I was in the middle of getting a patient for their scan. They were taking their time relieving themselves before the scan. My next patient was just walking through the door being helped by her daughter while her husband looked on. She looked like she was in quite a bit of pain and there was a look of concern on everybody’s faces. This guy was taking a long time in the toilet. When he came out he said nothing was coming out.
When he was finally in the scanner and ready to go my colleague took over pressing start to begin the scan. My thoughts turned to the next injection once another colleague finished with the preliminary questionnaire. When she walked in she gave me an update on how she was feeling. She was quite poorly had claustrophobia and needlephobia two things not good for someone in so much obvious pain. She had medications for the anxiety and the pain that she would take at the appropriate time. Now it was just a question of getting the tracer into her veins.
It’s been a Monday sort of day. Steadily busy and steadily difficult just the sort of day to make you dislike Mondays. I wheeled my trolley up to the room where she was now sitting. I introduced myself when she asked me my name and immediately she began to ask where my accent was from. This began a conversation about what was about to happen. She informed me again of her dislike of needles and asked if I was any good. I jokingly told her that I wasn’t in a joking way.
Half serious, reading her I could tell that she had a sense of humor about her even though it looked like she was in a lot of pain. I prepared myself washing my hands and putting a pillow under her good arm where she wanted the needle to go. I focused and took my time examining her arm for nice juicy veins. I wanted to do this all in one go. Our little conversation had her laughing a bit. I told her I can’t give her any drugs humor is my only resort. I found a good candidate for cannulation in the crook of her arm. It wasn’t going to be easy judging from how it felt as I pressed it to map it in my mind.
She flinched a little and I told her not to move. “You don’t want me to miss and have to try this again do you?” Somehow I salvaged the piercing and carefully threaded the cannula into her vein. We talked about something to distract her from the anxiety she must have felt. I came back with the dose and asked if I should leave the thing in there. Or maybe I should put another in the other arm? I shouldn’t really be joking like this with someone who’s this sick but she was laughing at the situation and looking at her daughter she appreciated her mom having a bit of a laugh. They must be having a hard time with all of this.
The hour uptake time passed pretty quickly. We had a hard time getting her on the scanner as she was so weak and slow with her movement. It didn’t help that we had to scan her whole body so she had to step up to get onto the bed. There were three of us helping her up there so between us we managed. She was the last one of the day and when we saw the scout scan we knew it was bad. When the reconstruction finished we saw the extent of her disease and called in the consultant to evaluate it immediately. It’s not often we see such an extent. He was going to get her a bed immediately somewhere on one of the wards. I didn’t have to wait for that to play itself out. I was sent home.