Friday, May 26, 2006

CT Scan (Again)

Well, here I am. Back to where it all started 2 1/2 months ago. I am in the C/T waiting room, drinking that evil barium solution at Cottonwood Hospital. An 8 oz. cup, every twenty minutes for the next hour and a half.

Last time I drank barium, they performed the C/T scan, and whisked me away to be admitted to the hospital. I had a total of 5 abscesses on my liver and bowel. Two of the abscesses were quite large, and they had to insert drain tubes into them. The drain tubes remained in me for about 7 weeks. I also had to take IV antibiotics for 7 weeks. The other 3 abscesses were small enough that they would respond with antibiotics alone.

I don't expect to be whisked away today. I am pain free (except for the neuralgia in my feet, and that's a whole other story), and my bowels and digestive system are working normally. Today's objective is a follow-up to make sure that I have healed properly.

The reason I have to drink barium, is to show whether or not I still have any diverticular pockets, or if I have any holes (fistula) in my bowels that have not healed up. This C/T scan today is to check up on how well I have healed.

I am typing this in the waiting room of the radiology department on my Palm Pilot. I have a little keyboard for it, which makes this possible. So between rounds of barium, I am trying to take advantage of the time, and write this post.

I have returned to work part time for the past 3 weeks. This week I have been working more like full time (7-8 hours a day). I am getting my head back into work.

This is a busy time of year at work. I work for a local government (a city of about 45,000 in population) in the greater Salt Lake City area. I work as a computer programmer. Each year, at this time of year, we prepare for the new fiscal year, which starts on July 1st.

This time of year, as the new budget is crafted for the upcoming fiscal year, we wait with bated breath to see what new things the City Council will come up with. It's my job to take whatever they legislate, and implement it -- or "Make It So!" in as Captain Picard would say.

This year the city is instituting a new storm water utility. I am working with various departments in the city to bill each and every resident and business in the city for storm drains.

Another project is to implement a shift differential pay system for police officers. If they work the afternoon shift - they get an additional 2.5% in pay. If they work graveyard shift, they get an additional 5.0% in pay.

In addition to these projects, our mainframe computer system (IBM i-series) is being upgraded. I have been designated as the system administrator, and will have to oversee the migration from our old computer to the new computer. That means that I will have to bury myself in technical manuals, and once again "Make it so!"

Once the migration to the new computer is complete, I will then be responsible for overseeing a version upgrade to the software package (Sungard HTE) that our city uses for most of its basic operations.

All of these projects are quite complicated, and will require a lot of research and coordination. Probably 90% of my work is doing research, consulting with various city departments, and arriving at an understanding of how things are to be implemented. Then after all the planning and research, I will actually write the programs that will "Make It So!"

As you can see, the demands at work are pretty heavy right now. I will need to be working full time from now until the first of July to get these things implemented.

On July 6th, I am scheduled to have a colonoscopy. I will be consulting with a gastroenterologist both before and after the procedure. After the colonoscopy, we will determine the condition of my colon, and decide if (and how much) surgery will be necessary. If surgery is in the works, then I will have to meet with the surgeon again, and schedule a time to have the surgery done. I’m hoping surgery won’t be necessary at all. But so far both my internist and the surgeon seem to think that surgery will be needed.

Of course if you ask a surgeon if you need surgery, more times than not they will tell you yes! That’s what surgeons do, and their way of handling problems is through surgery. I question if anyone can know for sure what is needed without the colonoscopy first. I will be relying on the opinion of the gastroenterologist who hopefully won’t have a dog in the surgery race. If surgery is really needed, then we better do it. But if things are such that I will be able to get by just fine without surgery, then that would be my preference.

At 11:30 am, they called my name. I had to go change into my cute little hospital gown outfit (at least they provide pajama bottoms so my shiney hiney is covered.) They made me drink one more cup full of that nasty barium potion. Then they inserted an IV into my arm, to inject an intravenous contrast solution (some kind of an iodine compound) into me. This would eventually filter into my kidneys and bladder, which would allow them to see how they are doing, along with how my now radioactive colon is doing as well! (Isn’t barium mildly radioactive?)

I finally got out of the hospital at about 12:45. I was stuck in there for nearly 3 hours! It was nice to be able to write while I was waiting. It helped pass the time while I was swilling the barium cocktail.

I won’t find out the results of today’s test until next week sometime. Hopefully all is well down there.


Téa said...

Ugh, David, I'm counting my blessings that my CT scans were sans barium! Here's to the results that mean good news for you (can't figure out whether it would be 'positive' for further abscess/not healed as well, or if that would be considered a 'negative') when you get them next week.

I'm impressed with your work talents & assignments--sounds like you're the capable Lt. La Forge carrying out those orders =) At the same time, I hope you don't have to exceed your body's limits in the face of the deadline(s).

I hope the surgery won't be needed either, David. If it does come down to it, I think you've got a great deal of support in person and online. We'll cheer for you and your shiney hiney (cute phrase--not one I'd caught before).

Hosptal Gown & shiney hiney hiding shorts--$$
Multiple doses of barium-- $$$
IV Iodine Contrast--$$$
CT scan of the now Radioactive Abdomen---$$$$

A post from David during his nearly three hour ordeal?

David B. said...

Téa, you make me smile. Thanks for your thoughts and support. I really appreciate the support I've received from you and my other on-line friends.

I must give my brother Mark credit for the term "Shiney Hiney" -- I don't know if he coined the term, but he is the one I heard it from first.

I hope you and your children are getting healthy. And I hope you have a nice holiday weekend.

Tigersue said...

Do you have any idea how many men with their Shiney Hineys proposed to me as a nurse? I bet your wife has had the same share of them!

I agree with Téa, it is wonderful to see you post. As you can tell we go through withdrawls of seeing you post.
I continue to wish you luck in the next few months. I don't have to tell you to stay busy, I think you have that down to a science. So go "Make it So", and remember to have fun in the process. Were are those holodecks when we need them!