I went to Northwestern for Pre-transplant testing.

My first appointment was with Dr. Zuskar the psychologist.  First- her office is NOT attached to the hospital.  Maybe that was obvious to others but it wasn’t to me.  I live in Chicago so maybe they assumed I would know this but I figured McClurg Court was a hospital wing like Galter Pavilion or Arkes Pavilion. So it took some for me to find it and the staff at the hospital didn’t seem to know where she was.  They looked me up in Epic (the software system) and didn’t see that appointment so I figured she isn’t associated with them and I will truly have to go back outside and ask the girl in my phone, Siri, for help.  When you get off on her floor, it’s apartments.  I wasn’t prepared for that.  The instructions said to go in and have a seat in the waiting room but I felt weird opening a private residential door so I knocked.  She answered and let me in and I saw there is in fact a waiting room there.  So for those of you who go there feel free to open the door.  🙂  She said that Dr. Burt believes in mind-body connection and she asked a few questions mainly about any fears, coping mechanism, support system, etc.  She gave me her card in case I should want to call her.

Next I went back to the hospital to do labs and EKG.  The phlebotomist took 11 vials of blood!  I don’t like to look so I turned my head but I asked her how many and she told me.  She told me she would also need urine and I was glad I had brought a bottle of water to drink with me because that wasn’t listed on the tests.  She also did the EKG and that was pretty easy.  I did the urine sample and was on my way.

I did the chest x-ray next which is fine….if you have a larger chest like me you have to really hug that machine so it gets close enough to your lungs.

The pulmonary function tests were okay.  I think I’ll be hearing the lady say “blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow!!!! in my sleep tonite.  You’re in this little booth thing and she has you put your mouth on this tube thing and puts a clamp on your nose and tells you when to blow, how fast or slow and when to take a deep breath, etc.  At one point she closes the door to the booth and warns me that I won’t be able to take a deep breath in which made me a little nervous but it was fine.

Lastly, I did the 2D Echo.  That was fine too.  Was kind of cool to see my heart.  She said my heart is beautiful so that was reassuring.  The only part that was uncomfortable was the gel stuff gets wet and yucky and I toweled it off but I was glad it was my last test so I could come home to shower.  Oh and she pushed the wand against my ribs at one point a bit and that was a little uncomfortable but necessary.

The staff at northwestern are great.

Here are my take-aways…..

  1. Don’t go alone, try to bring someone with you.  I wish I had someone with me I was tired and got turned around and it’s a long day and a lot of walking for us MS people.
  2. If you drive…..which I rarely do these days but I did today….make a note of where you park your car in the garage.  Not just the floor you parked on but what entrance you came in and which row.  Look to see what your car is facing.  I thought I was fine knowing I parked on the Frank Sinatra floor but I didn’t realize there were multiple entrances to that floor.  I found myself walking too much before I realized I could use my keychain to make my car beep and finally found it.  It wasn’t far I was just out of it.
  3. Bring a bottle of water to drink for the urine test.
  4. Charge your phone before you get to there and take your charger inside with you just in case.  I had to go back to my car to charge my phone during the time I should have gotten something to eat for lunch so I didn’t have a chance to grab anything until after 2pm.