a barium bottle in each fist, and walked away defeated.  I just couldn’t take anymore unpleasantness.

Unicorns and rainbows, right?


About Dena

I'm a sNew Hampshirite by way of suburban Cleveland, by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of home and place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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One Response to Atomic No. 56

  1. Chris says:

    Counting my lucky stars right now.

    Hope you find out what is going on and get it fixed (wait, bad choice of words) soon! I had to drink contrast fluid a few times and would have rather been waterboarded.

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