Apparently I misunderstood. The X-ray wasn’t negative as much as inconclusive, so I’ll be going for a CAT scan. Why this scares me, I have no clue. Generally I enjoy being the center of medical attention (take this self-serving blog post, for instance…) but I think I’d rather skip this.
My doc called with my authorization number (remember life before those?) so I called the Medical center and, after 10 minutes of alternatively holding or chatting with bored, rude receptionists, finally I reached a scheduler.
– Yes? What do you need.
– Hi, my doctor said I should schedule a chest CAT scan
– Do you have a prescription?
– No – my doctor called me on the phone…
– [hopefully] she gave me a referral number…
– You NEED a prescription.
– So I should call back?
– You should call back.
– Should I talk to you again, should I ask for you?
– Hello, doctor, they said I need a prescription
– Just tell them that you need a chest CAT scan WITH contrast.
– With contrast?
– With contrast.
– High contrast?
My doctor is Russian. I should not joke.
Back to eternal hold and the forest of the phone trees. I SWEAR I got the same woman
– Hey – you sound familiar! I’ll bet I spoke with you –
– [rude & bored] Ma’am, it doesn’t make any difference, you have to start all over again.
– (Yep, it was you.)
So we made the appointment. The only available time, 5:30 on Friday afternoon – now THAT’S a good time for a procedure, huh? Just as I was hanging up she said,
– Oh, you can’t have Asthma
– I do have asthma
– Then you can’t get the scan here
– You don’t treat people with asthma?
– You can’t get the scan here.
– Should I go someplace else…?
– Someplace else like…?
– The ___________ hospital
[NOTE: The Medical center and hospital are AFFILIATED – she could have volunteered that information when I told her I had asthma. How hard is it for someone to just be nice and volunteer information?]
But by the time I called Radiology at the ______________ hospital, they had closed for the day. Hmmm, I wondered, why is it that you can’t get the CAT scan with Asthma? Let’s look it up…
CAT Scan with Contrast Agent
A contrast agent (e.g., iodine-based dye, barium solution) may be administered prior to CT scan to allow organs and structures to be seen more easily. Contrast agents can be administered through a vein (IV)[ewwww], by injection, or taken orally. Patients usually are instructed not to eat or drink for a few hours prior to contrast injection or IV because the dye may cause stomach upset. Patients may be required to drink an oral contrast solution 1ñ2 hours before CT scan of the abdomen or pelvis.
Contrast dye may cause a rash, itching, or a feeling of warmth throughout the body. Usually, these side effects are brief and resolve without treatment. Antihistamines may be administered to help relieve symptoms.
A severe anaphylactic reaction (e.g., hives, difficulty breathing) to the contrast dye may occur. This reaction, which is rare, is life threatening and requires immediate treatment. Patients with a prior allergic reaction to contrast dye or medication and patients who have asthma, emphysema, or heart disease are at increased risk for anaphylactic reaction. Epinephrine, corticosteroids, and antihistamines are used to treat this condition.
Apparently the reaction can be worse in folks with asthma. Now I know!
As I said, this shouldn’t freak me, but it does. I’m a wimp. That and the Hemoptysis. Eeewwww, again. I didn’t have to share that. Sorry.
Update: I have an appt for tomorrow. Apparently I have to acquire and take a drug called Mederol 12 hours before the scan, and again 2 hours before. And I can’t eat for 4 hours before the scan. Moider, I tells ya.