Today I went in to have my radioactive iodine uptake and CT scan on my eyes.
A radioactive iodine uptake (RAIU) test uses a radioactive tracer and a special probe to measure how much tracer the thyroid gland absorbs from the blood. The test can show how much tracer is absorbed by the thyroid gland and if it is evenly spread in the gland. This helps your doctor know if the thyroid gland is working properly. The radioactive tracer commonly used in this test is iodine.
A radioactive iodine uptake test is done to find problems with how the thyroid gland works, such as hyperthyroidism. An RAIU test may be done at the same time as a thyroid scan.
Why It Is Done
A radioactive iodine uptake (RAIU) test is done to:
- Find the cause of an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).
- Plan treatment for hyperthyroidism.”
I arrived at the Radiology provider early, and to my suprise there was a massive sign at the desk saying they don’t bulk bill. I questioned this immediately, As I was told that these scans would be bulk billed and I was not prepared with the cash to pay for them. I told the receptionist that I didnt know there was an upfront cost and she asked me if I had been given a quote over the phone when I booked. Which I didnt. Nor was I told to fast, but I did anyway to be safe.
I asked how much it would cost me, to be told It would be $800 upfront and I would get back about half from Medicare. I could feel the tears start swelling up in my eyes and my chest hurting. I knew we only had $200 left for food, nappies and groceries until pay day in 2 weeks. There was no way I could pay for this. If I had been told the price beforehand I could have borrowed the funds from my parents, but it was too late. I told the lady I would be unable to have them done and I would have to come back in 2 weeks when my husband gets paid. She had a look at my request forms and to my surprise she said to me “ If you can get your doctor to fax a letter to us now recommending we bulk bill you, we can do it for you with no cost”.
I was so humbled at this act of kindness (most health care providers would never do such a thing) that I quickly rang my surgery and spoke to my doctors administrator. I explained my situation, and she was more than supportive especially knowing we had two children and that I wasn’t working. She advised she would leave an urgent message for my DR to fax the supporting letter as soon as she arrived that morning. In the meantime I was allowed to have my scans without having to wait. I felt so incredibly grateful.
My scans were a piece of cake. I was given an intrevenous injection in my inner elbow, of radioactive iodine. I discussed my concern of being radioactive and was told not to have close contact with my toddler for 12 hours. I then went on to lay down very still on a machine that did about 6 x 5 minute scans of my throat from front and sides. I was freezing cold, and they gave me a blanket to keep me warm while I rested on the machine. I heard the two radiologist discussing my scan, and overheard one of them say ” it’s full”. I didn’t jump to the conclusion it was but thought I should ask what I overheard. Once the scan was finished I asked the radiologist if he could tell me if my thyroid was full but he smiled and said ”no, I can’t tell you”. Oh well, I gave it a shot. Then, once I was finished I went on to have my eyes scanned.
I went into another room were I was laying slightly upright in a machine that kind of looked like a giant hoop. It zoomed in above my face and I closed my eyes whilst the scans were taken. The machine made a strange whizzing noise like a washing machine and was over in a couple of minutes.
It was all finished in a few hours and I went out to grab a coffee and called my husband to pick me up. Now I am home and have been banished to the study whilst my husband is working from home whilst looking after our toddler. I have to keep my fluids up to flush out the radiation, and will probably use this time to work on some of my assignments. By later this evening I will be able to give her a cuddle again, but probably will wait until tomorrow just to be safe. It will take a few days for the results to be delivered to my doctor, and I will find out then what the official diagnosis is.