Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pre-Admission Test Day and my First Piece of Advice

Today was the day I went in for my pre-admission testing at the hospital.  I needed blood tests, an EKG, some chest X-rays, and a urinalysis.  I was told to expect the process to take a couple of hours, and it actually would have only taken half as long -- except my bladder wouldn't cooperate. 

I am always terrifically dehydrated upon waking.  Every morning, especially in the winter time when I don't drink enough water and my furnace is cranking out dry, dusty, desiccating heat seemingly nonstop, I wake up parched.  This morning was no different. 

As I left the house I realized that I was going to have to pee in a cup, so I decided to stop at Starbucks and grab an Americano and a water before heading over to the hospital.  The hospital is only about ten minutes from my house, but I figured if I chugged my beverages quickly enough, by the time they asked me to pee I'd be ready. 

I walked into the reception area and gave the woman at the desk all my information: insurance card, photo ID, et cetera.  She asked me a bunch of questions and then handed me a cup and a bag.  "Your sample goes in the cup, then put the cup inside the bag, seal it, and put it in the metal cabinet in the wall," she said.  I'm glad she clarified, because I was TOTALLY thinking I needed to pee in the bag (eye roll).  Anyway, I started to panic, realizing that I did NOT have to pee AT ALL.  Not one bit.  But I had to try.  "We just need a small amount," she said, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to get anything out.

I managed to get out a drop - hardly enough for them to use, but I put it in the aforementioned packaging configuration nevertheless and went on my way.  Sure enough, I was told, "we can't use that; you'll have to give us another one later on."  I excused myself to the waiting room to retrieve my coffee, and for good measure I grabbed a cup of water from the cooler.  I was going to need all the help I could get.

When I went back to the room, it was time for a blood draw.  They were taking four vials.  The nurse asked me which arm I wanted to use, and I told her, "it doesn't really matter. They both have super deep veins with a lot of scar tissue."  This has been an issue of mine for as long as I can remember, and in fact the only people who have ever been truly successful at drawing my blood upon the first stick are the folks at the Red Cross when I donate blood.  She finally found my vein, but thanks to my dehydrated state, the blood wouldn't flow.  So she ended up sticking my hand instead, which is always a super pleasant experience.

The only thing left to do after the blood draw was the chest Xray, so I left the pre-admissions department and grabbed another cup of water on my way out.  After 12 ounces of coffee at at least 24 ounces of water, I was sure I'd have to pee soon. I figured by the time my xrays were done, my bladder would be ready to cooperate, and then I could get the hell out of there.

My Xrays took maybe ten minutes, and after they were done I still didn't have to pee.

I went to the cafeteria and debated whether or not to spend $2 on a bottle of water.  Sitting in the cafeteria, I played around on my phone for a little while - including googling "how long after drinking will you need to pee" - and then decided to just go back to pre-admissions, get some water, and wait it out there.  I went back, filled a cup, and then wandered the halls with it, thinking that maybe if I moved around a bit it would help things along.  I figured it works for pregnant women and babies; why not bladders and urine?  I went back periodically to the water cooler and filled my cup a few more times. 

Finally after another half an hour I felt a tiny twinge.  I had to pee!  Sort of.  I mean, at least I felt like if I tried this time I'd be able to get more than just a drop.  So I walked up to the window and proudly proclaimed, "I owe you a urine sample, and I'm ready to give it to you now!"  The receptionist, who was clearly unimpressed, directed me to the bathroom once more, and there I produced a satisfactorily substantial sample.  I walked out feeling exceptionally relieved, knowing this was now behind me, and I was now that much closer to Sleeve Day.

By the time I pulled out of the hospital's parking lot, I had to pee again.  Since my house is just a few minutes from the hospital, I just kept going, and by the time I pulled into my driveway I had to piss like a racehorse and could hardly stand it.  I was only home for a few minutes, just long enough to eat a quick bowl of oatmeal and grab a few things I needed for the rest of the day, but in that time I peed twice more.  By the time I got to work 15 minutes away, I had to pee again.  And in the four hours I was in my office, I ran to the bathroom every 30 minutes.  Brutal!

So my advice to anyone having this done is, if nothing else, make sure you are adequately hydrated when you go for your tests.  Proper hydration is a must all the time, but it's especially important when you're going to be giving fluids. Lesson learned.  And I'll close this entry now, because I have to pee again.

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