By Margaret Harding
I work with people in the nuclear energy industry. My goal is to ensure that everyone I work with ends up being a better member of the industry. Smarter about how things need to be done, or why things should be done. BUT, there’s much more to nuclear technology and today, I got a reminder.
Go back a year. I was working at my desk, talking to a client on the phone. Suddenly, I felt extremely nauseous. Hanging up the phone, I ran for the bathroom. A few minutes later I had a blinding headache as well. Needless to say, this was very frightening. I just wanted to curl up into a ball. My husband insisted on a trip to the Emergency Room.
The hospital discovered I had a resting pulse of 40. While elite athletes might have such a pulse, I’m a 54 year old woman who rides a desk chair most of the day. All of these things left the ER doctor fairly puzzled. But a big concern was that I was possibly having some kind of brain malfunction.
I don’t know about you, but I rather treasure my brain. I find it generally useful for a variety of things and I want to keep it fairly intact. The doctor agreed that I needed to keep my brain in good working order, but he needed to get a look at what might be going on.
Not many years ago, that would have meant a fuzzy x-ray and possible exploratory brain surgery. OR the doctor would have administered drugs “just in case” to prevent anything further. Now, however, he ordered a CT scan. They dosed me with a contrast chemical (no, not radioactive, this time) and put me in this cool circular machine and did a detailed 3D scan of my head.
Sure enough, I still had a brain! I was not the Scarecrow, after all. Even better, it all seemed to be working properly. They did find a small something on the back of my head. The doctors agreed that the small something did not cause my symptoms, but wanted to keep an eye on it.
A year later, my regular doctor asked me to have another CT scan to make sure the little small something was still just a little small something. So, today I went in to the radiology folks. In 15 minutes, they had once again scanned my brain and confirmed it was there. I’ll know in a few days what the results are, but I already know that life is good and nuclear technology made it better.
What was wrong a year ago? I may never know. Dehydration? Possibly. A random migraine? Never had one like that, but my father suffered from them for years. What I do know is that nuclear technology made my life so much better and prevented potential major surgery.
Nuclear technology makes our lives better. Nuclear medicine allows diagnoses and treatments that used to require risky complex surgeries with weeks of painful recovery. Radiation treatment sterilizes our food supply without dangerous chemical residue and prevents food-borne illnesses. Nuclear energy gives us electricity without spewing toxic chemicals into the air. We need to tell the world.The post above originally appeared in Fuel Cycle Week, and has been re-posted with permission.
Margaret Harding has 34 years of experience in the nuclear industry. She enjoys writing the occasional blog to educate and entertain members of the public, the industry, and government types.