Today was the CT scan. Have you ever had one? It’s fairly simple. Fast for four hours prior. One hour before, chug a delightful barium contrast beverage. (It’s better to have a friend there for moral support, wincing with you as you gulp it down — thanks again, Jen!) Then off to the scan you go, and they put an IV in your arm where they will inject an iodine solution. But before that, you lay on a table and the table slides back and forth through a ring while you take turns drawing deep breaths and holding your breath. Then they start the iodine through the IV, and you feel warm up at the top of your neck, and then the warm feeling spreads down until you think you’re wetting yourself. FASCINATING!! (You aren’t wetting yourself, promise. At least I didn’t.) Then back and forth through the big ring, breathing and not, for more pictures.
The whole test takes about five minutes total. Five minutes for the test that will tell you what exactly is going on in the area they’re testing. For me, five minutes for the test, and a week and one day before I find out if I have an extra spleen. Who doesn’t want an extra spleen, I ask you?
When I went for the test today, it occurred to me that I often find myself in the company of the elderly when I am having these medical anomalies. I was the only person who didn’t have silver hair in the waiting room of the gastroenterologist — they really looked at me funny the first time I went in, when I was 25. There weren’t many young women visiting the gynecologic oncologist, nor many pictures of 30-somethings on the literature in the office or on the walls. It’s as if these places aren’t meant for me, you know?
But these places still accept me, even though I’m “too young”. That’s nice.
Older people get a bad rap. I should know — I live in what most people feel is the retirement capital of the entire universe. Sure, from October through May or so, the streets are packed with gigantic white cars and you can barely see a tuft of blue hair sticking up above the driver’s seat, or you drive by and see the nose of the little ol’ person just about touching their steering wheel. They drive slowly and/or erratically. They walk carefully and tediously through the stores. They probably think you’re a “whipper snapper” or something.
But they’ve lived longer, they’ve seen more. They’ve often cared for more people, watched more people come and go. And they deserve our respect. Even if they make faces at you when you sit in “their” seat at church. Even if they make you late for work because they had their turn signal on for three miles and you couldn’t pass them.
That’s someone’s mom or dad. And it’ll be you someday. Scary, huh?