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CT-related question

Posted Sep 07 2008 8:10pm

For those of you who have had a contrast-enhanced pelvic/abdominal CT scan, what are the instructions for drinking the contrast material? (I lost my instructions). My appointment is at 8am, I remember that I need to drink half the stuff sometime between ten p.m. and midnight, and the other half the morning before, and I'm not allowed to eat after ten p.m. the night before. But how long before the scan should I drink the second half? And what happens if I can't tolerate the drink? Should I just fill up on water and let them know I couldn't finish the contrast?

The last time I had a contrast CT scan was February 2003 during my diagnosis process, and my hospital used a water-based contrast material (so the contrast tasted like really soft water). I only had to drink it the morning of the scan, about an hour before. I've had scans since then, but they were non-contrast.

Back when I had my very first CT scan, I was warned that I wasn't allowed to eat after eight p.m. My appointment wasn't until noon the next day -- I had to be there at ten a.m. -- so when I got to the hospital with Boyfriend-the-Former, we bought chocolate bars, newspapers, and magazines. I knew I would need something sugary immediately after the scan since I was suffering from terrible dizzy spells if I wasn't eating small amounts of food throughout the day (the episodes were severe enough to make me see my doctor).

So I went in for my scan, the iodine made me feel funny, everything else was uneventful. When I finished, I went into the waiting room where Boyfriend-the-Former was sitting with his newspaper. I asked for my chocolate bar. 'I ate it,' he said. 'I got bored waiting for you.'

I actually started to cry. Boyfriend-the-Former didn't think it would be such a devastation to me -- the hospital store was three floors away on our way out -- and he felt really bad. 'I'm sorry,' he kept saying while I sniffled and brushed away tears. 'It's okay,' I said, 'I'm just really hungry.'

Right. Amongst other things. I think this time I'll be better able to deal with the hunger (an earlier scan time also helps). And since I'll probably be going by myself, there won't be anyone to eat my damn chocolate bar. Or apple. Or whatever I bring.

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