CT scan (and life’s little accidents)

by shaysemmens

I wasn’t originally going to write about CT scans as I – for some reason – thought of them as rather commonplace. However,  after having one yesterday I realised that this is of course a ridiculous view to have. I’m sure most people out there have never had one. Furthermore, they are definitely worth writing about

I’ve had a few CT scans now over the past several years, and the experience has always been just about the same each time. The first involves this:-

Settle down. That isn’t my pee in a cup. It’s stuff they call ‘contrast’ mixed with some orange cordial. You are made to drink 3 cups of this over roughly 30 minutes before the scan starts. This contrast obviously assists the scan by showing up in the scans rather well… or something. It’s been a while since anyone explained its purpose in detail, but I’m relatively certain we’re not being made to drink it just for fun. It doesn’t taste great, but it’s far from the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted (thank you, original recipe Mother) so this isn’t at all difficult

The next part presumably depends on the area of your body that requires the scan, but for me it has always been my torso and I’ve always been made to wear these snazzy pants:-


After you get you changed, a nurse will stick a cannula into you, like so. This is to inject you with some other dye just before the scan starts. This dye (which probably isn’t regular dye, in case you were wondering) can cause a rather hilarious and awkward sensation, but I will come to that shortly.

You are then taken into a room with the machine itself. I failed to get a photo of the machine, but it’s similar enough to the PET scan machine that you can probably refer to that. It’s basically a giant doughnut with a bed/stretcher that slides through it back and forth as required. Due to the nature of my scans, I’ve always been made to lie on my back with my arms over my head, feet towards the doughnut part of the machine. The technician then runs me through to perform a few tests and then the fun really begins, as the dye is injected into you via the cannula.

The sensation I mentioned earlier is basically one of warmth, which starts in your arm, and works its way towards your head and then down through your body. It’s actually a rather nice feeling. That is, however, until it reaches your crotch area. The warmth stops and lingers here, and there’s no way around it – it feels like you’ve wet your pants. And given the stylish pants they’ve made you wear, that would indeed be a tragedy. The nurse/technician should have told you in advance about this sensation, but it doesn’t really matter. It feels incredibly awkward anyway. Worse still if the nurse/technician failed to warn you, and you think you actually did (this didn’t happen to me – but I know of two people that it did happen to). Hilarious for everyone else, but bad for them.

If you ever have a CT scan and you aren’t warned in advance, hopefully you remember this blog post. If not, we may all have a good laugh at your expense, I’m afraid.