Posts Tagged ‘medical imaging’

Barium SwallowI’m pretty sure most of the elements on the periodic table taste nasty- actually, most of the time, we shouldn’t even be tasting them in the first place.  But science these days does incorporate those elements into medical testing.  For example, barium is used in a barium swallow… which I unfortunately had to taste yesterday.  That stuff is nasty.

The exam was pretty miserable.  I mean… first, the radiology center that I always go to when I need some ray or scan done didn’t have the barium for the swallow.  Apparently, there is a nationwide barium shortage… and so I had to find a place that does have barium supply.  That place happened to be in the city, which didn’t turn out so bad because my parents go grocery shopping there anyway.  AND since the center was in the city, the work was more efficient due to the amount of patients.  Good good.

But when I went yesterday, as if the barium wasn’t bad enough… my robe had no string thing so I couldn’t tie my robe together.  I was grabbing my robe together for dear life just in case it flew apart.  I thought it was supposed to be like that… but then I saw other women with it tied together.  In the end, the technicians had to tape my robe together.  Out of all the robes… seriously???  I had to get the ropeless robe?? 😦

The swallow began and that was when the misery hit.  The first part of the test was swallowing barium sulfate/ sodium bicarbonate crystals.  It kind of tasted like a mix of bubbly soda and pop rocks.  The catch was that I couldn’t burp!  The point of the crystals was to produce gas, which is low in density, so that the X-rays could pass through easily.  But the gas really made me want to burp… but I had to hold it in.

The second part of the test was drinking this thick, chalky substance- thick barium sulfate- in multiple positions.  At one point, I faced my X-ray and I watched as the liquid passed through my esophagus- weird.  Ugh, the thick barium sulfate was the worst taste ever, worse than cherry flavored Tylenol.  I felt like throwing up, especially when I had to continuously drink the chalky substance.  But, again, I had to hold it in.  >_<

The third and final part of the exam was drinking a thinner version of the barium sulfate while lying down.  Only thing is… they didn’t warn me when they turned the machine from vertical to horizontal while I was still on it.  It wasn’t so fun with nasty, chalky substance gurgling in my tummy either.  I had to take sips of the barium sulfate, which just tasted like a liquid version of the bubbly soda/pop rock mix.

I hope I never have to do another barium swallow ever again.  After the exam, I kept burping and my stomach kept rumbling in dissatisfaction with the chalky substance.  I don’t think I ever burped so much in one morning.

I’ve learned my lesson.  I’m going to take better care of my health from now on… I don’t want to keep going back to the doctor’s and getting all of these wacky exams done.

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