Inside Story

I schedule the CT scan and bone scan for the same day.  No sense ruining more than one.

For the CT scan, I’m instructed to drink a bottle of viscous glop (the label says “Banana Smoothie”) that suggests camel mucous.  Half the night before, half the morning of.  There are no ingredients listed, so I call the clinic and ask if there’s any sugar in it (I don’t eat sugar.  It’s been over 30 years since my last Mars Bar).

“Nobody ever asked me that,” says the voice on the phone.  “Let me ask the technician.”

She returns with a sheet that contains the ingredients, which she reads to me.  There are words that sound like a tape rewinding, but none of them is a sugar product.  Rat poison, maybe.  We’re good.

I show up bright and scowling and do the infernal paperwork.  Then I am shepherded into the examination room, where the CT scan tech sits me down while she frowns over my records.  She asks me why she is doing this procedure.

Huh?  I explain that I left the prescription at the front desk, but basically it was because my doctor ordered it.  I know that, she says impatiently (pun), but I want to know why I am doing it?    This confuses the fuck out of me.  I don’t know, I say, This is the room I was led into, and you’re standing in it.  Isn’t it your job?  Is there somebody else this morning that was supposed to handle this maybe?

Offstage Greek chorus:  Good start, Squathole.  Way to go.  That bitch can hurt you bad, you know.

It turns out she means, “What specialist ordered this and what diagnosis do you have that prompted the need for this exam?” Why the fuck she didn’t just say this?   The hell kind of question is, “Why am I doing this?”  What, I wandered into the breakfast meeting of the Existentialist Society?  Is her next question, Why am I here? Or, Why is there air? And of course, this shakes me up — if the fucking technician doesn’t know why she’s doing it, what makes me suppose she knows what the fuck she’s doing?

Next she asks me if I’m allergic to any medication.  With that chorus glaring at me offstage, I stop myself from offering to fetch the 10-page form I just completed which has the same damn question so she can save us both some time, and just say, “Not that I know of.”  Then she asks me if I can eat shellfish.  I tell her No, I couldn’t even drink coffee this morning — had to consume nothing for 3 hours before the exam but her banana flavored camel snot.

“I don’t mean that,” she says.  “I mean are you ABLE to eat shellfish.”  The fuck?  “I TOLD you,” I say.  “I’m not able to eat ANYTHING.  That’s what FASTING means.  Those were my instructions.  No food or drink three hours before.”  I’m ready to flee at this point.  This person is a stark raving imbecile, and she has clamps and needles.

But no, it turns out she wants to know if I’m allergic to iodine, which is found in high concentrations in shellfish.  Here we go again.  If she wants to know if I’m allergic to iodine, why the Christ doesn’t she just fucking ask “Are you allergic to iodine?”  What is wrong with her?  It’s like communicating with tongue click language people..

And why does she even care if I’m allergic to iodine?  Because she plans to inject some into me for the test.  At which point, chorus or no, I lose it.  This is the first time anybody involved in the process says anything about injecting iodine.  I knew all about the fasting, the banana mucous, and showing up early for the paperwork.  Nobody said shit about injecting iodine — and I’d already scheduled the test later in the day when they’re going to shoot radioactive crap into me for the bone scan.  How many injections of toxic substances in one day before I grow horns or bleed from my ears and eyeballs?   I never would have scheduled both just hours apart had I known, or, had I the opportunity to research the matter.

She assures me there’s no danger, but I’m not having this.  I’m not a goddam Petri dish, and I don’t like pop quizzes or surprises on the exam table.  Which is what I tell the technician.  So we do it without it.

This isn’t my first go-around with the medical professional act.  They like to talk in code and jargon, and don’t tell me what I want to know, which is: everything.  No sudden change in plans.  Nobody even takes my temperature if I don’t know it’s part of the process, fully explained in advance, and nothing happens unless I approve.  I’m the patient. Me, Jack Dogshit.  We do it my way, and my way is 100% transparency.

It’s not like I’m sprawled there bleeding to death or having a stroke (yet).

Now we wait for the results.  I predict they’ll find nothing but acrid bile.  Of course, that’s kinda evident even without looking inside.

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9 Responses to Inside Story

  1. Joe Balls says:

    Nice attitude, Pothole. You’re lucky she did’t irradiate your nuts into Belgian waffles.

  2. Lois Terms says:

    Yes — she has clamps and needles. And lots of patience — as well as patients — or you’d probably still be there.

  3. Kim Chee says:

    This made me laugh my ass off. But I’ve had the same feelings at the way these medical people go about their business, making me feel less like a human being and more like a piece of data. You don’t walk into their clinics and labs in the best frame of mind to begin with, and they seem to enjoy keeping you off balance and unsure of how to cooperate…..and the next thing you know you’ve signed something to cover their butts and you don’t know what or why.

    I guess I’m relieved at seeing somebody take them on, even if it comes off sounding like a comedy routine.

  4. Camel Mucous. Its tasted like camel mucous. Few can make the comparison….How do you know?

    Little Iodine, never heard of her.

    Now stop taking everything so literally, lay down, turn over , put your ass in the air and shut the fuck up.
    Very best
    Ted Haggard

  5. Moose and Squirrel says:

    I’m a lab tech, and your worst nightmare.

    The reason we ask these questions the way we do is not to confuse or make people uncomfortable, but to make it easier for them. We find that cold, professional talk makes patients nervous, so we find ways to get vital information by asking just the sort of innocent sounding questions you somehow misconstrue as sinister attempts to sneak something by.

    I suspect you’re paranoid, but I’m a lab tech, not a shrink. Or a spy. Or an assassin. Or an organ bandit. Etc.

    If you had to deal with 50 patients a day, all upset, worried, and frustrated with the expense, delays, and discomfort our health care system imposes, you’d have a better appreciation of the way we get people through their ordeals.

    I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but it looks to me like you marched in there determined to have one, and when that happens there’s nothing we can do to stop you. While it’s tempting, we’re not allowed to use our “clamps and needles” as weapons.

    Good luck with your treatment.

    • Squathole says:

      Moose and Squirrel:

      Great name.

      I can’t speak for the rest of your patients, but if I’m not spoken to and otherwise treated professionally — “cold” as you define it — by medical staff, I feel cheated, less than confident, and royally honked off. I don’t give a rat’s anus how hard it is to handle 50 whiners a day — when I stagger in your lair, treat me straightforwardlly, and knock off your little games. I am not paranoid and I don’t go in to these things looking for trouble — interesting that you’d characterize my attitude about no nonsense and straight talk that way. An experienced professional not all wrapped up in herself and stuck in her ways should have figured out in the first 30 seconds that she was handling me all wrong. FWIW, I didn’t have a single problem with the staff at the next appointment, and not coincidentally, THAT tech asked me if I had allergies to medications, not if I could eat scallops, mushrooms, or camel mucous.

      Thanks for your comment. I hope you’ll hang around as I recount these experiences, and tell your colleagues to do the same. I welcome their input as well.

  6. The Greek Chorus says:

    Eureka! Another drama that reveals how tragedy and comedy are two sides of the same coin.

  7. Kent Standit says:

    Did you intend this to be as funny as it is? If you did, I can’t wait for your account of getting radioactive seeds planted up your ass. In fact, get somebody to tape it and put in on poopshoottube.

  8. Obalesque: somebody has tapped into your computer and written this in responnse to the comment from the lab tech, …..” I am not paranoid and I don’t go in to these things looking for trouble ”

    Thats like Hitler saying he didn’t invade Poland looking for trouble. “Vot did I do. You started it” .

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