For now anyway.
Friday I went to see Sarah at Dr. Internal' office. I love her - she’s terrific. She ordered an ultrasound of my gall bladder. Monday I went to the office for said ultrasound. The tech was hilarious. He made me laugh the whole time, which made the process almost fun in a way. He showed me my liver, a kidney, diaphragm, pancreas, and gallbladder. He even let me take a quick look at my heart. That was my favorite part. Contrary to what some people think, I actually DO have a heart, and there’s proof now. The cool part was the veins/arteries. I knew they are attached to the heart, but it didn’t occur to me that they’d look like kite stings dangling from the end. Fun times. Everything looked good to the untrained eye and the tech said Sarah will probably want to do more tests.
She does. As expected, she setup a HIDA scan for me tomorrow morning. I thought it would be something as simple as drinking something and them scanning my stomach with a hand held device. It’s not. I have to have an IV, and I don’t like those.
Here’s some info on HIDA scans for those of you who are like me and know nothing…
From Web MD
Why It Is Done
A gallbladder scan is done to:
• Help determine the cause of pain in the upper right side of the abdomen.
• Evaluate the function of the gallbladder. A gallbladder ultrasound may be done before a gallbladder scan to help find structural problems in the gallbladder. If the ultrasound is normal, a gallbladder scan often is done to evaluate gallbladder function.
• Help determine the cause of jaundice.
• Find blockage of the tubes (bile ducts) leading from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine (duodenum).
How To Prepare
Do not eat or drink for 4 to 12 hours before a gallbladder scan. Your doctor will tell you how long depending on what the test is being done for. I can’t eat anything 11 hours before the test. I also have to eat a no fat diet for dinner tonight. Not LOW fat, NO fat. No butter or anything. I’m meeting my old manager for dinner, so while I’m watching him enjoy a nice juicy stake, mashed potatoes with lots of butter, and probably some cheese cake just to spite me, I’ll be gnawing on a piece of dry toast. I’ll let you know if he’s truly that cruel.
How It Is Done
A gallbladder scan is usually done by a nuclear medicine technologist. The scan pictures are usually interpreted by a radiologist or nuclear medicine specialist.
You will need to remove any jewelry that might interfere with the scan. You may need to take off all or most of your clothes, depending on which area is being examined (you may be allowed to keep on your underwear if it does not interfere with the test). You will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the test So, I know I’m good looking and all, and happen to have a slammin’ body, but seriously, the things people have me do JUST to see me nekkid. Sheesh. Seriously, I’m blushing just thinking about wearing a medical robe.
How It Is Done continued...
The technologist cleans the site on your arm where the radioactive tracer will be injected. A small amount of the radioactive tracer is then injected. Yes, radioactive.
You will lie on your back on a table and a large scanning camera will be positioned closely above your abdomen. After the radioactive tracer is injected, the camera will scan for radiation released by the tracer and produce pictures as the tracer passes through your liver and into your gallbladder and small intestine. The first pictures will be taken right after the injection. The pictures may be continuous (like a video) or may be taken once in a while for up to the next 1½ hours. Each scan takes only a few minutes. You need to lie very still during each scan to avoid blurring the pictures. The camera does not produce any radiation, so you are not exposed to any additional radiation while the scan is being done.
A substance (cholecystokinin) that stimulates the gallbladder may also be injected into your vein during the scans. The pictures taken after this injection can help determine whether the gallbladder is functioning normally. Computer analysis of the data may be used to evaluate gallbladder function. You may be asked to answer questions about your reaction to the cholecystokinin. Occasionally medicine (morphine sulfate) is given to help diagnose inflammation of the gallbladder. It’s bad enough that I have to sit still for an hour, but I have to actually pay attention and TALK to someone.
The gallbladder scan takes about 1 to 2 hours. With the exception of sleeping at night, I don’t think I’ve ever just done nothing for 2 hours. SO many things will go through my head, and I won’t be able to write them down, and I sure as heck won’t remember what they are by the time the test is over. That might be the worst part of the test. Two hours of being unproductive.
How It Feels
You may feel nothing at all from the needle puncture when the tracer is injected, or you may feel a brief sting or pinch as the needle goes through the skin. Otherwise, a gallbladder scan is usually painless. You may find it difficult to remain still during the scan. Ask for a pillow or blanket to make yourself as comfortable as possible before the scan begins.
The test may be uncomfortable if you are having abdominal pain. Try to relax by breathing slowly and deeply.
If cholecystokinin is used during the test, it may cause nausea or abdominal pain. The technologist may ask you about changes in your pain during the test. So, I feel sick all the time and they’re going to subject me to testing that may make me feel sicker. Great.
RisksAllergic reactions to the radioactive tracer are rare. Most of the tracer will be eliminated from your body (through your urine or stool) within a day, so be sure to promptly flush the toilet and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. The amount of radiation is so small that it is not a risk for people to come in contact with you following the test. It sounds like it’s dangerous to touch it (hence the hand washing), and it’s dangerous for your toilet. If it’s that bad, why are the injecting it inside of me? My cousin Angela had this done...maybe that's how she got so weird? I'm kidding, of course - Angela, if you're reading, I love you and I don't think you're weird.
Occasionally, some soreness or swelling may develop at the injection site. These symptoms can usually be relieved by applying moist, warm compresses to your arm. Fantastic :(
There is always a slight risk of damage to cells or tissue from being exposed to any radiation, including the low level of radiation released by the radioactive tracer used for this test.
A gallbladder scan is a special nuclear scanning test that is done to evaluate gallbladder function. The results of a gallbladder scan are available in 2 days.
The radioactive tracer flows evenly through the liver and then into the gallbladder and the beginning of the small intestine.
The gallbladder is normal in size, shape, and location.
The tracer may not be removed normally from the bloodstream by the liver, indicating possible liver disease.
The tracer may not reach the gallbladder, indicating inflammation or blockage of the duct by a gallstone.
The tracer may not reach the beginning of the small intestine (duodenum), indicating blockage of a bile duct by a stone, a tumor, infection, or inflammation of the pancreas.
Pain occurs when the gallbladder empties the tracer.