6.6.06

Rescue Me

I'll be leaving Japan at the end of this month and living in California for a few years. Husband's getting transferred. Before anyone starts screaming "Why didn't you tell me before?"--we were only informed about the move last week. And it's been a bit 'o madness around here, what with procuring all the necessary documents, sorting out our apartment, deciphering animal import/export regulations, and everything else.

That news out of the way, all I can say is: I don't want to drink barium! (Just so you know how upset I am about this, I almost put three exclamation marks at the end of the previous sentence.) I've never liked my husband's company for all sorts of reasons, but I've, as much as possible, withheld my opinions because he gets rather sensitive when I defame that hallowed establishment. Well, this time they go too far. I honestly do not understand why--since I sure as hell am not one of theirs--but they are insisting that I get a full health check before we move, and this health check includes a Barium Swallow. Without knowing much at all about the procedure, all my life, I've felt this is something that I would avoid at all costs. Now that I have to do it (tomorrow), I've of course tortured myself by reading everything I can find on the ordeal.

My husband--and probably many of you, upon reading this post--thinks I'm being a sniveling, wussy cocktail wiener. What he doesn't realize is that this isn't me being what he categorizes as typically contrary, noisy, and difficult. This is me trying my best to tamp down full-blown terror.

I can, in fact, quietly and calmly withstand a fair amount, in terms of medical tests: needles, invasive procedures, all that good stuff. I'm also unfussy where food is concerned. But what I cannot handle is drinking thick, creamy substances. It isn't just the gag factor, the roiling nausea; the thought of it actually makes my innards squidge and my throat close up in a serious panic. Insects, animal entrails, heads, hoofs, claws--fine, serve me up a plate. But mayonnaise, banana smoothies, creamy yogurt--*shudder*. And still, if I took it a teaspoon at a time, I could manage to down those things.

But tomorrow's x-ray is going to require fast gulping of large quantities (two to three cups) of barium mixed with water to a dense, "milkshake-like consistency," some of it done while lying down.

I can't do it! All of a sudden, I'm recalling those fluoride treatments at the dentist that used to make me all but hyperventilate with fear as a child. The dentist would insist that I bite down "harder" on the trays filled with creamy, sweet fluoride, and when I obeyed, the fluoride would gush over the sides and start filling my mouth, flowing toward the back of my throat. Breathe. Deep breaths.

This must be a phobia, right? I mean, if I step back from the situation, I can see that my reaction is verging on extreme. But, A phobia of what?, you might be wondering with some derision: Too much sour cream with my borscht? Strawberry malts? As unappealing as such things are to me, it's more... a fear of being choked, of drowing in viscous substances. It's a phobia--it's not supposed to be logical.

Why, why do I have to have a health check, I ask you? If the company is worried about liability, I'll happily sign a release form, promising I won't cause them any trouble if I fall sick and/or die while overseas. Why am I even their responsibility? I'm just a wife, and a non-Japanese one at that. Who gives a damn about my esophagus and intestines? If I start screaming when the nurse advances on me with a large tumbler of barium, will the doctor put a big red X on my report, deny me permission to leave Japan? For the love of god, this seems so antiquated--surely they could come up with less-crude methods. Well, obviously not in time to save me from tomorrow.

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13 Comments:

Aw man! Married non-Japanese wives get all the fun!

My first reaction when you mentioned that you are going to California is: *gasp* WHY??!

My 2nd reaction was: Wait a minute... what's wrong with her moving to California as compared to staying in Japan??!

As for your fudge-a-phobia, it is totally understandable. I have a phobia of massive crowds (more of those masses staring at me) and I can't quite place a finger on the terminology yet. I am guessing the nurse who is going to administer the shake is about to experience a whole new decibel of screams yet to be quantified by mankind. Work those vocal cords babe (and hopefully whilst you do that, the nurse might be smart enuff to pour it down yr throat in one swift action and then cluck saying "there... there")

I am glad you are going to the sunshine coast babe. I now know who to yell to whenever I need something that is available only in the big US of A.

Take care of yourself babe and drop more than a word from time to time about how great life is over there.

6/06/2006 10:20:00 PM  

barium? why the crap are they making you drink barium?!!

6/07/2006 12:44:00 PM  

Hi Rachel,

I'm sorry they are making you do something that terrifies you. I wish I could say something to make things easier...

The best I can come up with is "I guess it most likely *won't* choke you, and then you'll most likely never have to do it again," but I can see that that is really not an acceptable answer at all.

I can't tell how you feel about moving to California?

6/07/2006 08:42:00 PM  

Cocktail-weiner...hee hee. Nah I can totally understand, I can't for the life of me eat bubble gum. Regular breath freshening gum is ok but Hubba Bubba freaks me out. I also start to gag and hyperventilate. It's not the flavour...it doesn't matter what flavour I'm eating, it's the insufferable bulk of slimy bubbleness in my mouth. I too fear death.

Good luck with the Barium...I really don't see any way around it - unless you can claim allergies! Is it possible to be allergic to barium?

6/08/2006 01:31:00 AM  

Hey Rachel,

Are you alive?? Or at your lawyers' right now filing to sue for torture? lol.

Yes, tell us how you feel about moving to CA. Which part, btw?

Ahhh! So exciting!

GG

6/08/2006 10:04:00 AM  

Hey Rachel
WOW ! and oh no!! Lots of shocks in this one post. Barium? Really??
Oh no! This means we won't get to meet up in Tokyo !
Such short notice , I know , I hate such things too. Will things be okay for getting Edward over in time?
Hey its California! At last, they speak English.
Love,
E

6/08/2006 12:34:00 PM  

Hi tickles,
Thanks for the support! Yeah, I know a lot of people who hate crowds--it's a pretty reasonable fear.
I know you were hoping I'd blog more on Japan--I'm sorry! But I promise to keep writing when I'm in California.

Hi rae,
They make you swallow barium when you're going to have an x-ray exam of your esophagus and stomach. The barium is thick and white and coats everything as you swallow it, and somehow this makes everything show up on the x-ray.

Hi Jessica,
Promise to write more about moving to California right after this!

Hi Jaime,
Wow, all this time and I never suspected you had Hubba Bubba issues. You hide your fear well.

Hi GG,
I am alive!

Hi e,
I know, seems I'm leaving right as you're about to get here! The toughest part with Edward was figuring out what was expected from both sides, Japan and California. Spent A LOT of time chasing links from website to website. But I think we've got it all sorted out now.
Yes, it will be nice to live for a while in a place where I can speak better than a four year old.

6/08/2006 09:28:00 PM  

Rachel, all natural I think for a person not wanting to go from one place or the other plus you are not the one who chose where you are going. I hope you'll have fun.

10/05/2006 03:05:00 PM  

But, hey - What about the ice cream?

5/20/2008 06:33:00 AM  

I found your food blog going through a few links. Glad I ran into it. Didn’t know that the food blog/recipe community was so big online. I love your posts!

I was wondering if you would like to exchange links. I’ll drop yours on my site and you drop mine on yours. Email at ramendays@yahoo.com or stop by my site and drop a comment. Let me know if you would like to do a link exchange.

Cheers,
Caleb
http://www.ramendays.com

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3/31/2010 06:04:00 PM  

What is NOS used for

Nitrous oxide cream chargers are used for various purposes, from being placed in car engines to give a powerful boost to the engine, to being used to fulfil erotic sexual fantasies. However Cream chargers are most commonly known for and used to whip cream for food such as in home kitchens, restaurants, and coffee shops.

How do you use NOS to create whipped cream?

Nitrous oxide is used because it changes easily into cream, and does not cause the cream to oxidize while it is in the can. To use a whipped cream dispenser, one starts by following a recipe, typically 1 cup of heavy cream, 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, and any flavorings/colorings as desired. The device is capped and one or two cream chargers are discharged into the dispenser, depending on its size. These pressurize the device with nitrous oxide and cause the fat-soluble gas to dissolve into the cream. The dispenser is then ready for use.

When the cream dispenser's valve is opened, the cream is forced out of the nozzle by the high pressure. However, when the pressure is released, the dissolved gas turns to bubbles and comes out of the solution these expanding bubbles instantly transform the cream into a frothy, whipped state. Nitrous oxide prevents bacteria from growing and a charged cream dispenser can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The recyclable cream chargers can then be disposed of and your cream is ready for use.

How Do Cream Supplies Work?

The science behind nitrous oxide’s suitability to the industry lies in the chemical make up of the N2O Molecules. Each molecule at atmospheric pressure is relatively fat in-soluble but because cream has a high fat %, nitrous oxide molecules delivered at high enough pressure, such as from cream chargers, will dissolve into the cream, causing it to foam.

Where is the best place to buy Cream Chargers?

We have done intensive research into this and from what we can see the cheapest place to buy online at the moment is http://www.DiscountCream.co.uk

What is Discount Cream?

http://www.DiscountCream.co.uk is one of 6 to 7 distributors of cream chargers in the whole of the UK. The website sells cream chargers, dispensers and 60 + flavoured syrups that flavour your whipped cream. As far as we can tell this website caters for all your culinary needs.

6/25/2010 07:56:00 PM  

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8/03/2010 06:55:00 AM  

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