Sunday, November 23, 2014

October Appointments

I'll get to October in a second, but I was just noticing how it doesn't look like there were as many September appointments as it felt like. But scheduling between the girls & I, while I was in physical therapy twice a week, K is working full time and going to college part time, and K, L, and my son J all had eye doctor and dental visits during the month was basically exhausting. Plus L turned 25 at the end of August and I turned 45 at the end of September. So there's that. Did I mention that we only have the one vehicle (my '97 Blazer that doesn't start when it's raining)? And L & J don't drive, So I have to drive to all the things.

I also forgot to add that after our initial appointments we had to get blood drawn for a million tests they do. They do the tests in a lab upstairs from the office. You don't have to go over to the hospital itself.  Once you get in the chair, they come over with a basket of blood vials. And all three of us were thinking the lady was just going to take a couple of them out to use. Nope. That whole little basket is for you. I hope you have a lot of extra blood. LOL. So that was fun.

Anyway, October. Somewhere around the end of September we found out that everyone has to have the upper GI, not just people having sleep studies. So K & I scheduled ours for early October. Now you may remember my description of L's experience. She drank something gross out of a straw, and then they tilted her back, spun her around, gave her more of the same gross liquid, and then she was done. Well, we got there, knew where to go, same lady was at the desk, and she showed us to the changing/waiting area. K went first. I waited with a patient who was there for another procedure. They took me in as they were taking K out. When we passed in the hall, she said "That was not what I expected from L's description." Hmm.

The guy in the room was super nice. He showed me all the things. I was going to have to drink three (?!) things. A fruity, bubbly, alka seltzery thing, a Really Heavy Thing, and then a thing with a straw. Huh? L didn't mention all the things. The second and third things are both barium. He called them thick barium and thin barium. And he explained what I was going to have to do while we waited for the guy who runs the equipment to arrive. I told him about my frozen shoulder. He said he'd let the other guy know, and that we'd just need to be careful when I was turning over.

The test itself went like this. Stand against the machine on a platform. Drink the alka-seltzer thing in one gulp. (It tastes a lot like the h. pylori test thing.) Then immediately take some of the heavy barium into your mouth, and keep it there until the camera guy tells you to swallow it. (Mother of all gods, that crap tasted like liquid rocks. And like the first guy said, it was super heavy when you picked it up. Rather like you were holding a cup of liquid rocks, actually.) So you repeat the bit where you hold the liquid rocks in your mouth until the camera guy tells you to swallow it. Once you've done this with the entire plastic cup full of liquid rocks, they take the cup and tell you to hang on to the part of the machine you're standing against. It tilts backwards until you're on your back.  Then you get the straw barium. It's a lot thinner, and was comparatively less disgusting. You drink some, then you have to roll completely over 360° in order to coat your insides  with it. Ew. Next was the worst part of the test, for me. Now remember that I'm only qualified for the surgery because of my high blood pressure. My weight alone is too low to qualify. What they have you do is roll over bit by bit, and hold in position every now and then. Do you know how hard that is for a fat person, let alone one with an extremely painful shoulder? Holy crap. Now add to the fact that when you got in position, the particular fellow I had behind the camera would shout (without any warning, mind you) DON'TMOVEDONT'BREATHEDON'TMOVEDON'TBREATHEDON'TMOVEDON'TBREATHE!!! Yeah, um. You gotta tell me to breathe deeply before I have to hold my breath, if you don't want me running out of air. Also, shoulder. in between the yelling and rolling, they give you more of the thin barium to drink every now and then. because that's fun. Whatever. It wasn't too bad, but I didn't love it at all.

Back at the changing/waiting room, K & I had talked about how that wasn't at all what we'd expected from L's description. When we talked to L about that later, she said she didn't tell us about the other things because she hadn't had them. She only had the thing with the straw. So I guess there are two ways to have an upper GI. And AFAICT, it doesn't matter which one you have. Which, damn. I could've done without that cup of liquid rocks.

We had our meeting with the doctor the next day. Will talk about that next time.

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