Can I have fries with that shake?

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Tomorrow morning, I get to drink a nice, thick Barium shake for breakfast. Nothing like heavy metal to start the day! I've been having really bad stomach pains for the past year and the docs can't seem to figure out why. I started this blog six months ago with my gastroscopy experience. This will be the fifth test I've had in the search for the cause of my pain and nausea.

Barium, a heavy metal, is radioopaque, and when x-rayed, allows doctors to see soft tissues that normally wouldn't show up clearly. A barium shake is very thick and chalky and not so tasty despite the addition of a chocolate-like (or sometimes orange-like) substance. Maybe the flavoring is the reason they call it a "shake." Yum. At least you don't have to drink as much barium as you did years ago. I remember having to drink two large "shakes" before an intestinal x-ray a number of years back. "Drinking" might not be the best word as it was so thick I could barely suck it through the straw. My throat actually got sore from the effort. Anyway, now the size of the shakes is more like a medium instead of a large. So that's kinda good. The newest addition to the test is a capful of dry gas pellets that you have to swallow and then they explode in your stomach and expand it. Poprocks are for wimps. Coke and Mentos have nothing on the wild antics that happen in the radiology department!

So, bottoms up and I hope it pays off. Have you ever had a test where you really hope they find something to explain the pain but you also hope that they don't find anything (anything bad, that is)? I'm really sick of not being able to eat and being in so much pain, so I do want something to show up. Something easy to treat, please. With a side of fries.


Variations on a theme

These are the rusted gears of an old, hulking farm machine. Revisited. I could see these in lightboxes. Maybe it's time to get things off the computer and onto the walls.