A to Z April Challenge
X-Ray is all I can think of for this challenging letter so here’s my history with x-rays.
I had my first x-ray in the eighth grade. I went to school one morning with a knot in my stomach. Mom thought I was faking it. I tried to make it through the day but it kept getting worse. I kept leaving class to go hang out with stained toilets in the restroom. At one point, a friend found me on the floor of a stall with bile around my mouth. I didn’t pass out but getting sick had wasted what little energy I had left in me. I couldn’t even clean my own face.
Mom tried feeding me soup when I got home but the moment it hit my stomach I became violently ill. She took me to hospital where I was pumped full of fluids and passed out. They woke me for x-rays and I swung at the nurse. You don’t wake a kid in the hospital by ripping their I.V out. So I swung and accused her of trying to kill me by taking my medicine. Mom said she replaced the tape over my hand without the I.V and apparently that soothed me[?].
I remember expecting to stand behind one of those thin stands while someone took my photo and we would all see my bones. I was excited to see how this worked. I’ve only seen x-ray machines in cartoons before this. Up until then, I’d never had a broken bone, stitches, or any reason to experience medical technology except for a concussion I had in the fourth grade – mom couldn’t afford the recommended head scans though (playground injury).
X-rays aren’t like in the cartoons though and there’s been quite a few advancements in radiology. I laid between two hard slabs of metal and got yelled at any time I inhaled. There was a lot of noise and then it was over and I was disappointed. X-rays are boring, yeah? You can’t even see what’s going on. So one of my kidneys was failing or something. They gave me more fluids in an I.V and I went home not knowing the doctors freaked mom out by saying I was anorexic and severely underweight; I was not anorexic but I wouldn’t be surprised to discover retroactively I had an eating disorder.
Skas had an x-ray within his first month alive. He threw up everything we fed him and the doctors thought I was being a paranoid first time mother. We took him to the Children’s hospital every day it seemed like. Something didn’t feel right inside of me; I knew something was wrong so turning me away eventually became harder to do. They did an x-ray of his belly to appease me but it was unsuccessful. My little guy was too upset and the four techs couldn’t hold him still long enough to get a clear shot of his belly. So I was sent home with a screaming baby and a syringe to feed him Pedialyte through. It was all they said they could do for him. He needed to stay hydrated since his reflux was causing him to throw up. I knew it wasn’t reflux though so I kept pushing with my multiple visits to the doctors and hospital. I didn’t care.
My pressure and perseverance paid off. After two weeks of visits on record a nurse finally spotted something more than odd. Skas had lost over a pound. It wasn’t until she pointed this out to the doctor that he noticed my son’s skin was so white you could see his every vein. He took him from me and sent him for admission straight away. I got to learn what an upper GI series is. They weren’t going to try and squish him between metal slabs this time. No, this time they needed me to pin to him to a table while they shoved tubes up his nose. Blood oozed from his nostril, over the tube and into his mouth. I chipped a tooth from clamping my jaw as I held his tiny, writhing and screaming body to the table. They gave him a tiny glass bottle and we all turned to the monitor hanging above him.
I watched this liquid slime its way into his esophagus and down. We watched it coat his stomach and right as I cocked my head in question as to why his stomach was filling up so quickly, they stole his bottle and pulled the tube from his nose. He had what’s known as pyloric stenosis which is when the muscle is too tight or enlarged at the base of the stomach to allow food to pass into the small intestine. A quick 4 hour surgery corrected this and the change in him was literally immediate. My advice? Never dismiss your momma instincts. Question them, sure, but don’t dismiss them; they could be all that will save your baby.
Fast forward 3 years to my stroke. I got to experience one of the coolest x-rays but I was too drugged and flirting with the tech to know it! I had what’s called a cerebral angiogram. Something in my head busted open, taking out my left side, but the MRI couldn’t provide enough information for doctors to make a diagnosis. So they inserted a catheter through my groin and pushed it up to my brain where they released a contrast and watched it travel throughout the vessels in my head. If I hadn’t been so busy staring up at this techs scruffy neck and jaw, I would have been able to see what my brain and it’s leeching AVM looked like but delirium and shock just doesn’t work that way.
My last x-ray was just after New Years. I’ve had a few neuro scans in between but they aren’t worth discussing. They were after a couple bad epileptic attacks (It’s actually NEAD). The first weekend of Christmas break (2015), I dropped a brand new 40 oz jar of peanut butter on my foot, it was pretty brutal. I mean, it was really bad. I cried a lot that day, and the next. If you’re interested in the story or pictures, they’re here. It took 2 weeks for x-rays to see if I broke my toe. By the time I went in, there was little change in my toe. It was still severely bruised, swollen, inflamed, cloudy, red, purple, black…a rainbow of ugly.
Of all the types of x-rays I experienced, I was still somehow impressed with this machine. All I had to do was stand there and the tech maneuvered the arm of it to any height or distance she needed. It was almost like the dentist ones only smoother and with more reach. It was fast and efficient. I never got the results so I can only assume the damage was too far past time to worry or it wasn’t broken. The toe itself looks funny but I won’t know if that’s permanent until the nail grows back.