Friday, January 25, 2008

Nuclear Medicine--Step 2 Full Body Scan

The Nuclear Medicine Department (NMD) is different than other areas in the hospital. Because it is the area that deals with radiation, it is relegated to the dungeon in the hospital. It is also not the most popular area--it is where those people with cancer end up going. Luckily, it is a small area--with fewer patients than any of the other units in the hospital. Unlike other areas with big open waiting rooms, the NMD has a small, functional, yet spartan waiting area with just a few chairs, and just the essentials. No decorations. No pictures on the wall. The nice thing by the time you sit down, you are called in for your appointment.

I arrived at 7:15AM, sat down for less than 30 seconds and was then on my way to the gamma detection room. This is a large room, about 20 x 20 with what looks like a hybrid MRI-regular X-ray machine. It is neither, however. Instead of generating radiation to pass through your body, it is a machine that detects the radiation that is already in my body in the form. Unlike an MRI--where you head is enclosed for the entire time in a cage--making you feel like you are in a coffin, this one is more open. And, unlike the MRI, it is silent. What a difference! No claustrophobia and no noise.

The photo attached to this post is out of focus--sorry. I forgot my regular camera and had to use my cell phone.

Today's test is a full body scan. Every inch from head to toe.

I lie down on a padded platform. My arms are wrapped by my sides with an 18" wide Velcro strap that circles around my mid-section, holding my arms to my sides, so they don't move. My knees are raised by a contoured, foam pad placed under them. Try keeping your legs still for an hour without this. You can't. It takes the pressure off the joints.

Note: Buy contoured foam pad for bed. It was the most comfortable sleeping position I have ever experienced.