Friday, February 25, 2011

2-25-11 Ultrasound

I have been plotting for a week now about how to tackle the ultrasound I had to get this morning.

The instructions are to drink 32 ounces of water at least an hour prior to the procedure, so that the bladder is full and translucent enough to peer through, so that all the internal organs it sits on top of can be clearly seen.

Back in 1995 I had been ordered to an ultrasound to find out why baby Samantha was not growing in-utero. We lived in Navasota, but our health provider, Scott and White, was in College Station, about half an hour from us. I had dutifully and slowly drunk the required water (mistake #1) before getting into the car to drive into the clinic (mistake #2).

We weren't five miles out of town on the highway when we ran smack dab (where does that idiom come from?) into a funeral procession. And not just ANY funeral procession. It stretched for miles and miles. We had to stop in the middle of the highway for the state trooper to allow the whole line to enter together and then were stuck behind its funeral pace for 15 miles. Not exaggerating: later that night, it made the KBTX newscast.

Meanwhile, inside the car, any respect for the departed had flown right out the window. I was imagining the clean up inside the vehicle by the time we arrived at the clinic, or the alternative moon shot of a pregnant lady peeing on the shoulder of the highway because there was absolutely no place to pull off. I wondered if the any troopers coming from the funeral -- yes, bringing up the rear -- would cite me for indecent exposure or offer an escort around the procession, or both. I would have happily taken both. But, if I emptied the bladder (voluntarily or not) we couldn't do the procedure that offered to give us some kind of answer about the health of our baby.

A scene from the Simpsons where Homer refuses to pull over to let his elderly father Abe use the bathroom kept replaying itself -- the vision of his cartoon internal organ exploding and leaving nothing but little raining confetti behind -- and I will admit to not remaining the most ladylike, either in form or language, during this hellacious ride.

The slowness of the procession also meant that, although we had left an hour before the appointment, we arrived after the start time. I could barely walk, but stumbled into the waiting area, only to find a pissed-off looking older woman looking at the clock and shaking her head at me.

To say it crossed my mind to just let that bladder fly right there on her floor would be an understatement.

Anyway, all of that history to explain why I've spent the past week trying out various water drinking scenarios in order to avoid any possibility of history repeating itself. I decided my best strategy was to go the bathroom at 8:57 and spend the next three minutes chugging two 16 ounce bottles of water one right after the other to hit the 9:00 cut off time.

The trip between the clinic and my house is about 5 miles, with no funeral homes or cemeteries in between. There are a few churches right around the corner, but I was counting on no one to schedule a funeral that would have to have begun at 8:00 in the morning to be getting out while I was on my way.

In fact, I was so successful, I arrived early and clearly did not appear distressed enough, since the woman at the front asked me twice if I had consumed the required amount of water by 9:00 that morning. Honestly, I was a little worried myself, as I really didn't have to go at all before the test. But I was vindicated when the technician said it was showing up perfectly, no need for a fuller bladder. Success!

Now I'm in wait mode for the tech to finish out the many pictures taken during the two different ultrasounds, send them to the ultrasound doctor to write the report, for him to send that report to my doc, and for her to call me. And despite the fact that nothing is ever certain and this could be the start of some arduous medical journey, I am focused on this one small victory: I avoided the dreaded pee-pee dance!


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