Tedious, mostly. I had to eat a sandwich made from microwaved and radioactive egg white and dry toast, with half a glass of water. It was a little hard to swallow, since it was pretty dang dry. Because they need a solids study, not a liquids study. Apparently we don't care how fast my gut processes liquids.
Then I had to lay still for 90 minutes while the machine that was 4 inches from my nose watched that egg travel from my stomach into my small and then large intestines. That was a little unnerving at first, having this big box right over me. I was very grateful it wasn't completely over my face.
I am thinking I do not have a problem with my stomach emptying too slowly, since the sandwich made it to my large intestine in 50 minutes.
(Were I to work in the Nuclear Medicine Element, I would want to have two patients take this test at the same time and place bets on whose sandwich moves through the fastest.)
Laying on my back on a narrow bed without moving for 90 minutes sucks. Things itch, my body doesn't like lying flat without moving so muscles start to hurt. And my sleeves were bugging me -- I had to pull them up to eat the sandwich (don't want to drag your sleeves through your radioactive breakfast) and I forgot to pull them down again. It's a new sweatshirt and they were a little tight around my forearms.
Fortunately I had my IPod, and fortunately I had almost exactly 90 minutes of battery power...I think it would have died in another couple minutes. I listened to a podcast of NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me radio show, which was great but also hard because it's funny and I had to try not to laugh or laugh without moving. (It's a great current events quiz show. Very funny. The podcasts are available on ITunes for free.)
Also, laying on my back is about the only position where I tend not to feel nauseated. So I hardly at all felt like I was going to throw up (nice change from the other time I was in Nuclear Medicine having a scan of my lungs done to make sure I didn't have a pulmonary embolism. That time I threw up in their garbage cans three times, including one time right after I had spent 10 minutes filling my lungs with radioactive dust, so that they had to treat that particular garbage can's contents as radioactive. For a couple of weeks, the hospital had a garbage bag with my radioactive vomit in their lead-lined vault. Woo.)
In a couple weeks I have the ultrasound of my gut. I also have a new drug -- Zofran -- to try for the nausea. I haven't tried it yet -- I didn't want to take one the night before the gastric emptying scan in case it's another one of those drugs that knocks me on my ass. I think I will try it tonight, depending of course on whether or not I am feeling nauseated.
Thus my medical adventures continue...