Barium – It’s What’s For Breakfast


This was a week of good news and bad news.  The good news: I get to keep my gall bladder.  A diseased gall bladder would have been a great answer to the question “What is causing those hideous abdominal pains I get when I eat?”  The bad news:   there still is no answer to that question.  So more tests are ordered (directly proportional to the quality of your insurance coverage, I have come to believe).

Thence, the aforementioned breakfast entree:  Barium sulfate suspension.  Tastes every bit as delightful as it sounds, even the fake Mochaccino flavoring added was not much of an improvement I fear – it was like drinking flavored phlegm.  Two bottles of it after an 8 hour fast, and no morning coffee.  Only one husband was partially decaptitated before the procedure was complete and my natural balance (caffeinated and fed) was restored. 

The nuclear med tech, Gene, “offered” me yet another large styrofoam cup of the radioactive nectar before placing me on the CT scan table.  I say “offered”  euphemistically because he made it clear that it was not really optional.  I forgave him, though, because he had beautiful green eyes like my beloved Sweet Cheeks, a soft and soothing voice, AND he inserted an IV into my right arm without my even feeling him do so.  As he predicted, I felt as though I was peeing my pants when the contrast injected into the IV reached my bloodstream.  And as he predicted, I really did not pee my pants.

I breathed when the machine told me to breathe, held my breath when instructed to do so, and only briefly looked into the little window that housed the laser – even though a warning posted directly below it warned me not to.  I am certain my retinas will return to normal at some point.

I am awaiting the results and will meet with my surgeon Dr. Mack (the Knife) next week.



Filed under humor, Uncategorized

45 responses to “Barium – It’s What’s For Breakfast

  1. I had to do the exact same thing late last year, K8. The peeing in your pants sensation was so odd. Thank goodness they tell you ahead of time, eh? Have they explored the seemingly common issues with gluten intolerance? A change in diet sure beats an appointment with Dr. Knife, right? Meh. Maybe not.
    I hope answers are found that bring relief. Keep us posted!

    • Yes, the sensation of peeing one’s pants is a very strange one, indeed. Had I not been warned the first time I had a CT scan I would have sworn I had relieved myself on a million dollar piece of medical technology. I am glad they warn you, though. What if they didn’t warn you and you had that sensation, and assumed you had already wet yourself. Mightn’t you then really let the old bladder sphincter loose?

      I hope an answer can be found, as well. It has been going on for some time.

  2. Hoping for the best for you.
    (and when I had that test, I asked the technician twice to make sure I hadn’t really peed my pants)

  3. I hesitated to ‘like’ this post, but I am sending positive thoughts your way.

    • Same here! Wishing you all the best, Katy. I’m kind of sad it wasn’t your gall bladder (been there, done that – they sucked the little bugger out and I was no worse for the wear in the end!)!

      • Jules – I had my fingers crossed that it was something as simple as gall bladder because that is a relatively easy fix. But alas, mine is happy and healthy just where he is…thanks for the well-wishes.

    • Thanks, Sandy. I’m okay most of the time, but not when I eat (and not always, so there is always some trepidation – is it going to happen this time?).

    • Thirding this! I hope it’s something readily (and not super expensively) fixed, once they do determine what “it” is.

  4. We must be running a common theme here as I too have been running the Dr.Gauntlet lately. Sending good thoughts your way…hoping all turns out well.

    • The bastards just keep scheduling appointments and tests – that is why I avoid them in the first place…if you don’t go, they can’t find anything wrong. Wait. Wait. I AM seeing a doctor and they can’t find anything wrong. Hmmmm. I gotta rethink my strategy. Thanks for the good thoughts.

  5. My sympathies! I too have had the Barium special for breakfast (without the added flavor). Doctor that ordered the test? Dr. Payne.
    Good luck to you and your gallbladder 😉

    • Jeez, Dr. Payne and Dr. Mack (the Knife) sure picked the right careers. Like my old chiropractor, Dr. Kneebone!

      Hope it all comes out alright in the end, Katy. (no pun intended – very much).

      • I collect weird doctor names (job hazard). Some of my favorites are at the World Health Organization — the woman in charge of Bird Flu? (Dr. Purdue). There’s an infectious disease specialist in NJ named Dr. Gross, a brain surgeon named Dr. Head, and my all time favorite, and AIDs doctor named, are you ready/???

        Dr. deCock. I am not making any of these up, either.

      • Thanks, Peg. Docs are a strange breed…and they really don’t like when nurses tell them what they think is wrong.

        I am sure everything will come out alright – in the end as you so delicately put it!!! HA HA.

    • Barium for breakfast just is wrong on many levels. Many. My gallbladder thanks you (as do I).

  6. K8,
    I had one of those a month or two ago, too. I found it a comparatively pleasant experience. Comparative because my very first one was in about 1972 when the barium was truly like drinking liquid chalk. I had a nasty nurse who kept bugging me to drink it. I said I was going to throw up. She nagged some more so I puked on her foot. She stopped nagging.
    Good luck finding out what it is —

    • Yes, I had one in the 70s as well, and the barium seemed heavier, thicker and chalkier. This artificially flavored concoction was still mighty unpleasant. Good for you – a nagging nurse is not a good thing, and she probably needed new shoes any way.

    • Your comment cracked me up. I too have done similar puking. I told nurses I was going to vomit on 3 different occasions and they all said that I wasn’t. I turned to the side and vomited on their shoes. Maybe they might believe me at some point.

  7. Oh, good luck. I hope they figure it out. I just got all the bills for my endoscopy last month. I’m not going to tell you about them because you’ll probably behead someone else out of fear. PS how many husbands do you have? And WHY do YOU keep getting all the good-looking medical types?! My gastro looks like Shrek.

    • My gastro looks like Anthony Perkins, only scarier, and Dr. Mack (the Knife) looks something like Larry the Cable Guy. But the tech that did the CT scan and the ultrasound of my gall bladder (they work at the same place) are just nice looking, sweet guys with great smiles, pretty eyes, soft voices, and a gentle touch. I may even schedule some tests without my doctors knowing…

      • And a lot of times, when someone finds out you are a nurse and they have to start an IV on you, they get nervous, thinking you will be critiqueing their technique or you’ll blow the vein. Gene popped that IV catheter in and I swear to you, I did not feel a thing.

      • And , I only have one husband (currently). I have an ex, and I have my eye on a few for the future in case this one doesn’t work out. It’s only been 32 years, so it’s early yet.

      • Hmph. Bet they’re gay. 😉

  8. Love the title of your post, and hope you are feeling better soon.

  9. Sally

    I had the left side pain after a day of regular!!!! for months. I had the general CT, blood work, etc. Then it was gall bladder test. Not working, took it out. Still have leftside general pain after a regular day. But digestion, lots better. Who knows. Get well soon. Great spring ahead.

  10. I really hope you get well soon and that its nothing serious… really sombering post!!

  11. kate, i LOVE flavored phlegm! but kidding aside, i sure hope you get to the fix soon. continue…

  12. Good heavens – hope they figure stuff out soon as all those tests are PITA (pain in the ass). Though having a colonoscopy could take care of that. I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you want to pee your pants. Very odd feeling. Feel better soon!!!

  13. Jackie Cangro

    Here’s hoping that they figure out the problem soon before you have to take more tests like this one.
    On the other hand, “Radioactive Nectar” would be a great name for a rock band.

  14. I hope they find the cause of the problems. Having a name for an ailment always helps me.

  15. Katy,
    Thinking about you…
    I am praying that everything goes well. Keep us informed.


  16. Loved bumping into your blog. Really enjoyed your Granny with a gun post and your Vaelntine poem. Re your barium breakfast – I just went through the same test last week. Still pooping chalk…not that you needed to know that. Good luck with your results. Looking forward to coming back this way…

  17. What’s worse: the condition or the cure? I’ve had to wrestle with that question too many times in my life. I wish you the best in this adventure–and they are all adventures in one way or another…

  18. I know that sensation from the IV med. It is odd and yet if I wasn’t in that CT machine I may have considered it a super sexual encounter with hubby. AAhhhh … those infamous tests. Good Luck …!!!!

  19. That peeing your pants thing would freak me out!

    I hope you get answers soon!

  20. Okay, Katy … I’m laughing hysterically and typing this before I even READ the post itself. You had me at “Barium – It’s What’s For Breakfast”!

    I don’t even think I’m gonna write anything else. I’ll read the post, but that headline is the BEST. EVER!!!

    • I love picking a title for my posts – sometimes once I’ve picked one, the post writes itself.

      Glad you liked this one. But I don’t recommend the barium, really.

  21. Pingback: There is Good News…and There is Bad News (Part 2) | k8edid

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