You’d think that after 14 YEARS of being poked and prodded, sliced and diced, zapped and infused, that I’d be a bit more sanguine about shit like this. Well APPARENTLY NOT. In fact, today both humiliated and infuriated me in equal measure. Had my umpteenth CT scan scheduled for this afternoon and so I got up early so I could at least have a coffee and a yoghurt before I had to start the pre-scan fast. I used to always have them in the mornings, which was way easier for the fasting bit, but I understand they try to keep the morning appointments open for hospital patients, same with chemo and oncology appointments. So anyhow, fine. This was maybe my 4th or 5th late afternoon CT appt (5.30 pm) and I know the drill by now.
Showed up in plenty of time, got shown to the room, was told to take off my bra and anything else with metal and then was ACTUALLY SCOLDED by one of the (what?) technicians, nurses, whatever because I hadn’t noticed my blouse had a couple of metal bits attached to it. WHAT HAVEN’T YOU EVER HAD A CT SCAN BEFORE??? she barked before the three of them acted like it was the end of the fucking world to find me a disposable papery garment. They fucking shamed me. So already not off to a good start.
I got up on the bed and, the always dicey part – finding a vein – commenced. The girl in charge of this task not only looked about 14 years old but she was clearly in training. It was also clear that the other two “in charge” were happy to let her make (very painful) mistakes at my expense. I’m not even going to go into the protocol errors they made because yes in fact I HAVE HAD CT SCANS BEFORE, MORE THAN I CAN COUNT. So I know they didn’t do things right today. When the novice finally found a vein in my other hand (she didn’t even try my arm, it was too “complicado”) they didn’t test it with saline to make sure I wasn’t going to end up with a whack of toxic contrast liquid filling up my hand. Nope, it was straight into the machine without one word to me about what I was about to experience.
WITHOUT ONE FUCKING WORD ABOUT WHAT I WAS ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE. NOTHING.
My arms were roughly flung over my head and, before I could try to find a comfortable position, they left the room and I was told not to move. Two passes through the machine, then the novice came in and said they were going to inject the contrast now… I said, hey my right arm and shoulder is quite painful… was told it would be over in no time. And it was. Shortest ever CT I’ve ever had. So did they skip a step or two because I was complaining? You know what? I will never know because these were the most inept and callous bunch of “hospital professionals” I’ve ever had the bad luck to come across.
For those who have never had a CT scan, my experiences at the Virgen de Rocío hospital have been mostly very positive and this is what usually happens there. Three people meet you, call you by name, ask how you are feeling, tell you there is nothing to worry about… then (if you’re a woman) you take your bra off and lie down fully clothed on the machine bed. Then one of the technicians SKILLFULLY inserts a needle to introduce the contrast solution. Then they tell you… at first you will go through the machine and will have to hold your breath for a period of time, so just relax it won’t take long. Then the contrast solution will be introduced and you will feel a warm sensation in your genitals and may experience a metallic taste in your mouth. You will be told this is normal. Then you will go through the machine again. And you know, I have always found this so sweet, that they are so keen to tell me everything I already know. Until today.
I realise now that they were simply following protocol. You never assume anything, you make sure that the patient is clear about everything that is about to happen. You ask if they have any questions. You put them at ease as much as possible. NONE OF THAT happened today. And I realise that part of the reason I am so furious about this (aside from the unnecessarily bruised and battered hands) is … what if it hadn’t been me? What if it had been someone – a first timer – very unsure and frightened, not sure what to expect, not to mention probably already worried they might have cancer? And then this trio of unfeeling inept jerkoffs were what they ended up with? I’m still fuming about this.
Anyhow… half expecting that the test results from today’s scan will not be viable since I don’t think it was done properly. But that’s a future battle that won’t happen for another two weeks or so. I hope I’m okay!