Monday, December 13, 2004

I Am Not a Threat

I've had a ton of tests since I started this. A chest x-ray, an array of blood tests, a pulmonary capacity test (107% of expected capacity for my age--and, I had a cold!) two CT Scans, and my favorite, the P.E.T. Scan. For a P.E.T. Scan, they inject the patient with glucose with a radioactive tracer (flourine in this case, although for some brain and prostate scans, the hot new tracer is Carbon 11.) Cells use glucouse as fuel, and malignant cells metabolize faster than regular cells, so the assumption is, malignant cells will snatch up the glucose like the rude guy at the buffet who takes all the crab legs. They injected me, and then told me I had to sit still for forty minutes. If I used my muscles, that would increase their demand for energy and they'd metabolize faster. So I sat in a waiting room in the basement of Hillcrest Hospital watching Regis and Kelly, and practicing a zen-like calmness. Kelly is so skinny, I discovered, that her head looks too big for her body. Then I went out to the truck (P.E.T. scanners cost about half a million a piece. Cleveland Clinic has two, one of which is transportable, and it is trucked around to Cleveland Clinic hospitals.) In the truck, I had a scan. The scanner is open, not closed, meaning it's like a big metal doughnut. I dozed and listened to classic heavy metal music--the tech's choice. The tech told me I had taken up the glucose well, a really clear scan. I credit Kelly of Regis and Kelly.

But the coolest thing was that after I finished they gave me a card. This was something like 11:00 in the morning. Apparently the radioactive tracer in my system might set off radioactivity monitors in airports until 5:10am the next day. (How can they be so precise?) The card explains I've had a scan and states, 'This Person is not a threat to the general public.'

I'm planning on having it laminated and carrying it forever.


Blogger Greg van Eekhout said...

Hi, Maureen. It's good to see you blogging. And you are so right about Kelly's head.

December 15, 2004 12:00 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Greg Van E! Good to see you, at least virtually.

December 15, 2004 4:07 PM  

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