credit:  Online Stock Photos

credit: Online Stock Photos

Hi! Long time no hear from right? It’s been one of those weeks!  So few doctors or other health care professionals can honestly explain some of their tests to you, so I thought I would share my experiences with 2 tests I had to have this week.  I had a MIBI test for my heart this week as well as a blood gas test.   Part One (here) explains my experience of a MIBI test:

  • My test was scheduled for Tuesday a.m, so Sunday at midnight all uses of caffeine were prohibited including de-caff coffee, chocolate, soft drinks or ANYTHING ELSE which contains caffeine.
  • Since I am extremely claustrophobic I had been assured I could have the test done in a chair, like a dentist’s chair with a camera & wires hooked up to my chest instead of in a tubular machine like an MRI.  Since I suffer from Panic & Anxiety Disorder, I spent the whole day on Monday worrying about the test for the next day.
  • Monday at midnight, fasting begins.  You are allowed to have water only, but since I have problems with incontinence since my hysterectomy, water was completely out of the picture for me.
  • Clothing required for the test – women must wear a bra (I never wear one anymore so I had to go searching for one) & a blouse that buttons down the front.  I don’t own any blouses that button down the front!  I found one in the back of my closet with snaps down the front, it was bit too tight, but I wore it anyway
  • My test was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday & I presented myself at the reception desk with all necessary paperwork, photo ID, etc. at 9:15.  The waiting room was almost full.  A few minutes later my name was called & I was ushered into a small cubicle with a curtain.
  • A lady showed up a few minutes later & starting sticking leads all over my chest & under my breasts.  She explained the test to me a bit better (would have been too late to back out at that point anyway) & assured me a doctor would be in the room with me the entire time I had one of the chemicals injected into my system.  She gave me a document to sign saying I understood all the consequences of the test which may include death!  When she saw me blanch at this phrase, she reminded me people have heart attacks all the time, you never know when & since I would be monitored by a doctor the whole time, I would be in good hands if something were to happen.
  • A few minutes later another young lady with hair the prettiest shade of mauve I have ever seen came to the cubicle & inserted an IV into my left arm.  She was very good with the needle & it didn’t hurt.  I was left sitting in the cubicle for approx. 10 mins. until the room for the test was available.
  • I was called into the room where I was given the option of sitting in a straight back chair or reclining on a stretcher with the head raised.  I opted for the chair.  A very nice lady introduced herself to me as the doctor who would be monitoring my vitals all through the test.  She explained what the chemicals would do to me, the possible side effects (headache, light-headedness, dizziness, clammy feeling, feeling flushed).  She explained the chemicals would only need to be in my system for about 10 mins. & if I was experiencing bad side effects she could inject me with another chemical through my IV & it would reverse the effects of the first chemical in about 2 – 3 mins.
  • They started the infusion through my IV & I was asked to tap my toes to help circulate the drugs through my system.  I started to feel flushed almost right away but it was not too bad so I stuck it out.   After about 7 mins. I started to feel very woozy & light-headed as well as clammy.  I asked if I could rest my arm on the tray table next to me for support & that is how I finished the test.  When it was over they flushed my system with the antidote, gave me a styrofoam cup of Ensure (yuck) & a cup of coffee (caffeine helps to flush this drug out of your system).
  • I was sent to another waiting room for about 20 mins. where I finished my Ensure & coffee
  • I was then called into another screening room where I saw the “chair” for the first time.  It did sort of look like a dentist’s chair except it was very narrow.  I had to maneuver myself into this chair so my back was fully against the back of the chair between a large grey plastic boxy looking thing (the camera) & the chair.
  • Once I finally was settled into the chair, pillows were brought in to make sure I was pushed as close to the camera as possible all along my left side.  The camera was then positioned very close to my chest & resting on my stomach.  I could not have taken a deep breath (which from their point of view was a good thing because they wanted me to breathe shallowly for the entire test).
  • It seemed to take forever for them to get the camera positioned right.  Meanwhile my left arm is resting on the top of the camera (so I can get closer to the left side of the machine) & it is getting numb.
  • When they finally found a position they liked I was asked to stay absolutely still for 5 mins. & breathe shallowly.  If I took a deep breath or coughed they would have to start the test over.
  • When this part of the test was finished they lowered the back of the chair so I was laying down & re-positioned the camera again.  Again the camera was very close to my chin & resting on my diaphragm.  I had to breathe shallowly for another 5 mins. while they took the second set of pictures.  They did not dim the lights which was a shame because a row of pot lights was shining right in my eyes & making it hard to concentrate on my breathing.
  • I was led to another waiting room to wait while they checked the pictures & my IV was removed.
  • Finally I was released for the day with instructions to present myself again the next day (Wed) at 1:30 p.m. for the second part of the test.
  • I was encouraged to drink lots of coffee to flush the chemicals out of my system.  I could eat & drink normally until 9:30 a.m. Wednesday when I was asked to fast again for the 4 hours prior to my test.

Because I was worried I might have to take extra anti-anxiety meds to stave off a panic attack, my hubby drove me to the test.  When I was released, we went & had some lunch at a nearby restaurant because I had an hour to kill before I had to appear at the Royal Alec Hospital one block away for a blood gas test.

Since this is turning into a novel, I’ll continue this tomorrow.  Stay tuned for the next installment of Benzeknees – Professional Patient!