Friday, 31 August 2012

In which I become radioactive

So from the warm bosom of the oncology unit I found myself thrust down to Guildford Diagnostic Imaging on the 30th August

Allianz Medical who run the MRI scanning and PET scans at Guildford Diagnostic Imaging are clearly a privately run company.  The tea is from one of those free machines and the biscuits are posh ones in individual wrappers. The magazines in reception are in date and there's copies of today's Mail and Telegraph to peruse. Not that I had a chance. 

First I was a bit late. The Royal Surrey Hospital is a cunning optical illusion with two ground floor levels. You may enter at ground floor level and feel that you are walking in the right direction, and not going up or down stairs, but you soon discover that you have mysteriously climbed a floor and have reached the first floor. It was either designed by hobbits or hogwarts. Anyway by the time I arrived, I was slightly hot, bothered and out of breath (which okay is how I arrive at most places) and it was already going a bit array. Oh and I couldn't eat until the scan was finished. 

The Royal Surrey Hospital

I still had to wait another hour to be seen though - this is the longest delay I've had since this whole cancer experience started and was my first non-NHS appointment (even though the NHS have paid for the scan). I was then taken into a room with a ridiculously short bed, so short my feet came off the end. Apparently I am too tall - at 5.9"?! Do men not have scans? Must be the hobbits again. I was told to lie down and not move...

The nurse left me without speaking and went into the corridor (I wasn't sure why). I could see just about round the corner that she was opening and closing a big metal box. She then re-emerged to my cubicle wearing purple gloves and carrying a smaller metal box. I honestly expected dry ice at this point. The needle was revealed with it's metal gun attachment and she flicked the end. Nurse Ratchett met Blowfeld...

I've had cameras placed where the sun doesn't shine (but a tumour does grow), a blue tube inserted that runs to my heart and numerous blood tests and injections without any real misgivings, but at this point there was something a bit mad professor like about the whole experience. The strange signs up reminding me that I was radioactive and that men and women must urine sitting down so all radioactivity is flushed away didn't help. 

The isotope (?) dye attaches itself to any metabolic movement so while it's being dispersed throughout your body no movement is allowed. Not even reading as this uses eye muscles. 

After an hour I was sent through to the scanning room and told to lie down on the bit of the machine that slides you in and out of the scanner. Again you can't move. For about 45 minutes I lay still with my hands above my head (not great with a trapped nerve in my shoulder) and was forced to listen to Heart FM. I don't know if it was the absence of my lovely wonderful husband or the dentist like feel of the place or that I was tired and hungry but this was a bit of an endurance test. I had to listen to Muse for the last 5 minutes. Oh yes. I've suffered. 

And then I got dressed and left. Al was waiting outside with hot cross buns and a big smile - both of which were leapt upon. 


  1. Hooray for Al and hot cross buns. Take care all of you, Big love susie

  2. Hot cross buns in August?! Jane, where did you find this hero of a husband? The Nurse Ratchett-Blowfeld imagery did make me chuckle too. Lots of love to everyone! Xxx