Yesterday was one of those days I had circled on my calendar in red…a day best wished for it to be over….kind of day. Yet, it turned out anything but…
Since losing my long-time friend and oncologist, Dr. Silgals, to retirement, I just recently was scheduled for a CT scan (chest, stomach, pelvis) so my new oncologist would have a baseline for future treatments. This was a new one for me.
I remembered having a PET-Scan initially and some x-rays for surgeries but not this particular type of x-ray. The term “computed tomography” (CT) is often used to refer to X-ray CT, because it is the most commonly known form.
To patients going through it like me…it means the x-ray where you have to drink that thick, pasty-tasting barium. I was more afraid of it than the x-ray itself….I was scared I wouldn’t be able to get it down and /or keep it down long enough for the x-ray.
My first guardian angel came in the form of Gin-g Edwards who had just had this same x-ray done weeks before. She gave me all the best hints on how to get the stuff down without gagging it back out. She insisted I needed someone to go with me for this x-ray because the drink can make one feel queasy (she was right) and no need to risk driving myself…she was taking me.
I came through like a champ getting the drink down because I had come down with a head cold following my flu shot and was congested enough to not taste or smell anything. (God works in mysterious ways.)
I will have to admit, though, my poor stomach was not very happy with it and I was nervous I was going to get in that machine in stomach crisis mode. But instead…another guardian angel opened the door to the CT Scan room with a big smile and told me to come on in. She pointed to another half-filled cup with the barium mix in it and I groaned…”Really? More?”
“Just make it quick…you can do it” Sheila (as I later discovered her name) said. “This is the last worst part, I promise…once you get in the tube the whole procedure will only take about eight minutes.”
I picked up the glass and gulped it down in one swift gulp. “Wow…you are good Sheila said...I still have to hold my nose.”
“I would,” I admitted, “except I have a head cold and can’t taste or smell much of anything.” “Great timing” Sheila responded!
As Sheila prepared me for the CT scan I asked her how long she had worked there (11 years) and how she gotten interested in x-rays. She told me a story about working with a cancer patient when she had just started…how the elderly woman would bring fresh homemade cookies each time she came for an x-ray. One day she didn’t come and she discovered she had died in her sleep over the weekend.
Sheila told me that it hurt so much she decided not to work with cancer patients at the time but God was slowly leading her back…and eleven years earlier the Charleston Cancer Center decided to include their own CT Scan X-ray Lab. She was asked to head it up. She was ready now to work with cancer patients and told me she absolutely loves it! She was put right where she belongs.
The lab room was large, white, bright, with windows lining one whole wall…not like the old dark, claustrophobic rooms I remembered. There were fall leaves welcoming me into the “tunnel” and Sheila could hardly wait for Christmas to start decorating the waiting room and the x-ray room with lots of Christmas cheer.
When I finished she went over to a basket and pulled out two chocolate chip cookies, one for me and one for Gin-g…something she did for all her patients dating back to the sweet gift of the elderly lady years before.
Gin-g, Sheila, and I talked for several minutes after the procedure about Thanksgiving, cooking turkeys, etc. and we all left feeling better than before we arrived. Sheila, the CT Scan Angel had turned a red-circle day to a bright gold star day…a day to remember God sends us the right people at the right time to help us.
So until tomorrow…Let us all remember:
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh