Thursday, July 21, 2011

What it's like to have a CT scan

Hrm, 5:15am and I'm wide awake!  So what better time to write about yesterday? Again you guys are the BEST and I appreciate all your warm comments and support.

I had the CT scan yesterday.  Thank you for the comments on what the CT scan is like.  First, no breakfast.  I had to drink the special drink and also had the IV injection.  The drink tasted fruity, and was the consistency of a milkshake so I pretended at various points like it was a chocolate milkshake.  Or that I was a reality game show contestant.  It did feel like the drink was regenerating itself in the cup at times, lol.  I was at work drinking the drink, and I was glad to be there doing my job instead of at home worrying about my health.

Then it was time for the test itself. The tech sort of interrogated me. I felt like if the doc ordered the test, that should be enough, but she asked a lot of questions, trying to understand why I was having the test, I guess. One of her questions was "why do you have a pelvic kidney" which I felt was like asking "why do you have brown hair?" and I said it's congenital and then she explained she thought I might have been a transplant recipient as that's where transplanted kidneys are placed? Not me. Like I wrote in last night's post, if I was on my toes I would have quoted Lady Gaga and said "baby, I was born this way".  She says a pelvic kidney can not be felt, so now it's 2-2 in that game, with the surgeon and chiro feeling the kidney and the CT tech and urologist saying it can't be felt. I pulled out my old analogy "maybe it's like when you make your bed and you leave your socks under the covers. there's a lump there because the socks are pushing up the covers" and she said that is possible they are feeling the displacement since the kidney would be pushing up the intestines, because my kidney is behind the intestines. Or that what the others is feeling is just abdominal fat.

She said the test would determine for sure if I have a hernia. At the end of the test she talked a lot about the orientation of my kidney being horizontal instead of vertical (interesting, since the ultrasound from 6/14 said it was "slightly malrotated".) This makes me think maybe the kidney is moving around? Is that even possible?  I was in some pain in that area during the CT test whereas I was in no pain at all on 6/14 in that area.

She said she thinks maybe it's something gastrointestinal, have I been scoped?  No. So then I asked if she saw a hernia and she said she doesn't read the images (I know, they're not supposed to say anything but since she was talking about the orientation of my kidney and talking gastrointestinal I thought I'd give it a shot) but she said she didn't see anything "big".

So the test itself was removing my bra (she let me keep my shirt on, and I was wearing gym pants (no metal) and socks, though she wouldn't let me keep my cardigan on) and lying on a table. then she put the IV in and left the room. Unlike an MRI where the table slides into a narrow tube and is very loud, the CT is very "out in the open" and the machine looks like a donut on its side, like Vanessa said. The first few images are taken without IV contrast. Then she comes back in and starts the dye injection. she said I would feel warm and like I peed my pants, and that I might taste a metallic taste in my mouth. Oh yes she was right about the warm feeling spreading through my body and the sensation like I peed my pants. No metallic taste though my mouth felt weird esp the tip of my tongue, but all of those feelings went away probably in a minute. Then there were more images taken.

During the image taking process, this computer generated voice said "breathe in and hold your breath" and then the table moved and then the computer voice said "breathe".  At one point the tech checked in with me over the intercom.  I kept my eyes closed for much of the test though there was no real reason to.  it's definitely easier than a MRI, though for the MRI I had (which was 2 years ago for my lumbar back pain) there wasn't anything for me to drink beforehand and I wasn't injected with contrast dye.

The tech told me to not get too many CT scans and that the radiation accumulates over time, like sun damage.

I was out of there in half an hour and back at work afterward.   I took a training course in the afternoon and thankfully did not get the runs from the special drink.  If you really want to know I was gassy but that was it.  I asked the tech about the runs and she said it wouldn't happen with this drink.

Then last night I had the appt with my chiro for my shoulder and of course we talked about the CT scan, my kidney, and my numbness.   He said he really doesn't think I have MS or a mini-stroke; he said why would your PCP tell you those things and get you all worked up?  He said anything is a possibility but there's no need to freak out at this point.  I told him about my granddad's mini stroke at 42 and he said, "Let me guess: was he a smoker?  and a drinker?"   I don't smoke or drink.  He also doesn't think I have vitamin deficiencies.  He said a B12 deficiency presents itself like in all toes or all fingers, not one sided like my numb/weird feeling..   He thinks it's musculosketal, like nerve impingement (which was a possibility my PCP mentioned too) though my muscles were not too tight in many areas.  and then when I told him I was outside most of Saturday at a party and didn't turn the a/c on til my weird feeling Sunday night (it was pretty hot this weekend), he said "stop.  don't tell me  anymore".   My chiro is definitely my best doctor and knows me the best.  My dad said it sounds like he is more like an "old fashioned" doctor of years ago.  Before all my back pain I used to think chiros were quacks but this one is not!  He does active release technique which I have found to be incredibly helpful for my knee and back pain.

Then last night I talked with my neighbors for a couple of hours, wrote a quick post, and went to sleep around 11:15.  I woke up at 12:30 and then at 5am.

My back pain has been super light lately and even non-existent for several hours.  The meditation is helping that.
My knee pain only happens occasionally with transitioning and is very light.
My shoulder is painful during certain movements and I'm aware of it though not focussing on it.
My ab is hurting right now but not very much.  I'm not miserable like I was the Friday a few weeks back when I wrote my huge frustration post.
I walked up and down stairs several times without thinking about it.  I felt lightheaded and a little weird last night but I think that's understandable.

I am grateful for all your positive comments.  Be well!!!


  1. So glad you are done with the test! I agree with your chiropractor that what the other doctor told you would only get you upset at this point and he had no foundation for saying it.

  2. No runs! Best news all day! Yay! ;)

  3. I find it frustrating when some in health care choose to argue against why you're feeling pain instead of finding the cause of it. I sure hope you find more like your chiropractor who are more interested in helping you! Good luck!!! =)

  4. I'm glad to hear that all went well Kyle! Sorry to be answering you so late, but yes, I am a nurse. I used to work on a medical/surgical floor for 5 yrs before I left my job last year to be a SAHM to my two kids. I don't know what's harder, being a nurse, or being the patient?? Certainly I can identify with a lot of your frustrations with the medical staff!!

    BTW, I am glad you didn't get the runs either. Most patients complain of it hours after the CT scan. Either the runs or constipation, but I tended to get the patients with the runs.

    Anyhow, you are one step closer to a definitive answer about what is going on. Best wishes!

  5. I've had a CT scan, and it is a funny feeling isn't it? Weird. I'm pulling for you, girl, and hoping those doctors fix you up so you can enjoy your life fully.

  6. I finally realized I would have to find your blog again if I wanted any news from you! I have several friends with blogs and have just been so busy with work and projects and travel and distractions and tendinitis (hope to get PT for it) that I haven't looked up anyone's blogs. I have had a number of CT scans and drunk many flavors of barium; the berry isn't bad!I hope and pray that finally these drs are getting to the bottom of the cause of your pain! It must be super frustrating. Know we are thinking of you!!


Thank you for reading! I love hearing from you! Because I've been getting lots of spam comments, I'm changing the settings to moderated comments.