Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Scan


I had a CT scan today. I had to be up early to drink dye (two delicious cupfuls) and report to the hospital at 8:30. I was asked to change into one of those gowns that do up at the back, and which are branded Property of Otago District Health Board against the truly absurd possibility that someone will want to nick one. A shunt was put into my arm. I'm good at shunts. I've had a few of them lately so I was able to comment positively on the nurse's technique as she poked it in and flushed it with salty water. This one was for more dye, which was pumped in by a mechanical injector, just like the one they used in Dead Man Walking - made me feel quite the movie star. Then I was passed through a large circular machine which spoke to me in an elevator voice, telling me when to hold my breath and when to breathe out (I was going to write "expire" , but thought it in bad taste, even if it was witty and opened up a whole gamut of dark cancer type humour. See how gentle I am on your sensibilities?)

It was all quite matter of fact and straight forward, except for one curious and incongruous detail. The CT scanning machine had a brand name. The scanner is a big greenish thing with a suitably inscrutable instrument panel and meaningful looking numbers picked out in orange lights. It has warning LCDs and a buzzer. It has a ring thing that circles around in a most impressive sci-fi sort of way. And there in the top right corner, its brand name: Somatom Sensation. It seemed odd that it should have a brand name, especially one that was so obviously the product of a marketing department...but... why not? I suppose someone (The Somatom corporation, scanner makers of distinction since 1973) makes them and someone else (Bob's Scanner Emporium. See us for all your scanning needs) flogs them off. I suppose there's a young man in a suit who visits the hospital with brochures.

"Make your hospital the style leader of the Health Board district by installing one of our exclusive new range of up to the minute scanners. From the economical but robust Feeling to the discreetly upmarket Sensation - your choice of Somatom ushers you into that elite circle of discerning radiologists envied in 59 countries."

And then, presumably, the old ones are all lined up in a showroom somewhere in Anderson's Bay Road.

"Got just the thing for you sir. This '04 Sensation. It's got the 75 Kw positron and a real leather gurney - Feel the quality of that! Only had 15,000 bodies through her. Yes, sir, that's genuine. Only one owner, and I guarantee, never raced or rallied. Nice green casing, but if you want to wait, I've got a blue one arriving next week. And yes, we will trade your X-Ray unit, but not your dialysis machine. As you can see, the yard is full of dialysis machines at the moment."

The nurse took out the shunt and put on a plaster. I went downstairs to the cafe and had a coffee and a sandwich. Now, even as we speak, somewhere in the hospital, an augur is reading the entrails - my entrails - and soon I will soon be given a prophecy of my future. I'll keep you posted.

8 comments:

Tillerman said...

I think the vernacular thing for me to say at a time like this is "Snap".

I was at Whangarei Base Hospital this morning at 8.30am ("please allow 30 minutes for parking")for a 9.00am appointment. I was seen straight away and was out by a bit after nine.

I had a number of X rays taken of my right knee. It all went smoothly except for the first bit where the nurse muddled around and asked me the regulation 'please tell me your birth date Mr Smith'

I told her, and then a little later she asked me again adding "I've already asked you that haven't I? sorry, just having a little senior moment".
I felt a bit alarmed about having all that tonnage of machinery and atomic potency guided over my good person by someone in the throes of a senior moment, but by the time you could spell 'human daily radiation limit exceeded due to senior moment' it was all over.

I went back to the little cubicle feeling a little guilty that I had lugged my wallet all the way with me (what trust was I showing there! might explain the senior moment remark) changed out of the nifty little gown that had made me feel dependent and vulnerable and went home and had a good steaming cup of English breakfast tea.

My Doc gets the results and it might mean a knee replacement - if so I'll leave my provacative wallet at home.

Tillerman said...

provocative

Brian R said...

Glad you can see the humour in the experience, prayers the results will be positive.

Katherine said...

How's the drawing going Kelvin?

Anonymous said...

Many of the elevators I have seen here in NZ are made by Schindler company. Am I the only person who stands in the corner silently imagining a lisping German who thaves people from the death campth via his lift?

VenDr said...

An elevating thought.

Simon said...

Schindler's Lift?

Your post reminded me of a line from the Neil Young song 'Living In The Free World':
"We got a kinder, gentler machine-gun hand."

VenDr said...

And Katherine - fine thanks. I have a book called Drawing On The Right Side of the Brain. Audrey recommended it to me, and it's very useful indeed. Get in now, and you can purchase some of my early works at very reasonable prices. Don't wait til you're bidding at Sotheby's against some oil Sheik.