"Eat the whole thing, but be careful not to touch the filling," he said very seriously as he handed me a grayish tuna sandwich.
Huh? OK, don't touch the tuna, just consume it?
As was the fact he was wearing bright blue gloves.
You don't want the stuff on your hands, just in your gut? Hmm...
My breakfast was in fact a standard-issue hospital cafeteria tuna sandwich augmented with a lovely condiment of radioactive isotopes. Mmmmmm? Or Hmmmmm...
Next task, remain absolutely still on a table for two full hours while nice people in lab coats use a screen to track the glow as makes its way through my digestive tract. I have an oddly convenient ability to fall asleep during medical tests. I actually slept through most of this one, until the last 30 minutes where I was fairly convinced my upper arms were going to catch fire from the position into which they'd been forced. (Good news, no actual scorching.)
Yesterday's little snack-and-glow was the third major attempt to figure out what is going on with my recalcitrant gut. These tests are like a series of midterms, without the studying. Is it reflux with a stubborn streak to match my Taurean birthdate? Is it something entirely different? Did one of the understudies from Sigourney Weaver's Alien series take residence in my abdomen?
Live the mystery! You have to be able to laugh when one of your four major food groups is oatmeal. Maybe you don't have to but me, I choose to laugh. A lot. It's always a matter of choice:
- Dwell on the discomfort or laugh through it.
- Stress about the lack of answers or work with what information you have.
- Worry about what comes next or be present now.
- Find medical pictures on WebMD or Alien pictures on IMDB.
I learned something important when @ was in the hospital. I could try to figure out all of the potential issues every time something came up, or I could deal what was in front of me from day to day. Given his initial health issues, the list of possible scenarios, challenges, and outcomes increased exponentially on a daily basis.
I don't do math.
Once upon a time I was a contingency planner -- I assessed things, identified potential outcomes, and had a plan for each one. (Effective when planning ski trips for 100+ people, but not universally applicable.) That little habit went out the window, quickly, when my sons were born.
As I applied that same perspective of "what is in front of me right now" to more aspects of my life, my stress level dropped. The less I try to figure out, control, predict, manipulate, etc. the more things work out on their own.
So, yes indeed, I ate a radioactive sandwich yesterday in what's called a gastric emptying study. And no, I have no idea what the results showed. I'll know when I know. And with that information, the next step will present itself. Until then, I'm looking out the door at a bright shiny day, putting on my shoes, and scraping up the energy to walk to the pharmacy. Because I can :-)