I haven’t had a CT scan of my innards in forever, but I do remember the vile mixture you’re required to consume prior to the test. When my doc said, “let’s just schedule a scan for you” it sounded like he’d be joining me for nachos and margaritas. Yeah, that ‘come hither’ voice that gently walks you into willingness and oblivion.
His nurse scheduled the test and handed me two large flasks of the elixir I was required to consume three hours prior to the test. Not four hours, not two hours – three hours. Generally these plastic ‘containers of despair’ display a Skull & Crossbones with grisly instructions emblazoned on the label: keep out of reach of children, if spilled on furniture quickly remove while wearing protective clothing and if this bottle appears bloated immediately leave the room and call 911.
But…this sticker was different. The label was a lovely shade of creamy beige with the words “Vanilla Smoothie” peaking out in a dark amber italic font. Pictures of a soda fountain milkshake, flanked by raw vanilla beans and a pale lemon flower caressed the label. In miniscule print was a diagram of intestines showing the proposed internal course of this ‘vanilla dream’ potion. I now understood why companies pay exorbitant dollars to ad agencies to disguise their demonic concoctions.
The nurse warned, “Be sure to keep it very cold because it goes down better.”
Though I am not a fan of vanilla (unless it’s an ingredient in a Brandy Alexander or White Russian), I was committed to get through it. When the day arrived, the elixirs were chilled to almost freezing and I popped them into a cold chest and threw it onto the front seat of the car and headed for my test.
Driving down the road, I popped the top off my Vanilla Smoothie, held my breath and took down half the bottle. I know me – if I would’ve sipped slowly, the bottle would have been out the car window. I didn’t breathe for three minutes after the first swallow. When I opened my eyes (a most grateful moment for my fellow drivers) I thought, “not pleasant by any stretch, but I can get through this – I Am Woman!” Five minutes later I emptied the first bottle.
Then…then…the aftertaste invaded my soul and introduced me to Purgatory 101. Repulsed by the aftertaste of sulfur, brimstone and retribution, I immediately planned a trip to a confessional and an “I’m sorry for doubting you” note to Sister Mary Sebastian.
With this menacing reality, drinking the second bottle proved more of a challenge. I knew what was coming: the taste in my mouth, the closing of my throat and churning of my stomach – my goal of arriving as a willing supplicant at the CT center was quickly fading.
Pulling into a Costco parking lot, I opened the second bottle and tried to drain the container – much as I used to do with Colt 45 beer back in the day. Though I must share, this Vanilla Smoothie was nowhere near as satisfying, but I felt my penance for the coming decade would be fulfilled.
A valiant try it was, but not enough to complete the mission. I capped the two-thirds of the mixture that would not go down my throat and dropped it onto the floor of the car.
With an attitude less than reasonable, I left the parking lot and tried to find the CT Imaging Center. Please know – there are no longer ‘real’ street addresses at medical facilities. They are part of a ‘Hospital Campus’ which means – girlfriend, you be screwed.
Also, the buildings no longer have numbers noted on the front. They have small signs at the entrances to parking fields: the Gnarly Moffit Center East, Radiology Assocs of Panama North, Penguin Crossing at all times, Emergency entrance ONLY – turn around or you will be escorted to the security office. CT Center Patients…please use entrance #4 off main driveway.
Trying to keep my stomach contents in check, I turned into Entrance #4 and the sign heralded: “Excuse our detour – we are renovating so we may offer our patients expanded parking fields with no names. Please turnaround and use the south entrance and follow signs to your destination.”
Like a traumatized lemming, I u-turned and drifted through several different parking fields before I found a straight road to a building. I really gotta go – exit 67 on the Jersey Pike is coming up – I’m sure this is the right turn!
… just my thoughts