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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Next Up-Renal Scan

In a little over a week I go for what I would consider to be a "phase II" test-the Renal Scan. The Renal Scan is by far the longest test I will have to do.  It involves three to four hours at Foothills (Special Service building-with the exception of the Cancer Clinic I will have been to every building on the hospital Campus after this).  They've gone so far as to tell me to bring a book.
This was also the first test where they have just "told me" rather than ask me when my appointment is and how I "have to" be there at a certain time. I guess because these second phase tests are more specialized and harder to book so they don't want to give me options in case I get picky. Although I would think most people wanting and willing to donate a kidney to a stranger are pretty "go with the flow" patient kind of people.
The test itself involves a lot of "hurry up and wait". It will start out with me being injected with very small amounts of radioactive materials (radiopharmaceuticals) which will track my organ function and structure, (which is different than x-rays which looks at anatomy). The radiopharmaceuticals are attracted to specific organs like the kidneys and emit gamma rays that can be detected externally by special types of cameras.These cameras work in conjunction with computers used to form images that provide data and information about my kidneys. The amount of radiation from a this procedure is comparable to getting an x-ray. After the first hour they'll take images.  Then I wait for another 2 hours and they take some more.  Each image session takes about 30 minutes. I'm not sure but they might do blood work each time too.
The good news is that I can eat and drink before and during the wait so I wont have to deprive myself of a morning coffee or even water or juice. I think I might even be free to wander the hospital during that time too so I can get refills! But just in case there is a gown involved I will load up my purse.
The other good news is that this is the start to a romantic long weekend with Charlie in Banff (a birthday present he got me back in October).  I so need a weekend away and I think this is our first solo weekend away which makes it even better.  As long as a few radiopharmaceuticals don't get in the way :)

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