My Diagnosis – tests start to ramp up.
Jaggy things, whirly things, pointy things and boring things.
Upon being told they'd be in touch. I left and went home. There was no contact the next day, and I’d gone from being worried to wondering what the fuss was, to a large extent. I mean, how bad could it be if they're not in touch. I called the Dr to let him know no one was in contact. His exact words were, 'Innes, there's a lot going on in the background ground, be patient'.
The weekend came and went, and it started; I got a call asking me if I could be at the hospital for scans on Tues, Weds & Thursday of that week.
I had a CT Scan, multiple blood tests, an MRI scan, chest X-rays, and more ultrasounds.
The next week was a Bone Marrow Biopsy. In my experience, this is the single medical procedure that I have experienced that has induced trust issues. Many people, Dr included, Haemo Reg included, Nurse, included; all said it was a tricky but relatively painless procedure. BOLLOCKS is what I say. BOLLOCKS to the lot of them.
Upon entering the room, I was given a gown, told to lie on the bed on my side and with my knees up to my chest. Local Anaesthetic was administered to my right hip toward the rear, not too much problem, apart from the ignominy of lying in the foetal position with my arse exposed to 3 females in the room. I was given a green whistle and instructed on its use. I took my first puff and coughed and spluttered. More puffs with the Nurse counting my in-breaths and my exhalation. The Bone Marrow Extractor Dementor then asked if I was ready and BOOM, the most excruciating pain. I mean, it was brutal. Why do they not knock you out, I was saying to myself. Why is this so painful? She stopped and administered more 'local'. Then, off we went again, this time the pain shot right down my leg and was just as painful as before. It seemed to take an age and then I realised she was using practically her whole body weight to grind this tool of torture into my pelvis. Why is the Marrow Dementor woman the smallest person in a Hospital that has in excess of 5,000 staff? Where was Hatty Jacques, where was the Governess, why wasn't there someone who could punch this tool into me and extract the biopsy as quickly and easily as a cork slips from a nice bottle of Shiraz?
I was duly patched up and sent on my way with some Panadol. PANADOL? Is that it? Fucking Panadol??? Shit, there isn't ANY silver lining in this dark cloud, I mean where's the Endone or the Forte even??
I went home, I'm sure I played up like the proverbial pork chop and was able to solicit more sympathy and care from Kerry than I was really entitled to. It probably even included a nice takeaway meal as a 'reward for being so brave'.
The next day was amazing. Given how much pain I was in the day before. There was relatively little pain at all. The little dressing was intact, although now quite stained, probably with Bone Marrow directly leaking directly out of me as well as spinal fluid and probably some amniotic fluid thrown in for good measure. But it was, all things considered, relatively painless. The dressing stayed on for the directed 72 hrs and was changed without fuss. I say without fuss, that means physically. There would've been much pork-chopping and melodrama from me, of that I have no doubt.
The next day was my Gated Heart Pool Study. It all sounds terribly dramatic and I suppose it is. It involves marking blood with something and reintroducing it to my body and checking how efficiently my heart pumps blood in and out. The whole thing was painless, easy and interesting to speak to the Nuclear Medicine Technologist, who by his own description, is extremely Autistic. Conversation flowed about how this affected his job and how in fact it made him very good due to his lack of emotion and his ability to focus directly on the job at hand without engaging in the fripperies of the moment. All very The Good Doctor if you ask me.
My PET scan was bad, I think. It involves being injected with something and then being left to marinate for an hour before the pictures are taken. I was told the hour was quiet time. I lay on a bed in a semi-darkened room, the door was closed and it was deadly silent. After (say) 15 minutes, the door opened and I was asked to put my phone down, this is QUIET TIME Mr Thomson. The door closed, I picked up my phone again, and the door re-opened within seconds. Mr Thomson, hand it over. I'm 54 and I’d just had my phone confiscated by a young lady in the Nuclear Medicine department, explaining that they need to see where metabolical activity is strongest and that involves zero stimuli. Probably should've fucking explained that earlier, eh? I spotted the bastard camera on the ceiling and glared at it for probably the next couple of minutes and it was a real Paddington hard stare. Then, and here's the bad bit, I had to wait, let's call it by now, 35mins, doing absolutely nothing. I counted the ceiling panels, I counted the plugs, outlets and various other stuff in the room. I wanted to count the hairs on one arm, it was BORING, boring as bat-shit!!!!! Then, no one tells you you have to lie still for up to 20 mins in one position in the scan thingy, a pretty unnatural position at that, and I recall that being x3. By the end, and absolutely no fault of anyone, I was a bit hacked off, got dressed, was given my scans on a disc and off I choofed.
Straight back to the office, found an older Laptop that would take a DISC, and broke the seal on the DISC that read 'DO NOT OPEN, give to Referring Consultant' with seal intact!!!!! Yeah, right.
The scans are amazing. Not that I had any clue what I was looking at if truth be told. However, I could see what 'lit up' means, regardless of my ability to really comprehend. There was an obvious large mass in my Groin, leading to much mirth and schoolboy humour between me and colleagues. Jeez, that looks big!! Not the first time I've heard that, said I.
Tests done, scans done, everything done. All done bar the waiting. Consultant Appointment on the Weds, Weds 12th April. 5 days to wait.