Status: 9.5/10. A long day at Hopkins, but home for dinner with the kids. 

Events:  Early morning blood drawing with about a 15-tube extraction for a wide variety of basline tests, and then on to a rudimentary transplant class with one other couple.

The most interesting part of the day was the full CT scan using contrast material.  “Contrast” is an iodinated-solution injected into a vein.  Soft-tissue organs like the kidney and the liver don’t show up well on an x-ray–dependent CT scan (much better at demonstrating bones and other “hard” materials).  The injected iodine gives a blush to wherever blood is circulated, so organs show up.

The problem is the contrast can cause kidney shutdown and allergies.  I had no previous history of iodine allergy (shellfish and so on), yet I wanted to have plenty of fluids beforehand to flush and protect my kidneys.  I ate half a honeydew melon, drank liquid yogurt, a bottle of orange juice, and followed it up with 12 oz of water – I was floating.  But upon walking into the CT waiting area, I was handed two 15 oz glasses of cranberry-flavored water to down in 5 minutes.  Now I was drowning.

As they inject the contrast immediately before the scan, you’re told you would feel some “warmth,” typically starting in the neck and ears, spreading to your chest, perhaps elsewhere, and it would last just a minute.  The warmth is actually more like heat, not uncomfortable, but strange.  Stranger is that the heat started in my pelvis and stayed there – I have no idea what that means, but I decided to keep quiet about it.

 What I didn’t have to tell them, because they saw it as well, was that at the end of the CT, I sneezed.  Just once, but it was a sneeze.  They were most concerned.  Not that I might be spreading germs, but apparently it’s a sign of an allergic reaction, and they said more concerning than itching all over.  They observed me for a few minutes afterwards, nothing transpired, but now I have “contrast allergy” written in my chart.  I have no idea whether I’m allergic or not.

A quick lunch (to the health conscious, I had salad today), and then a chat with the social worker who serves the transplant unit.

Comments: Tomorrow, back again for more labs, a full history and physical, and a heart scan.  Hope they can tell that my heart is full from all the love and support I’ve received, it’s been critical to how well I’ve done so far.  Thank you. 




6 Responses to “”

  1. wendy Says:

    Tell that social worker that you want to do some imagery and visualization and work on deep breathing techniques since she’s going to be visiting and checking in on you regularly over the next period of time. This is as good as the love and support you are getting,.it’s called self love, the good kind of narcissism.

  2. Andie Levinson Mendelson Says:

    Thinking of you. Your mom told me she had a wonderful time visiting you. She gave all the details to my mom in a long telephone call. Sure glad my mom doesn’t text. It would take all day. Love to you, xxoo

  3. Judy and Larry Says:

    Please know that we continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. We look forward to all of your updates and hope for the day that you will no longer have to do them because you are once again HEALTHY!!!!!
    Keep up your strength and your spirits.
    Love, Judy and Larry

  4. Denise Hanten Says:

    I had the same heat sensation in the “pelvis” when I had an MRI with contrast. Kinda made me gasp! Didn’t want to tell the tech. I had forgotten all about that. Thanks for the memories.

  5. Sheryl Stolberg Says:


    just catching up on blog reading. I am so irritated — enraged, really — by those hospital workers who yak away while they are transporting precious cargo. I agree with your correspondent who suggests offering a bribe.

    Know that we are praying for you and thinking of you every day.

  6. Lynn Oliver Says:

    The saga continues..thank you Bruce, for sharing it and making us smile. I always wonder about all the pretesting–what on earth could they find–and what are the odds of it–that would make them think that not doing the transplant is the better option? As you say, not a lot of other doors out of the room. Is this a knee jerk thing that doesn’t make tons of sense but we do it anyway? Or is there a reasonable chance of the results changing something…(no need to take that one on, you have more than enough on your plate…)

    But changing medicine one doctor at a time…I love that. Keep it up!

    You and Lisa are awesome….sending love,

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