Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I'm not dangerous. Really.

Guess what? I ended up not having the tilt table test. They scrapped it once I got there and moved on to Phase Two of the evaluation instead: hemodynamics.

Hemodynamics is where they measure my blood volume by taking all of it out and then putting it back in again. (No, not really, but it did feel like that at some points.)

They took draws every four minutes for, oh, twenty minutes or so. I had an IV in the inside of my right arm, so it's not like it was a traumatic experience each time, but I still feel it because I have that hypersensitivity to giving. (It's my blood. It's not like I have any extra.)

Then they pumped radioactive tracers back in and took pictures with a very large collimator (camera). The camera is very wide, bigger than a manhole cover, and they had me pressed up against it so closely that I felt it should really be buying me dinner after all this was over. The camera took intravascular pictures of my heart to measure how my heart pumps the blood out; too strong, not enough? And so on, and so forth.

It takes about a week for the results.

On my way out the door, the nurse slipped me a card with a list of the radioactive agents I'd been given, which I took to mean as a somewhat bizarre memento of the experience. It was only until the ride home that I turned the card over and read it:

The Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies have installed ultra-sensitive radiation detectors across the country. These devices are designed to detect a nuclear terrorist. The radioactive material you received could trigger an alarm. Should this occur, show this document to the Law Enforcement Official.

I died.

So when I get busted trying to buy a burrito because I've set off an alarm somewhere and a Law Enforcement Official has me face down on the pavement with his boot at the back of my neck, y'all are going to see me on CNN, is that it? The headlines! West Virginia woman discovered trying to blow up Taco Bell. I shrunk back in my seat and moaned. I'm not a nuclear terrorist. Look, see here? I have a card.

What has my life come to? I have to carry documentation to prove I'm not dangerous.

And now I am going to hide for a few days and take cover while I rest and recuperate. Heather may post for me (I haven't asked her yet).

I'll be back when I'm not radioactive.

Update: Sharon asked me to share with y'all that she just read the card more closely and, apparently, she will be radioactive until November 21st! I promise she'll be back long before then. --Heather