“The technician missed her vein! The injection didn’t go into her blood stream! Page Dr. Lizensczhacts! STAT!” The flustered nurse screamed across the Emergency Room.
The skin on my arms bubbled up until it was covered with welts and blisters. The heart monitor beeped loudly and the oxygen mask strapped to my face felt suffocating. People in white lab coats surrounded me and pinned my body down to the hospital bed with restraints. And when Dr. Lizensczhacts arrived he jammed tiny, sharp, needles into those blisters. Popping the welts, hot, green, slime oozed out. And I thought I was going to vomit.
I sprung up in bed, mid panic attack, from that horrible nightmare, with soaking wet sheets. I never remember my dreams. And I hope I never remember another one.
I glanced at the clock.
I didn’t have to get out of bed until 6:00am but I decided to get up anyway, mostly because I didn’t want to have another scary dream. And also because I wanted to have enough time to mentally prepare myself for the day.
The results of my MRI revealed abnormal bone marrow and I was scheduled for a full body bone scan. I hate going to the hospital. That’s where all of the sick and dying people are. And it smells. Badly.
My mother and I arrived at 8:15am.
We registered and checked into the Outpatient ward. I filled out the necessary paperwork and waited for my name to be called. There’s something so unsettling about waiting. My mind wanders and I always end up imagining the Worst Case Scenario.
What if the machine breaks while I’m trapped inside?
What if I’m allergic to the injection?
What are they going to find anyway?
And that nightmare sure didn’t help matters.
Luckily, we didn’t have to wait very long.
“Miss Hawthorne, they’re ready for you.” The woman behind the reception desk informed me. “You can go back now.”
“Okay.” I smiled. “Thank you.”
My stomach flipped. And my heart climbed into my throat.
I grabbed my things, and my mother’s hand, as we navigated our way down the corridor.
Suddenly, a man popped out of nowhere.
“Hello! My name is Bob and I’ll be your technician today!”
I liked him immediately. And not just because he talked like Jack McFarland from the television series Will & Grace, but mostly because he was so kind, and so caring, and so understanding, and totally-super-cheerful.
“Hey, um… just so you know, I think I am more afraid of the radioactive injection than anything else. I have this terrible phobia of needles. And my veins are really crappy. And it usually takes at least 8-10 sticks for them to get the IV into my arm. And also, I have a tendency to pass out. In fact, I might faint right now just thinking about it.”
Bob smiled wide and reassured me. “Well then, it’s your lucky day, because we have a special Intravenous Therapy Team, specifically for people with phobias and crappy veins.”
“GET OUT!” I yelled in my best Elaine Benes voice.
“I’ll put a call into them right now.” Bob chirped. “In the meantime, here’s the remote control for the television. There are sugar free cookies and bottled water on the table and I also brought some books from home. Feel free to read them, and if you like any of them, feel free to take the book home with you.”
I’ve never been treated so nicely in a hospital. My mother and I looked at each other in complete disbelief. It was extremely comforting to have someone so passionate about their job and has such pride in taking care of the patients needs.
Within a matter of seconds the ‘IV Therapy Dream Team’ arrived on the scene.
“Are you Meleah?” A tiny woman softly asked.
“Uh. Yes I am.” Only I couldn’t look at the giant cart filled with needles, and IV’s, and gauze bandages, she was pushing.
“I will be taking care of your IV today.”
“M’kay.” I regressed to the age of five, “But can my mommy come with me too?”
Technician Bob, my mom, the tiny IV woman, and I walked into the procedure room. I lied down on the ice-cold table, fully prepared to freak out, when my Xanax finally kicked in.
And right before the IV lady got started, another woman, an actual therapist, joined us.
“Just close your eyes and imagine you’re on a beach somewhere.” She quietly chanted.
While looking at the therapist to my right, I felt the IV woman grabbing my left arm and flinched. “But I don’t like the beach! It’s too much work. You have to carry all kinds of chairs, and towels, and coolers. And you can never find a parking space. And trying to find a bathroom is even worse. And you can never get the sand out of your vjj for weeks!”
“Okay, then.” The therapist maintained her soothing tone, “Let’s close your eyes and think of somewhere else, far, far away.”
I was just about to start singing the alphabet, when the therapist said something that made me feel totally normal.
“I think people who aren’t scared of needles have something wrong with them. It’s just your natural survival instinct kicking in.” Her freckled face beamed. “You know a sharp object is coming toward you and there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re mind just wants to protect your body.”
“Exactly!” I felt vindicated.
“Okay,” The IV woman swabbed my left hand with alcohol, “On the count of three…”
And with one quick pinch and just one stick the IV was in!
“It’s over already?” Sweat trickled down my back.
I sighed relief. “Ohmygod. YAY. That wasn’t bad at all!”
“Now you just have to wait for about two hours for the radioactive material we injected to soak into your bones. You can go back home if you want, or you can go to the cafeteria for some food. But you must drink a lot of fluids before the scan.”
“Alrighty.” I smiled at my mother totally relieved the worst part was already over.
And with that the ‘IV Therapy Dream Team’ gathered their things and left.
“Okay, Meleah.” Bob walked over to the machine that performs the scan. “Let me show you how this thing works. It’s very simple and you have nothing to worry about.”
He explained everything in simple terms, like how the injection would make my bones light up so the machine could get extraordinary images with perfect clarity. And how my whole body would never be inside the donut ring at once. And how I would be able to move my head freely. And how it would probably only take about an hour, maybe even less.
And once I realized how simple the actual scan would be, all of my fears, and all of my worry, and all of my concerns, were gone. I had nothing left to freak out about, except for the reason WHY I was having this scan in the first place.
The scan was so painless and so simple; I actually nodded off at one point. Bob had to wake me up because he needed to move my knee into a specific position to get the inside of my bone from another angle.
My teeth were chattering. “I’m freezing.”
“Oh we can’t have that!” Bob smiled, “I’ll be right back.”
And then he proceeded to swaddle me, like a newborn baby, with warm and toasty blankets that felt as though they just came out of the dryer.
After an hour or so, I’m not really sure, because I slept for most of it, the test was over. And I was free to go home.
On the way out of the hospital I felt incredibly grateful for the pleasant treatment I had received. And if I ever have to go through something like that again, I am requesting ‘The IV Dream Team’ and Bob!
I am also THRILLED to announce the results of my scan have come back.
[* insert drum roll *]
I do NOT have bone cancer.
Thank you, Lord.
But I do have severe rheumatoid arthritis, which will be managed with the use of anti-inflammatory and pain medications.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by chronic synovitis that progresses to destruction of cartilage and bone. Bone marrow (BM) cells have been shown to contribute to this pathogenesis. Therefore, BM cells may be where the pathogenesis of RA originates, making the study of their abnormal regulatory networks very important. And that explains why my MRI results revealed abnormal bone marrow.
And that is something I can TOTALLY live with.
And now, I can return to my regularly scheduled life.
If you liked my post, feel free to subscribe to my rss feeds