Day #2-Testing Day #1

Today was a day of non-stop testing.  I was informed it could start as early as 6:00am so I was ready to go at that time, but it didn’t really start till closer to 8am.  So I woke up hungry and thirsty but couldn’t eat or drink until after the abdominal ultrasound was done with.  So as soon as I woke up I peed in the 2 cups I was given.  Really I had needed to pee several hours prior to that but waited until the 6:00am time I was given, that was tough… After that a nurse came in and did my mouth and nose swab, which was fast and not painful.  Many people in the past mentioned getting a butt swab done as well at that time, but none of us got that today, so not sure if that is happening tomorrow or not. Dr. F stopped by to see how I was doing and to inform me of the happenings of the day.  He has such a great bedside manner, I love it.  It is something not seen in the US. After that it was time to go down the hall to get blood drawn, I think it was around 8 tubes, didn’t really pay attention just seen a ton sitting there that all ended up being filled. Nurse managed to hit my vein the first try, really impressive for my veins, but she smartly picked my left arm, lucky her.

Then back to the room for just a short period of time before Anastasia rounded the 3 of us up that started yesterday and had us go upstairs to get our breathing/lung test done as well as our chest and sinus x-rays and abdominal ultrasounds.  The breathing test was pretty simple, they plug your nose and you breathe into a tube normally, then sharply inhale and exhale.  Pretty basic and we all passed that test.  Then it was time for the x-rays and ultrasound.  X-rays were pretty straight forward, one you had to open your mouth so they could get one of the sinuses, and then the other was a basic chest x-ray.  Quick and painless.  Then it was time for the abdominal ultrasound.  Back to being shirtless again….but today the bra got to stay on.  It was a basic abdominal ultrasound, where they looked around and made sure all the organs looked good.  Basically if you’ve been pregnant it’s about as time consuming as one of those abdominal ultrasounds for that.

Then it was back to the room for a bit, where we got to enjoy our cold breakfast #1 that arrived shortly after we left our rooms.  This was a meal I opted to not eat much of.  It was an oatmeal type thing that had jelled up and at that time did not appear to be edible at all.  It came with bread and a piece of cheese and I did eat those 2 items.  I didn’t snap a picture at the time because I just wanted to eat something.  I finished off that meal by eating a couple breakfast bars that I brought with me for these sorts of occasions.  That was followed up by breakfast #2 that showed up shortly afterwards.  They serve 2 breakfasts here, one at around 9:00am and the other around 12:00pm.  This breakfast appears to be the more interesting of the two served each morning.  Today it consisted of 2 cooked apples, 1 hardboiled egg, small piece of beef and a cup of something that I think was a type of plum tea. Not super appealing, but edible and I was hungry. Pic below.

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Breakfast #2

Then right after I finished eating that, it was off for another batch of tests.  This time it was  ultrasounds on the legs and heart.  I get in the room and the lady promptly asked me to drop my pants and undies, well I’m on my period (lucky me) so I was allowed to keep my undies on just had to keep the waist band lifted up the whole time for each leg.  So she slathered up my legs with the gel and had at it.  Scanned up and down both legs.  Then I was allowed to put on my pants and then I had to remove my shirt and bra and lay back down for the heart ultrasound.  This one consisted of laying on my left side while she moved the wand all around my chest region, then onto my back where she did a few more pictures.  Then I finally could put on all my clothes and leave.  That lady did say that my results were perfect and I got approval from her for my procedure, so that is good news.

Then back to my room for my lunch, which again showed up when I was gone and was cold.  It consisted of blended broccoli soup, a beef stew type concoction, buckwheat, and bread.  I’ve never eaten buckwheat before, because in the US that is typically grown only for livestock food, but it has an interesting flavor.  I managed to eat my soup and stew and a couple bites of the buckwheat before I got yanked away for my MRI.  So put the bread in a bag in the fridge and off I went again.  But I did snap a pic of lunch before I dug in.

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Lunch

Then off I went for the MRI.  First I had to stop to get my vein poked so they could insert the contrast dye during the scan, I knew this wouldn’t go well as my good arm vein was poked earlier in the day.  So she tried to poke my right arm, and was twisting the needle around to try and get it to work, quite painful and collapsed my vein. So we stuck with the right arm and I got stabbed in the back of my wrist, that managed to work, so I was good to go. This was probably the most exciting part of the day since as opposed to just going up a couple floors, we went to the basement and got to walk through the underground corridors to get to the opposite end of the hospital before going back up to get to the MRI room.  It was the basic brain and spine MRI. Pushed in the tube, scanned, pulled back out, dye injected, back in the tube, then done.

Finally I was done and free to go back to my room to pee and eat, but no, I got called back to get my needle pulled out from my wrist.  Then I was told again I could go back to my room, got halfway down the hall and was getting yelled at to hurry back to the elevator, so up we went to the 4th floor to watch the stem cell birthday celebration for the 3 people who got their stem cells returned back today.  It was a nice ceremony and there was chocolate cake, which was amazing compared to the normal diet. Finally I could return to my room to pee and eat and my lunch was gone when I got back….  But I did get to pee.

While at the ceremony I did get to meet everyone else who is currently being treated here that isn’t currently in isolation.  Me, a gal from Britain, and a guy from Norway all started yesterday.  A gal from Australia and a gal from Norway started today, and supposedly they have another person starting today, but nobody has seen them yet. I’ve been messaging the gal from Australia so it was nice to finally get to meet her and her hubby in person.

The hardest thing about being here really is the language barrier.  Very few people here speak any English, in fact they really don’t speak any other language, just Russian.  The main doctors and Anastasia speak good English, but most others just know a few words, so it gets confusing at times.  But frantic gesturing usually gets the point across.

But now I am done with testing for the day.  The only testing I have left will be done tomorrow morning.  It’s the dreaded gynecological exam and transvaginal ultrasound.  Since I am on my period it will make things a bit more interesting, but shouldn’t be a big deal. Most women have had a t/v ultrasound when pregnant so already know what to expect.  Dr. F already knows I’m on the rag so he knows that if my urine tests positive for blood that’s why and then he’d just have me do another urine test once I’m done.  Then at some point in time I believe there is an eye exam and someone mentioned them looking at teeth, guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

Now onto dinner.  Tonight was a meal of fish, a whitefish of some sort but I have no idea what type, mashed potatoes, bread, and cookies.  I’m not a huge fish eater at all but I braved the fish and it really wasn’t that bad.  It was pretty mild tasting for fish.  The mashed potatoes were amazing. Russians, much like people in Idaho, understand how to properly make mashed potatoes, so potatoes will always be a winning food for me. This was the first meal I’ve actually gotten to eat all the way through today that was somewhat appealing so it wasn’t bad. Here’s a pic of dinner.

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Dinner

I believe everyone else who is being treated at the same time frame as me has carers with them, which is kind of odd, usually more people come alone.  I think everyone else bailed for the night and is out eating on the town or staying in the motel with their spouses, friends, parents, etc.  I was going to head outside and roam the grounds this evening, but it’s raining pretty good outside, so I’m gonna stay inside and perhaps work on my cross-stitching.  But I’ll be back posting tomorrow about day #2 of testing!

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About Cat

I'm an outdoorsy gal, wife, mom of 2 and MS Warrior. I underwent HSCT in Russia in April/May 2016 to halt my MS and documented my entire journey while I was there in my blog and am now continuing to blog through my recovery.
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