"Suffering the Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune"

4/29 During the test

We are sitting here in the middle of Em’s test – which is going well, thanks to the fluids Dr. Neilson ordered for her. I hate to think how she would be doing right now without the fluids. She has a dry mouth and is complaining once in a while about being hungry, but those are very mild concerns compared to what we would be dealing with without the IV. They were able to start the IV without a problem, probably thanks to the bottle of water she chugged at 5:45 am, 15 minutes before the 4 hour cutoff for food and fluids. So far, all is well and, between imaging, she is distracting herself with Minecraft.



And I just  realized that I haven’t shared the whole journey of the whole fluid issue here, (I talked about it on my facebook page and not here) so here is the back story:

Once I was able to talk to the tech in Nuclear Medicine and found out that Em would need to be without fluids for 4 hours prior and for the 4 hours during the test, I knew that was going to be a bad thing. They said they could give her fluids if they had an order, so I called the GI doc and got no help at all from his nurse. She said he couldn’t call orders in to another hospital and that we should just go to the ER after the test if she needed fluids. [If you are thinking that is ridiculous and appalling, I totally agree – that was the wrong answer and we will have to discuss that with the doctor! I tend to think the nurse just didn’t want the hassle, because she didn’t even talk to the doctor about it, to my knowledge.]

Dr. Neilson, on the other hand, agreed to fax an order for fluids, which I was very, very grateful for.

On Friday afternoon, at Em’s MRI, the tech who registered us told me that she would be the one doing Em’s test today and shared that they had not received the order for fluids yet. So, everything was kind of up in the air – not sure if they would ever get the order over the weekend or what time we would need to arrive since they didn’t know what they would be doing. We left it that we would try to arrive between 9 and 9:30 and she would call this morning if we needed to postpone the test.

Being the worrier that I am, I worried about it all weekend and expected a phone call this morning telling me to reschedule. What I did not expect was a phone call at 7:15 saying to arrive at 8:30 because they had got the order on Friday and were prepared to give fluids. I knew 8:30 wasn’t going to happen – we are 45 minutes away and Em wasn’t even up yet. But, we kicked it in to high gear and got here at 8:45. Only to have to wait for the nurse to start the IV. It all worked out though and we were able to start the test right on time, with the fluids she needs.


She had to eat a small portion of oatmeal (she got to choose apple cinnamon, her favorite) then hop on the table for the imaging. I was able to go in and sit with her while the imaging was being done – the first hour is laying there with a picture taken every 5 minutes, then once an hour after that. They have been great about making her comfortable, heated blankets and a wedge for her legs. The IV is really helping so it is pretty smooth sailing at the moment.

Gastric Emptying Test

Gastric Emptying Test


4/30 After the test update

Unfortunately, the tech didn’t give me any info about what the results were after the test, so I am trying to be patient and wait for the results.

I sat next to the monitor during the test and was able to watch the images as they were taken. Sadly, I have absolutely no idea what the glowing white area in the middle of a black background was, other than part of it was her stomach. There were no big arrows labeling the ‘stomach’ and ‘not stomach’ and there was no tutorial poster on the wall to help me figure out what it all meant. I had my laptop with me for that first hour and I surreptitiously googled gastric emptying results as I watched, but didn’t find anything very helpful. I mean, I do have a vague anatomical knowledge of the gut, but that doesn’t automatically translate into being able to figure out what the image on the screen is or, more importantly, what it means.

So, I wait. My big fear is that the results will say all is fine, when her symptoms clearly indicate all is not fine.  Her GI specialist has said that even if the test shows nothing, he will treat her symptoms. That is positive and I am hopeful that we can make progress on the GI stuff regardless of the results of this test. A positive result and firm diagnosis would be helpful though…

Em did great with the fluids and was able to get through the test and the rest of the day without problems. I think we made the right choice in asking for fluids during the test and would suggest that anyone in a similar situation consider talking to their doctor about fluids.

Furthermore, we were very concerned about Em’s blood sugar dropping during the test – we knew if it went too low the test would have to be stopped so she could eat. But, every time she tested it was above 100 – this was a little perplexing. Eventually, we figured out that the IV fluids she was given had dextrose in it and that kept her blood sugar elevated at a fairly steady level through the test. So, the fluids not only saved her from being dehydrated but also kept her blood sugar at a good level.

It was a relatively easy test – without fluids it would have been really, really bad. I have no doubt that instead of stopping for lunch and heading home after the test, we would have spent the afternoon in the ER if she had not had the IV. Everything we worried about ended up being fine – we got fluids and they helped a lot, her blood sugar was fine, and she didn’t have to eat eggs and got to eat her favorite flavor of oatmeal. So, this test is behind us and we will just wait and see what the next step is.






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