Getting Nuked

Yesterday was a first.

When I saw my Consultant way back in the early Summer she mentioned that she would like to get a C.T. scan done to see if there were any “organic” reasons as to why I was hearing voices and having “pseudo” visual hallucinations. I agreed to this as I wanted to rule out everything possible for the things that had been going on for years. My old team up north had never broached anything like this so this just further suggested to me that I was getting a wholly different kind of treatment down here.

Fast forward nearly 5 months and I still hadn’t been sent for a scan and I had all but forgotten about it. As you may remember I was having a few problems with a tough depressive state and I had been in regular contact with my CPN trying to get some kind of relief. In the course of the meeting I had with him he bought up if I had ever had a C.T. scan.. my head hit the table (well it would if there had been a table in front of me.) It’s not the first time something had been suggested or said in a meeting and then some time in the future it had been bought up again as if it had never been discussed. I am sure they don’t read the notes they take.. or if they do they are reading every other word and making up a third set of notes about every patient. Once it had been established that the Consultant had in fact asked for a C.T. scan back earlier in the year it was decided that it should be done as soon as possible.

OK so after a few hiccups along the way.. people arguing over who should refer me for blood tests and the actual scan itself. After a couple of cancelled appointments the scan was booked for yesterday. The first scan they wanted me to attend was at 7.30 on a Sunday morning. Now getting patient transport anywhere on a weekend is tricky, but at that time of the weekend it was an impossibility. So it was rebooked.

I put the scan out of my mind as I knew with the depression and funkiness it would drive me up the wall. That was until Sunday night when I suddenly got an attack of the “Oh my Fuck what if there is something REALLY wrong. What if it IS something organic that can’t be fixed with the odd anti psychotic medication.” It kept me awake until past 5am in the morning. I finally dropped off to sleep approximately 90 minutes before my alarm went off to get me up so I could eat and take my pills before the cut off time for no food and drink before the scan.

I spent most of the morning trying to keep my eyes open whilst waiting for my Brother to come round and use our printer to print out some tickets for the kids to visit Santa at Bluewater Shopping Mall. By the time he had been around and left it was too late for me to go back to bed for any worthwhile period of time.. so I just got ready to go out and did what ever I could to not think about getting shoved through a tube. I spent my time virtually walking through the morning. I went and read webpages that held absolutely no interest to me, just anything to not think about what I was heading for.

Our patient transport arrived early so we set off early which inevitably would mean more time sat in a waiting room faced with other who are dreading what was to come. The car journey to the hospital usually takes about 35-40 minutes, but the driver claimed that the traffic was particularly bad and he needed to allow a little extra time. It turned out it was no where near as bad as he thought and we made the trip in 30 minutes.. Yay more waiting.

I found my way to the C.T. department and went to reception. I passed over my appointment letter and the receptionist checked her computer… it was like a scene out of Little Britain.. “Computer Says No!” She couldn’t find any record of my appointment. She checked her paper documents and then her computer again then my letter again.. at this point I am starting to think something might not be quite right. I mentioned that I had been telephoned this morning to confirm I would still be attending. She looked through another box of paper and then back to the first box.. and lo.. there I was. If I wasn’t on edge before I was now. If they couldn’t find a piece of paper 2 feet away from her face what hope was their for the rest of the team. I was told to go and sit and wait to be called.

No sooner had I sat down, a nurse came through to the waiting area with a little stack of papers and called out names. Each person was directed to a changing room to get changed. I was called third and she led me towards a changing room and I was just about to ask “why do I need to get undressed for a head scan?” when she stopped herself and concluded that I didn’t need to get changed due to only having a head scan. She asked me to take out my earing and wait to be called. I sat back down…and waited.. for all of… 2 minutes when the same nurse came out and ushered me into the procedure room. Straight iin front of me as I entered the door was a beige doughnut.

The nurse arranged the bed part of the machine and asked me to lay down.

My stomach rose to my throat and I started to panic inside.

What made the situation worse at that particular moment was, the Nurse hadn’t explained what would happen, how the machine operated.. I mean I didn’t want a lesson in how to perform a C.T. scan, I just wanted a little reassurance about what happened once I laid on the bed.

The information wasn’t coming, so, I did what I did when I had my Gastroscopy a couple of months back.. I laid down and started thinking the tune Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd. In my head I had David Gilmour playing the guitar solo over and over and I was transported to Earls Court in 1981. I was lulling myself into becoming Comfortably Numb. Every so often I would open my eyes and see a reflection of my eyes in the glass work on the machine above me (for a second the song Welcome To The Machine popped into my head.) I was shunted forwards and backwards into and out of the machine. All the while the song is going through my head and time is slipping by and I am trying to not think about the noise the machine was making getting increasingly louder. I’m not sure if it was because I hadn’t had much sleep or if it was a side effect of being in the machine, but my eyes really started to feel like they were burning. I still don’t know.. not sure I really want to find out.

The machine wound down and it all stopped. I opened my eyes and a different Nurse was standing over me unstrapping my head from the table and telling me that it was all over and that the Consultant would get the results in two to three weeks.

And that, as they say, was it. A little bit of an Anti Climax if I am honest. I had heard of people freaking out because of Claustrophobic reactions to being in the machine. Maybe it was because I only went in as far as my shoulders that I didn’t have that reaction. Maybe it was because Pink Floyd got me through another procedure without any major damage. Who knows? All I am thankful for is that it is all over and I can now get on with Christmas without worrying.

In other brief news… The ESA form was returned the middle of last week. So ATOS have the forms and now it’s just a case of waiting to see what their answer will be. I only mention it here as I had mentioned it before. I am certainly NOT going to be getting worked up over Christmas about it, that is unless the bastards don’t send a response on Christmas Eve (knowing how they like to send letter to make sure they reach me on a Friday or Saturday nothing would surprise me.) There is nothing more that I can do about it now.. so why let it bother me.

This is a relaxation "garden" at the Medway Maritime Hospital. (Click to read a description)

That’s it from me for this one.

Until Next Time…

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