No, I didn’t get to go to the zoo. Although I would’ve much rather gone there… I spent my ENTIRE morning at the radiology lab riding the MRI machine… and let me tell you – woo hoo! I don’t know that I could’ve handled much more excitement than I had in those 2 hours in that tube… good thing it ended when it did!
Seriously (uh huh)
My appointment went well I suppose. I didn’t really care for the whole process but I lived. I was in the tube for a total of 2 hours (except for the quickie pee break they allowed me). I did good picking out some clothes with no metal… I really didn’t want to wear the hospital gown. I even go to go braless! In public (sort of)!
They laid me down and gave me some earplugs… I had never done this before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The big old machine is pretty intimidating but I made it my friend. No music, no movies, no nothing…just me, the machine, some earplugs,and a REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE “bed”.
My head was put in this sort of block style pillow and tightened down. A halo contraption was positioned over top…it was like a curved cage…above it was a little mirror. Like I’m gonna fix my makeup in there…or maybe do some soul searching in my own eyes? Nope. Once they slide you into the tube, the mirror positions in a way that you can see the rad techs in the little safe room. This is kind of a neat little feature since being in that tube is a really tight, isolating feeling. And it allowed me to see them pointing at the images, discussing them. I couldn’t hear them but I can read lips enough, and I know enough about body language, to realize that they were seeing something not normal on my not normal brain.
Reality really settled in AGAIN for me in that tube. I’m sick. I’m no longer normal… I’m in the New Normal Club as my new friend Mary tells me… she welcomed me with great despair. No one really wants to be a member of this club… anyhow…
So they get me all situated in the tube and rad tech lady goes to the safe room and I hear her talking to me from somewhere inside the tube. Cool! And off we go… starting the testing. Everyone had told me how loud the machine was…and they were right. But after a while it had more of a lulling effect on me. And when I started to get too disoriented I could just look in the mirror and see the outside world. Rad tech lady took about 10-14 images of my head, each one taking a different amount of time – 1 minute, 2 minutes, 4 minutes, 6 minutes…In between each image, I could scratch or wiggle my feet or whatever…
Once the brain was done they slid me out of the tube and got me set up for the neck portion of the ride. Not so much fun…. She switched out the table top and put something really hard and uncomfortable down… my head was laying on a coil thing…ouch. And the halo was a single bar across the front of my face…and no mirror.
They slide me into the tube, go back to the safe room…and the tube voice lets me know that I CAN’T SWALLOW. Um, what? I’m laying flat on my back and I can’t swallow? Right. So she begins. 1 minute, 2 minutes, 4 minutes. 7 minutes…. now I want everyone to try this. Lay down flat on your back, secure your head so it won’t move at all… and lay there without swallowing for 7 minutes…. mmm hmmm…tough isn’t it?
Ok, so round 1 of head and neck are done. Now it’s time for the contrast, radioactive ethyl methyl shit. They don’t really tell you what they are injecting into you but you just have to trust that it’s okay…right? I mean they do this millions of times every day…right?
So anyway, while she’s putting the stuff in my hand, I tell her I gotta pee…bad. Rad tech lady tells me that I can’t. What??!! Nope, I have to stay there…head in the same position with the neck halo in place. Something about the neck that dictates remaining in the same position..damn. Rad tech lady tells me to just think about something else. Right… one of the symptoms of this whole MS game is a bladder thing… but I’m a trooper…Ok, I’ll think about something else. Eventually, rad tech lady tells me to go ahead and go. I’m apparently squirming during the effort to not pee all over the MRI bed….
Back to the machine….slide into the tube…more neck pictures without swallowing. mm hmmm…. And then just 2 more of the head… finally the ride is just about over. I made it! As I was getting off the table (takes a few since I’m having some balance issues) I ask rad tech lady how bad it all looks. Her reply? “Now you know I can’t comment on your films….” Shit. I know she can’t but it never hurts to ask. I told her bye…and her response? “See you next time” Shit again. That tells me that something was there if she expects to see me again. And as I was leaving she asks “Hey have you had your lumbar puncture yet?” Shit shit shit. No I haven’t. Something to look forward to obviously! I’m SO excited…. mm hmm
Coach and I left the rad lab amusement park and headed for some lunch. Total time at the joint was just under 3 hours… we hit the mall’s food court… I know, I know. Not such a healthy choice. We had some fabulously greasy and horrible for us stuffed baked potatoes. Yum! After that we headed for Academy…Coach needs some new weight lifting gloves. On the way to the store I get a call from the rad lab. Shit shit shit shit. Those calls are never good…you know the ones. You aren’t even gone a few hours and they are already calling.
The radiologist would like to know…”Have you had any previous MRI’s?” Nope. “Okay. Thanks, just wanting something to compare these too. See the changes.” I don’t know about you….but that doesn’t sound so good to me…. this tells me there is something to compare. Shit shit shit shit shit.
I was supposed to go see the neuro doc after the MRI but you know … it’s Friday…and what doctor works past noon on a Friday? So I called for my appointment… and I am always supposed to be the doc’s last patient…he likes his MS people last so he can take his time. (Another confirmation of my diagnosis). The first last patient appointment is THURSDAY!!?? Crap. Okay sign me up. But the nurse said to call Monday because maybe neuro doc will want me to come be his last last appointment, as long as I don’t mind coming in after hours. No problem! Hell, I’ll come in at 9PM if it means I don’t have to wait til Thursday to get my results….