CT scans can be a little daunting if you haven’t had one before. A few weeks ago I had my 11th CT scan, leaving just one more (*knock on wood*) before I’m DONE. We’ve posted about CT scans before and went through what a typical CT scan process is like. You can read that post here.
Today we’re going to get straight to the nitty gritty and let you in on some helpful CT scan tips to make the scan easier and more comfortable!
[list_item]be on time.[/list_item]
This can definitely reduce some of the stress involved with heading to the hospital for a scan to look for cancer…an event that is kind of emotionally heavy regardless of the outcome. Being on time helps you stay on schedule with the other appointments you probably have that day and it makes everything feel less hectic.
[list_item]have a bottle of water.[/list_item]
The contrast used in a CT scan needs to be flushed out of your system once the scan is complete. The way to do this? Water! You’re probably already thirsty from not being able to drink water for a few hours prior to the scan, but nevertheless, carry around a bottle of water for the rest of the day and drink, drink, drink! Rehydrating is key.
Those awful hospital paper outfits are…well…they are awful! For a CT scan, if you avoid wearing metal you can usually keep your own clothes on. Wear pants without a metal zipper and button. Wear a sports bra or skip the bra altogether! Have a sweater handy that doesn’t have a metal closure. You get the picture…no metal and you’re good to go.
[list_item]have a sweater or jacket.[/list_item]
Hospitals are cold and you’re body is running low on food and water before the scan making you even more susceptible to feeling chilly. Have layers (without metal) ready to go. Plus, sweaters or jackets can serve a second purpose as well. When they start an IV, having some fabric bunched up under the tourniquet can make the process a bit more comfortable. I roll up my sleeve on the arm they use for the IV and the tourniquet goes around all of that bunched up fabric.
[list_item]bring a buddy.[/list_item]
Typically you’re not sedated for a CT scan so you can bring yourself. Being alone though can make the whole experience that much harder. Bring a friend, have them bring something to entertain themselves while you’re being scanned, and you can look forward to seeing their bright, shining smile back in the waiting room once you’re done! (Or you can look forward to seeing their bright yawn if your scan is early in the morning) 😉
[list_item]know that this is a big deal.[/list_item]
While sometimes others in your life (and maybe even yourself) may start to consider your medical appointments and scans to be routine…they are not! There is very little routine about a young adult having cancer and every step along the way is allowed to require emotional consideration and space. Try not to feel too weighed down by the reason for the scan, but allow yourself some extra TLC if you need it.
Do you have any other CT scan tips that I have missed or forgotten? I’d love to add them to the list!