Friday, August 25, 2006

Bone Scan

Went to the hospital tuesday to get a bone scan. This is another radio-nuclear test, and while I understand the mechanics of HOW it works, I'm not sure why Dr. T sent me to get one. I guess they want tto make sure there is no cancer lurking somewhere they don't know about. Once again I was injected with a radio-isotope, this time technitium-99m, a beta emitter with a half-life of about 6 hours. As with the PET scan, I was given an injection of the isotope mixed with a compound that some part of my body likes, specifically magnesium, which is absorbed by bones. This time it took about 3 hours for the compound to be distributed throughout my body, but unlike the PET scan, it doesn't matter what you do during those hours, so they send you away for a while.

On my return I was placed in the scanner, which is just a camera that is sensitive to gamma rays. The proceedure was painless and took less than a half-hour, with the results that you see above. According to the diagnostician, no abnormalites were observed, so I guess I passed this test with flying colors.

Oh yeah. This time I remebered to bring a geiger counter with me, and boy was I hot! I carried it around with me for a few days and watched the readings slowly decrease. After about 24 hours (4 half-lives) you could actually distinguish my kidneys (which is how the technitium leaves your body, in the urine) from the rest of my torso by the increased radiation. In the 3 hour gap between the injection and the scan I wanted to go downtown and stand outside the White House to see if the radioactivity I gave off was enough to be noticed by the Secret Service, but instead I opted to take the nanny out to the community college and help her register for classes. Cancer or no cancer, it turns out I still have responsibilities I can't duck.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just I am to have a bone scan long did your geiger counter keep going off until you finally realized you were no longer "hot" ? Thanks,

12:42 PM  

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