SUNDAY — A trip to the CT lab

Being Sunday, this is the one day of the week that we have been writing.  If you are returning for the first time since last Sunday you will want to go back and start on Monday (a catch-up day) or on Tuesday when an early morning event sent Nancy back to Yakima Regional’s ICU.

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The only news for today is that late this afternoon Nancy had a CT scan of her spleen and pancreas.  This site:–treatments/splenectomy.aspx

shows the location of these.  The spleen has important roles in regard to red blood cells and the immune system.  The pancreas is a gland that produces many different substances to both aid digestive functions and regulate other processes.  If you look at the image on the suggested web site you can see that these organs are within a three dimensional jig-saw puzzle with other soft tissue parts, namely, the stomach, liver, and gallbladder.  Projecting X-rays through the body to the far side and onto an imaging surface or film will give a muddled picture.

Think of taking two thin clear wine glasses of different shapes, say one is more cylindrical and tall and the second is more of an onion bulb shape.

Set one in front of the other and look along the line that goes through the center of both.  This might make for a confusing image, at least, more so than if you slid the one out to the side from behind the first.

When trying to “see” internal body parts with X-rays we can’t just move the parts around as with the glasses.  But, by moving an X-ray source and the film to many different positions the technician can get individual thin sections, pick only ones imagining, say the spleen, and then stitch those sections back together again and reassemble a picture; or you can just look at the individual slices.

There is an explanation and color image here:

The word “tomography” is explained there.

Nancy had to drink a bottle of Gastrografin, which contains a molecule with Iodine and aids in producing ‘contrast’ so the image picks up the target tissues, that is, the intended part or parts.

Nancy left her room at about 5 P.M. and was back by 5:30.  She said they took about 400 images.  This information will be sent out to an experienced person who will interpret and consult with the doctors in charge of Nancy’s care.  So at this point we do not have any results.

Meanwhile, she stays on a liquid diet in preparation of the upper-GI and colonoscopy, now planned for tomorrow.

She has given up on the Jell-O and is very tired of the special juice drinks provided for sustenance.  Who can blame her?