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Barium for breakfast

I had a CT scan this morning. If they want to look at your digestive system, they send you home with a couple of bottles of barium. The first is to be consumed before bed the night before. The first third of the bottle isn’t bad at all. It’s kind of thick and chalky, but they make some effort to flavor it.

It gets harder and harder, though, and by the end of a full 450ml bottle of barium sulfate, it’s rather hard to take that one last sip.

Then there’s more barium for breakfast, and a last slug right before the scan.

The CT scan itself is easy and quick: I had an 8:30 appointment, and was back in my car at 8:48. They give you an IV contrast as well, to highlight the vascular network as well as the digestive system outlined in barium sulfate. The radiologist is always very careful to warn you that the IV contrast will make you feel warm, and like you peed your pants, but you didn’t really. No idea if that’s the same for men.

Now it’s just the waiting. And, well, the getting rid of all the barium I drank. Did I mention white and chalky?

Meanwhile, I’m now having coffee with toasted and buttered hot cross buns. That tastes a whole lot better.


  1. Aoife says:

    Had this conversation with a fellow on the elevator, as he was leaving from his contrast session. ke was totally skeeved and somewhat ashamed at feeling that feeling, even though it was for no good reason. He was waiting for all heck to break loose, down there, I guess. Having had a contrast study done myself, I mentioned that I hated that feeling of your body failing you is an important way, from the contrast entering the system, even if it wasn’t a real accident. He was vastly relieved. I guess no one warned him.

    Also, how did I miss Hot Cross buns this season? Now Easter has come and gone, and I am bun-less. I will have to make some, I guess.

    Chin up, it’s almost over and this effing cancer can go back to hades, from whence it escaped, and where it belongs.



  2. Mari says:

    I had one of those done, the whole nasty drink and then the contrast. Ugh. The taste was the worst. Mine was orange. What flavor did they try to pass off on you?

  3. Laura says:

    Ew. The closest experience I have had is with cod liver oil, which Mom used to inflict on us. I am not a morning person, and starting the day with orange-flavored cod liver oil…ew. Not as bad as 450 ml of chalky flavored liquid, yuck! Coffee and hot cross bun must be extra heavenly following that!

  4. Marjorie says:

    Wow. 450ml is a *lot* of liquid chalk to have to drink. I hope the pictures that come back make it all worth while!

  5. laura g says:

    I agree! So not fun to drink chalk, each cup needing more mind over upchuck thoughts to get through it. The things we do for beautiful pictures. You had good planning to have homemade hot cross buns ready to go! I don’t know if you planned to have some left specifically for post test but incentive never hurts. I am taking note and next awful test ..homemade goodies will be waiting.
    Amazing how quickly you were in and out from your test. Quicker than a drive through-chalky shake included.