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 Post subject: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:09 pm 
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Does anyone have any experience of this? All I have is a leaflet telling me that I'll be injected with something radioactive and not to be near children for 24hrs after the fact. So that's helpful and super-explanatory...

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:24 pm 
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Whaaaa? Are you finally going to get those superpowers?

ETA: Not helpful.

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:36 pm 
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This gonna be me:

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Also wall-climbing and shiitake.

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:36 pm 
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What exactly are you having done? I've had quite a few tests done recently that required injection of radioactive dye. I was never told to stay away from children afterwards. Maybe my kids will develop superpowers. I mean...the toddler doesn't require sleep anymore it seems. Maybe it's the start of her transformation?

(I had CT and MRI scans. Next Tuesday I am having a gastric emptying study where I will be eating food with some sort of nuclear medicine mixed in.)


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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:39 pm 
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I had a couple of gallium scans back in the day. it was less exciting than expected :(

did not:
- glow in the dark
- gain superpowers
- grow spare limbs

2 stars.

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:41 pm 
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I do remember having some test as a child for my kidneys and I peed purple for a while after. That was a little entertaining.


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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:48 pm 
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i was a nuclear medicine tech for five years. if it's 24 hours, i assume you're getting technetium, which is a relatively low-energy gamma emitter that decays quickly and clears from the body quite fast. a full-body Tc-99 scan exposes you to less radiation than a single chest x-ray, if you're just concerned about the radiation. do you have specific questions?

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:54 pm 
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Well, the NHS is super-vague as always. "Have a leaflet! That'll tell you bits n bobs! Stay away from children! Pee loads! Gerritupye!" About the jist.

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:15 pm 
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acr wrote:
i was a nuclear medicine tech for five years. if it's 24 hours, i assume you're getting technetium, which is a relatively low-energy gamma emitter that decays quickly and clears from the body quite fast. a full-body Tc-99 scan exposes you to less radiation than a single chest x-ray, if you're just concerned about the radiation. do you have specific questions?

Absolutely have no idea what you're talking about. Socialism! (eh?)

They don't tell you this sort of shiitake in the NHS leaflets, so we've just got to assume I'm getting injected with some sorta nuclear haggis I guess. Mmmm. Tasty.

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:17 pm 
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well, if you're getting Tc99m, that isotope has a six-hour physical half-life, so any radioactivity present in the dose you'll get will have decayed to background levels in a little over a day. but your body will be clearing it from your circulation at the same time, so you'll actually return to background a bit faster than that; it's just practical to estimate everything at the high end. drinking lots of water and peeing every 18 seconds helps flush the isotope out of your system, so that's why they mention that. the biological clearance is part of why they ask patients to avoid children and be careful about spreading body fluids or whatever--it's possible for you to leave traces of radioactivity here and there, and the gamma ray does penetrate your body and travel a short distance, and because changes induced by exposure can take a long time to lead to problems, kids are at the highest risk. but even that risk is really low with this isotope. they might bind the technetium to a chemical tracer, depending on what type of study you're having, but that won't affect the decay time. if it makes you feel better, i handled the stuff nearly every day, along with iodine-131, which emits a gamma ray with more than twice as much energy, and i still have just the one head (so far).

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:18 pm 
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acr wrote:
a full-body Tc-99 scan exposes you to less radiation than a single chest x-ray, if you're just concerned about the radiation.


this is wrong! less than a CT, on average; not less than one chest film. man. it's been a while since i thought about this stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:32 pm 
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heh, aren't CTs like 180x the average x-ray?

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:51 pm 
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it's about 100 times if we're talking chest ct relative to chest x-ray, but, yeah, not an insignificant mix-up on my part. what's terrible is i can remember very clearly hearing one of the staff techs who trained me giving the "less than an x-ray" stat to nervous patients more than once. that's probably why i wrote that, even though i can remember thinking at the time, "gosh, that seems wrong . . ."

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:54 pm 
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I've had a couple doses of radioactive iodine in varying levels. Once, I even had to be penned up in the hospital for 5 days and had to walk on a series of these weird pads in order to go to the bathroom. I could only have visitors for about 30 minutes at a time, and the hospital seemed to only have about 10 channels. I was very, very bored.

Oh, and my insurance at the time didn't want to pay for me to have a private room. My mom called to yell at them because I had to be in isolation. Insurance companies are the worst.

Usually, though, it was a bunch of gigantic pills that came in an extremely heavy metal canister. I once (probably for the isolation) had to take 7 at a time, and after suffering through the first half one at a time, I said fork it and swallowed the last three at once. Fun times.

So, no glowing, superpowers or extra appendages here, sorry to report.

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:07 pm 
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I was told not to cross the border for fear I'd look like I was smuggling plutonium. I thought that was kind of neat in a I'm-probably-sterile-now way.*

*I wish!

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:27 am 
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I have nothing to add but wanted to say that this is one of the coolest threads ever and I hope it has a comic book ending where interrobang?! saves the world from something.

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:06 am 
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Sorry, interrobang, this stuff isn't as cool as it sounds. But, you can make up for that by spending the 24 hours following your procedure by making silly radioactive jokes. That counts for something, right?

I've had the injection and the kind you drink. Sometimes you feel like you are peeing down your leg (but you aren't), sometimes you feel a little overheated for a minute, but I've never had any side effects from them (and I am the Queen of Side Effects, believe me).

Hope all goes smoothly for you!

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:25 am 
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Can you eat lots of Ready Brek too, just to amplify the glow??


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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:54 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:02 am 
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I had a really interesting talk with UCSC's Radiation Safety Officer a while back. He told me that they check garbage for radiation at landfills (as it comes off the trucks, I guess) and about a frantic search for the source of a set of fairly hot adult diapers... It turns out that they'd come from the house of a very old and sick man who had just had some pretty intense radiotherapy (iodine, maybe? maybe not, since it was something with a long half-life, and it was something you poop out) but had forgotten that he was supposed to put all his radioactive diapers into a special bag the hospital had provided and would pick up later for safe disposal (or at least safe enclosure at a waste facility). The local police wanted to rush in and arrest him, but the safety officer talked them down, figuring that no harm was done and if the guy was getting this level of treatment for something he was probably already dying and they should just leave him alone... I don't think they ever even talked to the guy about it and just left him alone...

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:06 am 
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Oh, yes! Lavaswitch mentioned the only side effects I've ever experienced. When it is injected through your IV you will feel it move through your body. Each part gets warm so you will feel flush and like you pissed yourself as she said. It's over pretty fast. No one warned me about the peeing sensation so I was pretty embarrassed until I realized I did not urinate on the table. I hope this info is helpful! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:01 am 
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solipsistnation wrote:
I had a really interesting talk with UCSC's Radiation Safety Officer a while back. He told me that they check garbage for radiation at landfills (as it comes off the trucks, I guess) and about a frantic search for the source of a set of fairly hot adult diapers... It turns out that they'd come from the house of a very old and sick man who had just had some pretty intense radiotherapy (iodine, maybe? maybe not, since it was something with a long half-life, and it was something you poop out) but had forgotten that he was supposed to put all his radioactive diapers into a special bag the hospital had provided and would pick up later for safe disposal (or at least safe enclosure at a waste facility). The local police wanted to rush in and arrest him, but the safety officer talked them down, figuring that no harm was done and if the guy was getting this level of treatment for something he was probably already dying and they should just leave him alone... I don't think they ever even talked to the guy about it and just left him alone...

it probably was radioiodine. it isn't really an extreme form of treatment; it's used only for thyroid hyperactivity/cancer, and if it's an option it's often preferable to invasive procedures. I-131 has a longish half-life (about eight days) and a high keV. when i was in veterinary nuclear medicine, we had to hold all of our I-131 trash (like, mountains of contaminated cat litter) for weeks to let it decay in house. we had a freezer to store it in, but it was still pretty unpleasant. the hospital i worked at got inspected once because something had triggered the geiger counters at a local dump, and the head of our radiology department had to go out there and wade around in the garbage to try to figure out whether the radioactive trash was ours (it wasn't). the fine isn't small potatoes, so that safety officer did that guy a real favor.

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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:25 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:22 pm 
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interrobang?! wrote:
Well, the NHS is super-vague as always. "Have a leaflet! That'll tell you bits n bobs! Stay away from children! Pee loads! Gerritupye!" About the jist.


I asked an NHS nurse what was the purple liquid she was giving me as part of an h. pylori test once, and she said 'that's your medicine'.


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 Post subject: Re: Nuclear medicine
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:25 pm 
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jrl wrote:
interrobang?! wrote:
Well, the NHS is super-vague as always. "Have a leaflet! That'll tell you bits n bobs! Stay away from children! Pee loads! Gerritupye!" About the jist.


I asked an NHS nurse what was the purple liquid she was giving me as part of an h. pylori test once, and she said 'that's your medicine'.

AND YOU WILL LIKE IT!

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