Since my doctor ordered Chest X Ray, I have been struggling with physical limitation. I have been so sick and I could not even walk to my mailbox for a while. Physical struggle leads to emotional struggle… And I am battling with loneliness now. (I hope this doesn’t go into heart ripping loneliness.)
I was determined to get Chest X Ray done this week. Since we started to have heavy rain again, I felt this is my chance. Summer sun makes me instantly unwell. Rain keeps temperature lower and it tends to keep people from going out, so I felt I better cease the opportunity. If I wait until I have bit more energy reserve, it would be another couple or few months away.
Driving to the X Ray Centre was okay. But the walk from my car to the reception was exhausting. Because the building is on the steep hillside, there are steep stairs at the front entrance. The disability parking spot is at the side of the building so that we can avoid the stairs, but it gives a longer walk to get to the reception.
They were having quiet day, so one of the receptionist answered my question that I would be only waiting for 10 minutes. I felt it was manageable. If it was going to be long, I would have requested a place to lie down.
Maybe because of the fatigue from walking, Orthostatic Intolerance (OI) kicked in sooner than I prepared my mind for. Maybe, I shouldn’t have been there at the first place. There was no place I could sit back or lie down. I looked at the floor and was considering if I should lie there. But my body was too weak to make any move. I just lean over tiny armrest which was separating each chair and hopelessly breathing heavy. I was very dizzy and my vision was black, so I kept my head down as much as I could. There were people waiting in the room, but nobody asked me if I was okay or needed help… People sitting behind me became quiet and moved away from me.
Finally, a young radiologist called my name. When she spotted me, her facial r expression was fear. She had no idea what to do with me. And I had no idea what to do with myself. It was obvious that she didn’t want to touch me. She asked if I wanted to come back other time for the X Ray. I knew that I will be still this sick at “the other day”. I just needed to get this done while I was there. So I forced myself to start moving. My explanation of ‘being sick’ or ‘dizzy’ didn’t mean anything to her. She did not help me walking, so I had to lean on the wall and kept my head very low.
The actual session was disaster. She was pushing my weak body against the panel and I struggled keep it in that position. She ordered me to breath in all the air. As I was having trouble breathing, the best I could do was to hold my breath for a while as if I was drowning in the water.
And I thought, Chest X Ray was easier than ECHO Cardiogram…
After the session, she told me there would be about 30 minutes until I receive the image, so I needed to go back to the waiting room. I begged her for a place to lie down while waiting. Although she said they don’t have such place, she went to staff room and asked someone. Then I heard a lady shouted, “Oh, No! Not again!!!” It really sank my heart.
So, if it happens once, I could have sympathy. But if it happens too often, I must be guilty of producing the symptoms… It doesn’t matter if I put all my consideration to avoid this situation… What else could I do?
Anyway, they gave me a stretcher next to a noisy washing machine, which I had used last time when I was here to have CT Scan.
I lie there under the blight fluorescent light, which I could not bear. I covered my eyes with my bag and wait for my breathing to become normal. Heavy tingling and numbness sensation crawled my feet, legs, abdomen, fingers, hand, arms and face. As my breathing slowly calm down, my feet, legs, arms and shoulder started jerking.
I heard a male at the other side of the corridor, so I assumed he was watching me. The young radiologist came and checked me once and pulled the curtain next me. And that was it. Nobody came back and see how I was doing. I heard staff chatting and laughing.
I hoped I could disappear into the air. I hoped I didn’t have to have this humiliation.
After an hour or two, tingling and numbness almost disappeared. And the young radiologist came and told me that the image was ready for me to pick up and go. She was surprised I was still there. I apologised for the trouble I caused, but my voice must have been very weak. She couldn’t hear me and was rather annoyed by it. I felt I was an idiot.
I walked back to the reception area and picked up the image. He was wondering where I was and thought I was in a toilet. I explained that I was lying because I was very sick. He wondered how I was going back and offered to ring someone to pick me up. He didn’t like the idea that I was driving home by myself and told me to pull over and stop if I get sick again.
Sometimes I get this conception that healthy people have in their mind; a person who is as sick as me should have someone who is looking after me. And if I cannot have a carer, I should not be very sick. But people can be seriously ill or disabled and have nobody to look after them. And I am not the only one with these circumstances. Life sucks. Shit happens. We have no choice but keep doing our best. A little compassion or kindness wouldn’t be too much to ask…
This experience really made me miserable. I kept thinking over and over if I could have done this differently. But my efforts and consideration yesterday was the best I could do to avoid any incidence. I just cannot think of anything else that I could have done.
I hope I don’t need to go back to the Centre again. And I wonder how the other people in my circumstances are dealing with the situation. Do they just bite their tongue and absorb insults and ridicules? Or is it just nobody gets as sick as I am? Or have they already given up?