Tuesday, 8 April 2014

"why are you going to see a hotel in Vancouver?" or how my week is going. It's a long one, hold on to your butts.



What an interesting weekend I had! I never take weekends off so it felt very special to be taking a ferry on a Saturday and a Sunday. Oh I'm getting ahead of myself. First let's talk about the hospital.

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Friday was a weird one. Ryan dropped me off at the hospital at 7:30 in the morning for my cholescintigraphic (aka HIDA) scan. I alternated between being very nervous about it and not at all. I actually really had no reason to feel nervous, I just didn't know what to expect and I was going alone.

That morning I happened to read a "what to expect" pamphlet online and it said sometimes they have to give the patient some morphine. Nobody had mentioned that to me at all, I was expecting to just leave the hospital and take the bus downtown to work afterwards! So I made sure Ryan would have his phone on him at all times just in case.

The nuclear medicine area of the hospital is far far down many twisty hallways and it looked like this.



 Oops I mean it looked like this:


How to get a HIDA scan in five easy steps:

1. So basically what you do is lay in a VERY TIGHT little space with your arms sort of lasso'd to your sides with a wrap thing and a nice heated blanket on you, trying to talk yourself out of feeling claustrophobic. They give you an IV that just feels cold, and then you literally lay still for over an hour and stare at the ceiling. Mine took about an hour an ten minutes. They say you're allowed to fall asleep, so I tried but it was too weird. It's like an MRI machine you've seen on the TV show House, but even smaller. They just called it "the camera" to me but I'm sure it's a very expensive piece of equipment with a very long name. 

2. When the first twenty minutes is up you will inevitably have to pee which, for the remainder of the time, will be the only thing you can think of. Try laying still and not squirming at all when it's to the point where you're considering just peeing your pants a little because "they're nurses, they'll understand". Very uncomfortable.

3. Anyway then, after you can finally get up and move around you go into the special nuclear-patient-only washroom which makes you feel special and weird at the same time. You have to flush the toilet twice because for the next couple days your pee will be radioactive. The entire time your IV tube is just taped there on your arm and you treat it like it's a newborn baby, cradling it with your arm and not allowing strangers to hold it. I don't know.

4. Then you just casually walk back through the orange door, closing it behind you. For the first time you realize there are like 30 nurses and technicians (and others?) around, but they're all behind glass and working very hard and looking at a bunch of technologically advanced computers and other equipment.

5. You lay back down and have another thing injected into your IV tube and they set the big camera back up, rolling you underneath until it's sitting an inch above your chin. You can feel your breath bouncing back at you and really begin to panic, so you close your eyes and tell yourself it's fine, it's fine, it's fine.

"This one is a liquid that will simulate eating a fatty meal."

"Okay"

"So some people experience some pain, and there's no way to predict how your body is going to react. It's a gradual drip so it shouldn't come on too strong but some people's gall bladders will spasm. Anyway let me know when you feel it."

"Okay" (deep breath)

"Are you ready? And we can stop it if it gets to be too much. I've only had to stop it once but let me know."

"Okay. Yep. Let's do it."

And she started the drip. I cried actually when she started it, just a few hot tears and a twinge in my heart, because the last time I heard one of those automatic IV drip machines beeping was when my brother died in the hospital. I actually cried a little while walking into the hospital as well for the same reason. And I think somebody is chopping onions beside me here at the kitchen table right now as well.

Anyway so it didn't hurt too bad, fortunately. I didn't feel anything for about ten minutes and then there was the normal not-terrible-but-bad feeling. But unfortunately I also didn't get any morphine. TBH I was kind of hoping to get some, because I have never experienced an intravenous drug before and thought it would be kind of a funny reason to miss work, like, "oh sorry I accidentally had to have an opiate, can't come in".

The entire thing in total took around 2.5 hours or so and wasn't as scary or painful as I had been expecting. Once the second scan was complete they basically just handed me my sweater and said I could go home and do whatever I normally do. Oh, and they warned me not to try and get pregnant until next month. Which yeah, I mean I always try to never get pregnant but it was still an "oh shit what's in my body right now?" moment. 

I walked outside, texted Ryan that everything went fine and I had no morphine, then walked over to the wrong bus stop and waited there for a stupidly long time. A friendly driver pulled up and offered to take me to the right stop for free which was really nice of him.

I took the bus downtown, feeling very out of sorts. It was a bright sunshiney beautiful day and I was fucking radioactive and STARVING and had no coffee yet and the crook of my elbow was very sore and my back was stiff from lying so still. So I went to the coffee shop and got an oatmeal, a coffee  AND a juice. I kept my hood up, which is the international symbol for "Nova feels unwell or antisocial". But after I ate and hung out at the tattoo shop for a while I started feeling myself again.

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Speaking of the tattoo shop, we've hired TWO new people in the past week. And there's another friend in from Switzerland, he's a tattooer too but he's just visiting, not working.

One of our new hires is the summer counter helper, who is there to work on my days off. She's super nice and has the coolest haircut. It's impossible to explain except that there are only like 5 people on earth probably who can pull it off.

The other person is Kim Marks. She's been talking about moving here for years now but she finally made it!! It's very exciting to get new people in a tattoo shop, it's the same amount of intimacy as getting a new roommate. They become part of your little family. We've been so lucky that everybody in the shop is pretty low-drama and overall nice people. It's a good time to be working at Tattoo Zoo!

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Saturday, Ryan and I took off on a whirlwind trip to Vancouver to see the band Neutral Milk Hotel. The next door neighbors took the kid and the dog, so we were free for nearly 24 hours to just do whatever we wanted.

So, please don't get mad at me NMH fans, I don't really know the band, like at all, except for that it's April's favorite band on Parks and Recreation.



I really only agreed to go along on this trip because Ryan and I don't get to go away alone together very often. And after I found out I couldn't eat out at restaurants or drink I even tried to back out of the trip, giving him a chance to go party with some friends rather than hang out with a sober hungry person who doesn't care about the band. But he wanted me to go so I went. 

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The ferry ride was nice. I had a funny moment when Ryan went into the bathroom. I stood staring out the window by myself and saw another ferry coming the opposite way. I took out my iPod (my only camera at the moment, boo) and took a picture of it for my instagram collage. A woman in purple slacks came around the corner.

"There is another boat coming over there."  She said slowly, carefully articulating every consonant.

"Oh." I said politely, raising my eyebrows as if I was interested.

"This is the narrowest part of the journey."

I nodded. At this point I realized she thought I was a tourist who didn't speak much English for some reason and I didn't want to embarrass her by proving her wrong so I said nothing else.

"It is very dan-ger-ous."

"Hm."

And then she walked away, pleased with herself. Ryan came back and I burst out laughing when I told him about it.

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Photo of Granville Street via vancouvertour.net

Since we brought the car it was quick and easy to get downtown. Parking was another story but luckily we had like three hours to kill so it wasn't stressful at all. Our friend Chris works at a tattoo shop right in the city center and lives walking distance from there so we got his keys and dropped our things in his apartment.

My brother lives in Vancouver. So do my cousins, and like five of my friends. I always say I'll let them know when I'm in town but I never have time to make any plans. Our trips are always tuned like Swiss watches. Nonetheless, Ryan had a couple internet friends coming into the city from elsewhere, one guy was from Seattle and a girl was from ... who cares, I didn't ask her. The guy from Seattle had some trouble coming across the border because the guards couldn't understand why he was going to Vancouver to "see a hotel". haha

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So from Chris' apartment we texted my brother and Ryan's friends saying we'd be going down to a pub and to meet us there. After getting ridiculously lost somehow in the pouring rain and ending up all the way in Stanley Park (woops) we picked up Chris from his work and all of us went to a burger joint where I watched them eat the most delicious looking vegetarian sliders, french fries and beer. After eating, my brother took off to try chicken parm at an Australian pub with his German friend (?) and the rest of us got ready to go to the show.

This concert 100% sold out immediately and was purportedly un-scalpable (no tickets leave the building, you have to get them at will-call and then go immediately inside) and Chris didn't have a ticket. I felt terrible because he REALLY cared about the band and I was like "I can take it or leave it", but at literally the last minute, like when we were paying our bill and making plans to meet him afterwards, one of his clients tagged him in a status written in a Facebook group by someone neither of them knew that said "I am in line now, have an extra ticket, come find me" basically. We were two blocks away so he threw some money down and ran to meet the guy. Next thing you know he's texted Ryan saying "I'm in, see you inside". Whaaaaat.

The guy from Seattle was looking to party, and party he did. He checked his coat and then showed us his tongue which had a tiny l'il square of paper on it if you know what I'm saying. Everyone else was a little drunk I think. I took some T3s to fit in and ate a fruit bar during the show. Hey, pro-tip. If you want to feel like a dork at a concert, unwrap a granola bar.

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Not knowing the band, the songs all *sort of* sounded the same, but nonetheless they were great. They sounded fantastic, they were high energy, and obviously really talented musicians. They played horns, drums, saws, washboards, you name it.


 This isn't from the show I was at but they started out with this song and the crowd went bananas.

Afterwards we said goodbye to old whatsherface, brought the American to a "poutinerie" so he could try poutine which was very overwhelming to him in his...uh...mental state and then we made sure he was okay before going back to Chris' place to hang with him and his super awesome wife. 

The next morning we packed it up packed it in let me begin, then drove out with the intention of being early for the 1pm sailing but accidentally catching a 12:00 sailing we didn't even know existed.

We literally paid and drove straight onto the boat which is pretty unheard of.  And it was maybe only 1/4 full which was really nice and relaxing. We actually asked a few people if we were on the right ferry because it was very small and ... well, it just felt too good to be true.

I had three drinks for breakfast because all I had left in my backpack was an apple and I didn't want to wash it in the ferry bathroom sinks. 


And yeah, we got home in the afternoon and that was that.

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Yesterday, Monday, I got called in for a shift at the college bookstore. FINALLY. I hadn't been there in probably a month and a half but could still *mostly* remember how to do everything. And got paid ridiculously well doing it! So that's good. 

The. End. 

No wait, not the end. Today is Tuesday, it's my "weekend" today and tomorrow. I got a message from Ryan last night after work that the doctor's office called about my test results, so I phoned them as soon as they opened this morning because it was supposed to take a week or two and ... you know, I of course assumed the worst. The receptionist told me my "bone scan" results were back and there was nothing abnormal about them at all and the doctor just wanted to make sure I was feeling okay now. 

So. 

What the hell does that mean? My symptoms have actually been less and less as time goes on, so maybe I just had a weirdly irritated gall bladder but it's getting better? Is that possible? 

I was actually weirdly angry about it. So in retaliation I ate cheese and peanuts and thought to myself "we'll see who's got normal test results you assholes" ... and yeah I'm basically okay. I had the same achey bad feeling under my ribs for ten minutes or so but nothing horrible happened. Hm. Maybe I will be okay after all without surgery! Maybe I'm okay. 

I'm going to go in tomorrow and talk about that with a doctor just to be sure that's a possibility, so wish me luck. Maybe all I have to do is be super careful with my fat intake and I'll just be totally fine! But for today I'm going to just have a quiet day in.

And uh, yeah. That's were I'm at. Back to normal! And I've got a few exciting semi-secret things to look forward to this month as well, so I'll be posting about that soon enough I expect. 

later. thanks for reading my life

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