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Another brief gasp of air... - Micole Khemarrica — LiveJournal
Another brief gasp of air...
Sorry I haven't posted in a while...

The short story is I'm still having medical issues, still unemployed, and still working on my ADHD.

The long story:

Medical: During a routine visit to my primary, I mentioned having some chest pain but not like a heart attack... she and I both agreed it was skeletal-muscular in origin, but just as a precaution she had me take an EKG.  Surprisingly, she found something... and it wasn't my MVP murmur. Joy.  So, off to the cardiologist for a "stress test"... the infamous treadmill.  As the technician is abrading my skin to apply the sensors in their gelatinous adhesive, she mentions that if they determine there's reasons for a more detailed exam (i.e. they found something in the treadmill test), I would get to do this all over again, only with the added adventure of a radioactive isotope injected into my bloodstream.  I said, "Knowing my general history of tests, I'll end up doing that one too."  While going through the progressively faster and steeper treadmill test, I chatted amiably with the tech, who was impressed I could still talk.   I managed to complete the treadmill test without my asthma hitting me (as it's wont to do with hard exercise), she praised me and assured me that I probably won't need the second test.

Ah, but she doesn't know my body like I do.  Sure enough, I got the phonecall  less than a week later to inform me that the cardiologist wanted to do the second treadmill test... whee.

The second test was more extreme in a number of ways: The test was expected to take 4 hours.  I had to fast beforehand, then after they abraded my skin for a second time (Fortunately, this was 2 weeks later than the first test, so the nasty rash-irritation scars from the first abrading had healed) and rigged me up with all the monitoring sensors, they added an IV shunt on the back of my right hand.  It was painful enough that I started going into shock and told them so -- having to explain in detail the sensations to a disbelieving medical professional is always an annoyance, but at least this time the technician from the first test showed up, saw me, and quickly moved me onto a table to recover  (I apparently had crossed the threshold where my face was sheet white) which took me 10 minutes or so.  Once my color was back, it was time to inject the isotope into my system, wait several minutes for it to get to my heart; Then we shuffled over to the medical imager, where I laid down in the narrow bed and held still for a 25-minute exposure in their MRI-like camera. 

I don't mind the idle time, I can fall asleep like that.  But in no time at all it was that dreaded treadmill run again, only this time I had a specific target heartrate to get up to... and both the isotope/camera tech and the treadmill tech were shouting me on for those last 5 minutes.  This time my asthma did hit me, and after I was injected with the isotope a second time, I took a couple of hits from my inhaler and got to wait in a waiting room for the needed 15 minutes for it to reach my heart.  The waiting room rest period was also the first time I could eat, and I heartily tore into my tuna insta-snack while chatting with another lady who was also there for the same test.  Then it was time to shuffle back to the camera room, this time for a 'shorter' exposure time of 18 minutes.  Once that was done, the sensors came off and I was free to glow -- err, go.

Arriving home and feeling a little wonky from the test, I allowed partypup to play with his christmas gift -- a hobby giegercounter.  The supposedly radioactive marble that came with it barely got a peep from the instrument, but as he pointed it at me ... K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K!  That was rather surprising... and I was 12 feet away from him.  It became an interesting investigation to see how long I would remain 'hot' and how fast the decay was.   But what was also interesting was an effect I didn't think about at first: Anything I touched would briefly also triggur the sensitive device.  Point giegercounter at cat: one tick, at most.  I hug the cat, then step back, and the instrument came alive with the sound of angry crickets.  

Cool. :)

Hours later, I'm upstairs in my room weeding through my email, and I hear the klik-klik-klik of the counter, the clicking getting stronger and faster as Cory tracked up the stairs... I apparently left a trail.

It took well over a week for the isotope to become inert and/or removed from my body... the liver and my lymph nodes the last holdouts.  In the meantime, I had found a psychiatrist who specialized in AD/HD that could give me a more accurate diagnosis, but she lived in San Francisco.  My other medical issues of IBS still happen, though must less often, but still all the various physical ailments seem to have a common theme: attributed to, or exacerbated by stress.  And the biggest stress in my life is my AD/HD disability and the years of coping with it (not very successfully).   So, after a month of driving to SF for these consultation sessions, I'm now in the phase where I'm getting coaching help (finally!) to build structure for my time management issues and techniques to manage my anxiety and stress.

Oh, and the heart test?  "Normal".   Feh.

Current Mood: frustrated frustrated

10 comments or Leave a comment
kagur From: kagur Date: June 19th, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope the counseling helps, and that it allows you to get a handle on your ADHD so you can seek gainful employment. Sending good thoughts your way::snugs::
twentythoughts From: twentythoughts Date: June 19th, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Damn. Yeah, I remember you told me about the radiating. For all the suckiness (albeit amusing radiation-play) of the test, it's better to have gone through that and know that there's nothing wrong, than to have another thing to worry about!
shockwave77598 From: shockwave77598 Date: June 19th, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I am glad to hear you are okay at the end of it all.
dustmeat From: dustmeat Date: June 19th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
horrible, just horrible...
chefmongoose From: chefmongoose Date: June 19th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Rather intensive of medical tests indeed, merfle. :P

Radioactive Khromat! "She's gone to Infra-red!"
elfs From: elfs Date: June 19th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, that's some test. Sorry to hear you went through it all, and glad you're okay at the end of it. The geiger counter test sounds kinda fun, actually.

Yeah, ADHD can be a real pain in the neck. Even a mild case like mine takes habit-building and external tools to overcome. Good luck getting yours dealt with properly.
tracerj From: tracerj Date: June 23rd, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
*sends warm fuzzies*

Coincidentally, remember those blank white badges I got from you a while back? I still wear mine every time I go out. A few times folks have asked what it is, and one of the responses I like to give is, "It's a radiation badge. Long as it's still blue, we're fine." *evilgrin*
niall_shapero From: niall_shapero Date: July 4th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Be thnakful...

At least you don't have heart trouble.
khromat From: khromat Date: July 17th, 2009 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Be thnakful...

I'm not complaining that I don't have heart trouble... I'm complaining because they saw *something* but it wasn't enough to determine a real issue... so I just spent a lot of time and money (after insurance, I owe $300) for nothing.
niall_shapero From: niall_shapero Date: July 17th, 2009 04:58 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Be thnakful...

Not EXACTLY nothing ... you (or your doctor) must have a LITTLE bit more information. (Yes, I know, "gee wow!"). But hey, you know that no one gets out of here alive anyway, so have a bit of fun in your trip from beginning to end.

I DO hope that things are looking just a bit up for you (and sorry that we couldn't get together for lunch or some such while I was up in San Jose for ESC - maybe next time).
10 comments or Leave a comment