Better Safe Than Sorry or The Chronicles of My Cat Scan

Thursday night, after my car accident, I went to bed feeling fine. A little stiff, but fine. Friday morning I woke up with a pretty sore abdomen. I had a few errands to run and ran them, still feeling a dull ache. Late in the morning, my awesome State Farm agent called to talk about the accident and when I mentioned my sore abdomen, he strongly suggested I have it checked out.

Although I'm not a fan of heading to the ER, I headed over to Lake Forest Hospital around noon for what I assumed would be a quick in and out. We all know what happens when we assume something, right? Well, the good news is that I got to watch the Cubs game as I'd hoped to do. The bad news is that I witnessed the entire calamity snuggled up on a gurney in the ER where I spent more than five hours. So much for my plan to send out job applications while watching the game. Mom always told me that the best way to make God laugh was to tell him my plan. Let me tell you, he had a lovely chuckle yesterday.

After I donned one of the highly fashionable hospital gowns (thank God I wore nice knickers yesterday), I was poked and prodded in a variety of ways by a very nice doctor who told me she wanted to have blood drawn and, assuming my kidney functions were good, perform a Cat Scan of my abdomen. This would involve something "contrast," that could evidently only be done intravenously, because I love needles so much.

The nurse came in, took my blood, and then informed me that she was going to leave the needle in my arm in order to avoid having to stick me again later when I was given the contrast. Um, okay. She then gave me a drink that tasted like Crystal Light Lemonade that would work with the contrast thing later. Frankly, as far as I was concerned, all it did was make me have to pee a lot and I had the pleasure of walking through the ER with my ass hanging out of the sexy gown. It was a slow day, so thankfully there weren't a whole lot of people witnessing one of my finest fashion moments.

As the afternoon wore on, the nurse came and went, took my vitals a few times and made me drink more of the Crystal Light Lemonade stuff. And the Cubs went from being up 2-0 to being down 7-2 and ultimately losing their home opener against the Phillies, managed by former Cub and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg. Not for nothing, but I'm still pretty ticked that the Cubs didn't hire Ryno when they needed a new GM. Just seeing him back at Wrigley made me happy though, so that's something.

Finally it was time for my Cat Scan and I was wheeled over to the radiology department where they keep the big picture taking machines. Yes, that's a technical phrase. The IV in my arm was hooked up to the machine that delivered the contrast stuff. If you've never experienced this contrast stuff before, it quickly warms your body and makes you feel like you're peeing yourself, but you're not. Less than ten minutes later I was wheeled back to the ER and told to hang out while the radiologist looked at the pictures, chatted with the ER doctor, and all of my test results came back.

About 5:15, the ER doctor returned with the news that aside from some bruising I was completely fine and could go home. She'd return with her discharge report shortly, but I could get dressed. A few minutes later, the nurse walked in, removed the intravenous needle from my arm, and gave me instructions to drink lots of water and to rid my body of the contrast stuff.

It wasn't the way I'd planned to spend my Friday afternoon, but I'd much rather be safe than sorry and the news let my mom (and me) sleep better last night. I continue to be incredibly grateful that although my car is probably toast, there were no injuries. Cars are just stuff and, unlike people, they can be replaced.

Oh, a Cat Scan was also a fun new experience. I think I'm on a roll.

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    Jessica Gardner

    A native of Chicago's Northwest Suburbs and resident of the North Shore, Little Merry Sunshine comes by her name honestly. The story goes that as a child, she was always so happy that she even slept with a smile on her face. Her mom nicknamed her Little Merry Sunshine. It stuck, along with her insatiable desire to focus on the good in the world and to leave it a little better than she found it. She does this by sharing her passions and dreams, what inspires her, and maybe you too, and furthering the discussion about how we can listen to our better angels. You can reach her at LittleMerrySunshineCN[at]WowWay[dot]com.

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