Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Set Fire to the RAI?

The introduction:
It was better this second time around.  I knew what to expect.  'All' I had to do was walk in there, and take that drink, and...flee. The only thing was that, that 'drink' wasn't anything close to what you could order out of a menu.  Heck it wasn't anything you would want to order out of anything anywhere!

I for one, didn't ask for it.  In fact I tried to tip-toe my way around it so I could just...do without.  I failed.  Request denied.

So there I was again, at Nuclear Department, HUKM.  And I guess, by 'Nuclear' it has to be way down the hall, where the only feet that pass by it, are the chosen ones.

It is ironic really.  What's poison to you, is a cure for me.  And drinking that...that  RadioActive Iodine (RAI) bomb, should, by all means, heal me.

The situation:

I have hyperthyroidism. It's been awhile. I was on Carbimazole and Propanolol for 2 years before they talked me into doing RAI.  Reluctantly I did.  

That first experience sent me praying that I wouldn't have to ever repeat it.  But again, for reasons I knew not, my wishes were not granted.  So I was nudged into doing it the second time.

The procedure:

After a 30-minute consultation with a handsome-I-think-we-could-be-real-good-friends doctor, I was brought to a room and seated on a chair, facing an empty table.  There was a white sheet of paper covering the table and a paper cup filled with water.  I wasn't supposed to touch anything.

The attendant or the nuclear guy or whomever he's rightfully known as was as covered as the table, only of course, not in white papers.  He had his 'apron' on, face mask, gloves and a spatula to handle everything with, including me.

Attached to the table, at the other end, was a metal stand, wide enough for him to stand behind, shielding him from direct exposure to the radioactive liquid as he reached around it, 'serving' me the RAI.  Yes, the RAI that I was about to drink from a straw that I wasn't still, supposed to touch.

He had brought in what looked like a metal bottle, with my name on it.  Using the spatula, he opened the lid, took out another glass bottle from inside it, showed me the content, and explained to me what to do.

- Use the straw, finish my drink.
- I can touch the metal bottle, never the straw.
- If I feel like throwing up, quickly drink the water from the paper cup, as much as I need to.  It's just plain water.
- Once I've drunk up all the content, he'll flush the glass bottle with water and I have to finish that too.
- The 'flushes' repeat 3 times.
- After all is gone and done, leave.

And so I did.

The taste?  Try sipping on a glass of water from your fish tank, that hasn't been cleaned for 2 months.

The post-treatment:

- I am not supposed to be in close contact with anyone especially kids under 12, expecting mothers, and the elderly.  With you, well...not in less than 2 meters away for more than 2 hours straight.
- No sharing of anything, food, clothes, beds, pinggan mangkuk etc. i.e. life?
- After doing my business in the little girls room, flush 3 times.
- Sitting down on a couch watching tv? Sure.  Lay a blanket on it first. The couch I mean.

The first time going through this, I found it to be a sad, lonely treatment.  It still is.  

Only I have gotten better at it.  I think.  :)

p/s:  I write this not just so I won't forget.  But hopefully, maybe, as a reference for those who are going through the same situation.  I had found many versions of dos and don'ts prior to my treatment.  Some turned out to be helpful, some scary.  So if you happen to have questions, do ask away.  :) 


Anonymous said...

When can u come home...

Effa Mas said...

Well...The doctor said I am no longer a 'threat to my homies' after 7 days :)

He could be exaggerating. ;)