Ultrasound Got Nothing

This time around, I remembered to fast before my scheduled ultrasound appointment at a hospital in East Melbourne. The appointed time was 11.30 am early today. Since I woke up at around 7.30 am, that’s four hours of not being able to eat and not having breakfast. I actually went on without food for about five hours plus because I only had lunch at around 12.30 pm.

On the way to the hospital, I started to get a little nervous. What if they found something in the ultrasound scan? What if there are indeed gall bladder stones? What if it’s something worse? Yeah, I tend to worry easy and I tend worry a lot. I found a bit of comfort when I prayed for my problem to be nothing more than some weird muscle spasm.

I got off the tram at the tram stop along Victoria Parade in East Melbourne and saw a hospital across the street. I still had 20 minutes before my appointment. At the hospital, the receptionist pointed me to where their radiology department was. When I got there, I waited in line to be served at the department’s reception area. After maybe five minutes, it was my turn. It was only then that I found out that this wasn’t the hospital I should have gone to. The hospital I wanted had the same name but was a block away from Victoria Parade. Why have two hospitals near each other with the same name?

Anyway, I rushed out of there and jogged to the other hospital as I didn’t want to be late for my appointment. I still got there with ten minutes to spare so it was all good. The receptionist asked for my medicare card and she punched me into their system. I was asked to wait at the reception area for my name to be called. Meanwhile, I preoccupied myself by watching the news on the TV there. I didn’t want to get all nervous again, after all.

A little past 11.30, a radiology personnel called out my name and led me to the ultrasound lab area. She asked me to take of my shirt and trousers and to wear the white gown at the dressing room. I thought incredulously to myself: I need to remove my pants to get my upper abdomen scanned? Well, she must know what she’s saying so I didn’t argue. I stripped to my underpants and wore the white gown with the opening and the tie strings behind me like I see it worn in TV medical dramas (and that PC & Mac Ad when PC was about to upgrade to Vista).

When the lady who would actually do the ultrasound finally came to fetch me, she asked that I wear the gown the other way around and wear the opening in front so that she can scan my upper abdomen easily. I did that and proceeded to the ultrasound room. She told me that I didn’t needed to take my pants off. Great. I told her that’s what I was thinking but the other lady told me to remove my trousers. Ah well. I don’t mind being half-naked in front of medical personnel as much any more specially when my mind is worried about more important things like the outcome of the ultrasound procedure.

I laid on the bed and she got out that gel they put on the skin surface where the ultrasound probe thingy would be used. I was fully expecting the gel to be cold but I was pleasantly surprised when it actually felt warm. Hot, actually. It seems like the gel containers were being stored in a heated place.

The lady started to really press the probe hard against my upper abdomen (probably to get through the layers of fat I have stored there) to get a good picture of what’s going on in there. It was then that I realised that the area where I had felt pain when pressed against was now only barely noticable. I looked at the monitor as the lady swept the probe back and forth across my upper abdomen and taking snap shots of my internal organs. It was facinating to see. I even asked her how she could make heads or tails out of what’s being shown in the monitor. It looked all like noise to me. “Eighteen years of doing this, that’s how,” she joked in response. All through the procedure, I was really tempted to ask the lady, “so, is it a boy or a girl?” but thought better of it.

In the end, she told me she couldn’t find anything that could be stones or obstructions. If I had gall stones, I could’ve already passed it and it wasn’t there anymore. In short, she said it’s all clear. If I still have problems, it would definitely be something else and not gall stones or kidney stones. I’m glad she said I also have no kidney stones because I was always thinking that there might be stones in my kidney and one of these days it will break off, proceed to my bladder and cause a painful attack.

It was great news, for sure. My prayers were answered and I was very happy to be out of there. It’s certainly a lucky day for me.

Speaking of luck, when I got out of the hospital, the sky outside was so dark. I hoped then that it wouldn’t rain just yet as I didn’t have an umbrella with me. When I finally got to the shaded tram stop, the rain suddenly began to pour. And pour hard it did! That was close. In about three minutes, my tram arrived and I got on board. I was to meet Raquel along Collins Street near where the tram stops. Just when the tram got to my stop, the rain stopped, too. Very nice. I didn’t need an umbrella after all.

Published in: on April 5, 2007 at 12:55 pm  Comments (3)  

Easter Petrol Price

With the Easter long weekend looming, Raquel and I predicted that the petrol price will only increase further. To avoid the price hike, I had the car filled up with petrol last Tuesday.

I drove to the nearby Shell station and was surprised at the number of people who had the same idea. There were at least three cars queued behind each bowser. I looked at the posted price and it was only $1.18 per litre that night. That’s actually cheap considering that lately, the price had been about $1.20 per litre, give or take.

I’ve just seen on the news that the price went up as high as $1.34 per litre today. So, I’m very thankful that we’ve already had the car filled up and ready to roll on the coming long weekend.

Published in: on April 4, 2007 at 11:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fasting Required

Today was my scheduled appointment at the radiology lab to get an ultrasound of my upper abdomen. According to my doctor, it might take 48 hours after the test to get the result. Since I wanted to know what’s wrong with me before the long weekend, I booked the ultrasound at the earliest possible date. That is, this morning at around 10.30 am. That meant that I would know the result of the test by Thursday, a day before Good Friday.

The ultrasound procedure itself should only take 30 minutes, according to the radiology lab person I talked to over the phone. She also told me to be in 15 minutes before the appointment so that I would have the time to fill out the paper work. Since it should take about 20 minutes to get there from my office by tram, I should leave the office at about 9.50 am, just to be safe.

One last thing she said that I should fast for eight hours before the procedure. Probably to ensure that the test wouldn’t get any false positives due to the food I may ingest prior to the ultrasound scan. No problem, I thought. I only really need to fast for about three hours rather than eight because I’d still be asleep for the first five hours of the required eight.

I’ve set the alarms on my mobile and on my PDA to ensure that I wouldn’t forget about the appointment. So, this morning, I was fully aware of the appointment and I have already planned how to get to the lab in the most efficient way possible.

I did forget one thing though. I forgot about the fasting part. I ate breakfast without thinking. I only remembered about the fasting when I got to our office. I blew it. I couldn’t get my ultrasound done today because I forgot to fast.

I had to reschedule the appointment to 11.30 am Thursday morning. I was offered to come in tomorrow at 1.45 pm but that meant I would be fasting for more than half a day. That would just be too difficult as I have a lot of programming work to do and I get headaches when I’m hungry.

So now, I’ll only get to find out what’s going on in my upper abdomen next week at the earliest. The only good news right now is that the pain and tightening on my upper right abdomen seem to be lessening. Hopefully, it’ll completely be gone in a day or two.

Either way, I’d still go through with the ultrasound. Better safe than sorry. I just have to remember not to eat anything on Thursday morning.

Published in: on April 3, 2007 at 10:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Galling Pain

I wasn’t able to get a good night’s sleep last Saturday night due to a very uncomfortable pain radiating from my upper right abdomen. It was past midnight and yet I still felt quite full and bloated. After lying down in bed, the feeling changed to mild discomfort in my upper abdomen while I began to feel stiffness in my back.

At first, I thought I could just ignore the growing pain. After a few more minutes, I was beginning to get the chills on top of the pain. I suspected that I was having a bad case of indigestion, heartburn or food poisoning. Either way, I believed it was all just going to pass. That belief wasn’t any comfort at the time though.

I tried various ways of alleviating the pain. Since it seemed like burping helped reduce the pain, I tried sipping a fizzy drink but that only made worse. I even tried forcing myself to vomit to get rid of possible excess food in my stomach that may be causing the problem. But I just couldn’t get myself to vomit. Finally, Raquel rubbed Tiger Balm on my tummy and I took a tablet of De-Gas and one or the other seemed to have helped. The pain subsided enough so that I was able to get some sleep.

The next day, I felt much better. However, I could still feel a bit of tightness in my upper right abdomen. This sensation lasted the whole day but it wasn’t too bad to keep me at home. I hoped that the problem would pass by the end of the day but it lingered. Last night, I tried to press on the area of my abdomen where I was feeling the tightness and discovered that the pain, though still mild, increased. That couldn’t be good.

Today, I could still feel the mild pain on my upper right abdomen if I press on it or if I inhale deeply enough. It’s the third day and I’m a little worried now. After doing some research on the Internet, I discovered that I could possibly have gall bladder stones! Yep. First, kidney stones, now gall bladder stones! Lucky me.

Hopefully, that’s not the case at all. Just to be safe, I quickly made an appointment with my GP to have my problem checked. After answering a few of the doctor’s questions and some quick tests, he believed that I may, in fact, have gall bladder stones. If that be the case, I would have to have my gall bladder removed! I have a friend here who had recently had her gall bladder removed and she said it wasn’t such a big deal. Also, it’s supposedly a non-essential organ but still!

However, there were some symptoms that didn’t quite fit. According to him, a very 10/10 (a ten out of ten) pain and nausea are usually associated with a gall bladder stone attack. My pain is about 3/10 at worst and I actually don’t feel nauseous at all. He said that it could still just be some weird inflammation that could go away. To be sure, I’ll be having an ultrasound performed on my upper abdomen tomorrow morning.

If the test is positive for gall bladder stones, I may lose my gall bladder. If it is negative, then something else is causing the mild pain in the upper abdomen. But what could it be? How do I get it cured? Well, if it isn’t gall bladder stones, I hope the ultrasound would still be able to help in getting a proper diagnosis of my problem. In the end, I’m just hoping for the results to turn out negative and for the pain to go away by itself. One can always hope.

Published in: on April 2, 2007 at 11:16 pm  Comments (4)  

Awards Night Over

It has come and gone. As predicted and expected, Batjay’s Kwentong Tambay won the Best OFW Blog award at the 2007 Philippine Blog Awards last night. Congratulations, pre. We’d also like to congratulate all the other winners and finalists at the Awards.

I wish I was at the actual Awards Night to at least enjoy the food and drinks. But I couldn’t let that potential free food go to waste so I asked my brother to go to the ceremony in my place and eat Raquel’s and my share of the food for us. He later told me that even though he got a bit bored at the event, he did like the food. So, that’s cool.

Published in: on April 1, 2007 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment