Saturday, 10 December 2016

I'm radioactive, radioactive!

As mentioned in the last post, I had to get a CT Scan this week on Tuesday.  I flew down the night before and slept in a hotel.  I got up early and was at the hospital by 7a, an hour before my appointment.  I went and registered and then went to the diagnostic imaging department.  Once I was directed to the correct set of seats, a tech came out of the CT Scan room and gave me two medium cups of radioactive water to drink.  This was so they would be able to see my digestive system.   I had to drink both cups in under 10 minutes.  It took me 13 minutes, but I was the only one timing it.   I had to wait 30-45 mins before they brought me into the room. 

The room had a couple seats and a plant.  The CT Scanner was behind another door.  I was given a hospital gown and the IV needle was implanted in my arm and then tested to ensure it was set correctly.  I was told during the scan they were going to insert a radioactive dye into my vein so that they can see my blood vessels.  I was warned that many people who have it done feel warm as the dye is warm, and sometimes they feel like they are peeing.  He didn't say "felt like they have to pee" he actually said "peeing"  and he did it a second time.  I was a little scared of that! 

They brought me into the CT Scanner room and I lay down on the white, thin table.  The CT Scanner looks like an MRI machine, but more like a doughnut than a cylinder.  They told me they were going to do three scans: one with things how they are, one with the radioactive dye, and one once they have flushed the dye from my veins with saline.  I was told to raise my hands above my head and the IV line was placed around my thumb so it wouldn't get caught on anything.

I was scanned once, felt nothing.  They told me they were going to inject the dye.  I said "Okay."  Then I feel a hot liquid go past my thumb.  Not a second later I felt it go into my arm, and within 2 seconds it was throughout my body.  It wasn't just warm, it really was hot, but not scalding.  Still, I was starting to feel like I was overheating when I felt cool go through the IV at my thumb, and within a second my body temperature lowered again.  I was scared for a second though!  They did the scan, and then they flushed out my veins with saline and did the scan one more time like they said. The entire process was maybe 5-10 minutes.  When they came to unhook the IV, I asked how long it takes the dye to leave my system.  He said usually 24-48 hours and that it leaves the body through the urine. The radioactive water I knew would just pass through the GI tract.  It caused a bit of diarrhea which went away within 24 hours.

I did some research afterwards about CT Scans.  Apparently one scan gives you the equivalent of 2.7 years worth of background radiation.  The dye and water were also radioactive, and I'm not sure how much and online they said it varies from test to test and hospital to hospital.  But all told, I probably had a decade's worth of radiation in the span of an hour.  But it only slightly increases my risk of cancer, so there's that.

Getting home was an adventure.  After the flight being delayed for hours, we get into the plane and take off.  We made it all the way to Weagamow Lake when the pilot turned on a light and told us they hadn't plowed the runway, so he was taking us back to Sioux Lookout.  There were 7 of us affected by this.  We returned safely and were told we were rebooked onto a flight the next day around noon.  So I had to call the hotel and book another room for the night.

Returned to the airport the next morning.  Flights were delayed again because of weather, but another flight was able to land in Weagamow so they were pretty sure we'd be fine. We were delayed a couple hours but then we finally were loaded on a plane and an hour later we were in Weagamow Lake.  Once Andrew picked me up and I  put my stuff in the house, I worked the rest of the work day.

And that was my adventure to Sioux Lookout.  lol  As I said to one of the others on the flight, "Let's not have this much excitement next time."  She agreed.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

I have HOW many days?

Two days ago, on Thursday 1 Dec, I get a call in the morning from the Nursing Station.  I have a CT Scan in Sioux Lookout on Tuesday, 6 December at 8am. HOLY SHIT!  That's not much notice, but when I went to pick up the appointment sheet I noticed it was a fax that was sent in that day at 11am.  So the Nursing Station had called me as soon as they received the fax.

Had to scramble a bit to get flights worked out before end-of-day Friday (i.e., 5pm) but it was arranged and I have my itinerary.  Because the CT Scan is so early in the morning, I am coming back the same day as the scan, so really I'm only gone from here for about 24 hours (4ish pm Mon to 4ish pm Tues).

Last night as I was going to bed, I realized I hadn't yet booked a hotel room for the night I'll be in Sioux.  So today on my much I went to Expedia and booked a room at the same hotel I was at last time.  I didn't sleep well the last time, but that wasn't the hotel's fault.  There were kids running up and down the halls all night.  Besides, they are the only hotel out of the 3 listed who have free transportation from the airport to the hotel, so I save on cab fare.

I've also been asking about getting a local SIM card for the cell phone network here.  Apparently it works anywhere on the Rogers network (considered roaming when on Rogers) and the local tower offers 3G data now.  The rates for the local cell phone network are MUCH CHEAPER than Fido's pay-as-you-go rate I've been using, which is their 40 cents a minute plan.  It's 40 cents for every local minute, 30 cents for every SMS, and like an additional 50 cents per minute if it's long distance.  No data.  KNet is like... 5 cents per local minute, 5 cents per SMS, and 30 cents for a long distance roaming minute,  And since KNet is also pay-as-you-go and you top up with vouchers, I can top up only as I need to.  Just have to make sure I have a balance every couple months because after 3 months of no balance I'd lose the phone number (Fido gives you 6 months).  This way I shouldn't easily burn through $40-$50 in usage in a week when I'm down south.