Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Week of Moving Backwards

This week has been rough. After seeing my nurse-practitioner last Thursday, I was scheduled for an MRA the following Monday. According to Madame Google, that put me a day past the average aneurysm popping following a sentinel headache. As I am still here and typing away, I guess that means the odds are in my favor.
I have a deathly fear of MRI machines. I don't like the coffin-like feel and I hate the loud Jaws-cyborg-psycho-with-a-knife deep thrumming sound they emit. It makes the hairs on the back of my neck rise, and that means I should be able to see all of my surroundings and run if need be. Hard to do when you are stuffed in a cylinder. I also read a story once about a person who was killed when an oxygen tank left in an MRI room smashed her head in on its way to meet the magnet. I realize these are mostly irrational fears, but that makes them that much harder to overcome. The NP offered me drugs, but that just makes me feel even more out of control, so I declined. Instead, I did a ritualistic self pat-down to be sure that I had no hidden metals that I had somehow forgotten. You know, we all forget things...our wallet after all the groceries have been checked and bagged, our birthday after we are 30, our keys...things that are important, but still forgotten. How easy it might be to forget a bobbypin or that I had brain surgery in the past and have a plate in my head, right?
I knit to forget the upcoming potential death of the MRI machine. I knit yarn-overs and leaves, and, of course, I realized while I was knitting that those stitch markers are always getting lost in the folds of my shirts or my pockets. As the day approached, I started getting more and more sullen...crying easily, sleeping poorly.

On Monday, I went. I took my lucky duck and left all my stitch markers behind. I didn't even take my knitting, for fear that those needles would find their way into the room. Remember, I know it isn't rational. It turned out to be fine, or so I thought. It was the "wide open" MRI, which I had never had before. When I entered the room and saw the machine, I almost laughed. I told the tech that she had just made my day. I could put my hands out to both sides and feel the breeze blowing. I could fidget with the padding underneath me. I had a call bell and earplugs. It was almost great. The sounds were still scary, I still had to talk myself down about thirty times, and at one point due to the way my head was positioned on an uncomfortable tray, I was sure that something metallic was trying to bore through my skull. I read a story once about an early space test pilot. His brain was turned to jelly from the vibrations of the seat he was in. I had to talk myself out of that one, too.
She had to inject me with Gallium. My father arrested and died on a scan table when they did that. No joke. So, I told her that and laughed a nervous (probably crazy-sounding) laugh and she proceeded to inject me while I was under the machine. It was a lesson in loss of control, but I bore it well. I went home expecting to hear from the office that all was well, and then move on with my life. I went home and frogged all my progress on my sock. If I were smarter, I would have seen that as an omen.
Tuesday came and went, so Wednesday I called them. They hadn't heard anything, so they would call around and get back to me. I called them back at 4:30, but the office was then closed. My specialist in Baltimore called to let me know he could see me in Glen Burnie on Thursday. I accepted. I called the NP office on Thursday morning before we left, and they had bad news. They had MRI results. I was not supposed to have an MRI, remember, I was to have an MRA. They had made an error, but they could do a new MRA on Friday! My joy at this news was evident in the tears, I am sure. So, off we went to Dr. Khurana and Glen Burnie without the right scan.
The drive wasn't too bad, all things considered. The nerve pain in my legs was mild, and we made good time. So good, that when we arrived an hour and a half early, we asked the unpleasant secretary if there was a bookstore or coffee shop somewhere. She rolled her dead eyes at me and told me no. After sitting on the hard chairs for about 20 minutes and seeking Madame Google's suggestions, we found that there was NOTHING in Glen Burnie. Nothing. Always one to face a challenge, we headed out to explore for ourselves. It was the best part of my week! Look at all the goodies we found in the ass of Maryland!

We originally thought this upcycle/recycle (their words, not mine) place was called "Chopsticks". Yeah, no. It is actually named "ChApsticks", you know cause when you think of recycling and upcycling, the first thing you think of is used chapstick.

Not the School of Dance, mind you. The School of THE Dance. Classy.

Nothing makes "Kidz" feel welcome like a tooth volcano spewing blood or molten lava or whatever this is supposed to be. The sign to the left was for "Palm Dentistry - in the back". Sounds just as lovely. I don't think I have ever seen a town with so many dental places. I came home and looked. There are eleven pages for dental in Glen Burnie on the map!
There was a creepy motel that had a sign stating that it was a National Tourist Attraction. The sign just made it worse, and the chained statue didn't help.

We realized I better start taking pictures of all of these things when we saw the Mohawk Bug.

The best part was this old school arcade hidden in a crab restaurant! Look at it! We were like 10 year olds all over again. I played Centipede and giggled at the thuds of the mushrooms when I died. Yes, those ARE bottles of Jojoba shampoo and nail clippers in the claw machine. What kid doesn't want to win that?

I am putting off telling you about the visit with the specialist because for every laugh before my visit, there were more tears after. I was so sad and angry that I couldn't talk until after we left Frederick, and then all that came out was yelling and cussing and hate. He wanted me to get the MRA, he wasn't sure what had happened or what the headaches were, but he suggested that I either take the Midodrine again and find out if that was it or take a steroid that he tried to convince me wasn't a steroid, claiming that if I took it short-term he wouldn't worry (this is a lifelong disease, pal), and suggesting an SSRI again, even though the last time I took that I wanted to die every day. I had somehow talked myself into believing that he would have a solution, and when he didn't I was furious. I left tight-lipped and spilling tears. He wouldn't look me in the eye when we parted.
So, I trundled myself off to the MRI place again on Friday. I told the secretary that I wasn't filling out those forms again. I told the secretary and the tech that my first MRI better not be billed to the insurance company. They were polite and dutiful, so I didn't vent on them. I took my knitting this time. The fourth design for Fields of Green, and true to form, frogged it when I got home. Turns out the MRA is only 15 minutes, and doesn't require the Gallium injection.
I feel like I have the flu all of the time. My body is like molasses, I sleep about 18 hours out of 24, and I don't want to eat.
To end on a positive note, PaperYarnGirl is working her way through Mercury and says it is fun to knit. I know what I want now for Field of Dreams, I just have to stay awake long enough to knit it. My son and daughter have both said they love me and need me, which has given me strength to deal with whatever this new week may bring. I appreciate all the well wishes and hope to have socks for all of you to knit soon!


  1. how insanely frustrating!
    i used to live in glen burnie, for a deadly year. there really is nothing in it. it's a testament to your creativity that you found things to amuse you. and if you think the MVA is bad anywhere else, try spending a lifetime there one afternoon.
    my knitting has progressed not one whit since you saw my last offering.
    :) khairete

  2. Oh, Suz! I can't imagine a whole year there, lol. Your knitting might not have gone anywhere, but it sounds like your summer trip was fantastic. I loved seeing where you went.

  3. Frustrating indeed... ugh, what a horrid couple of days. Your pics are hysterical though. School of The Dance!!!

  4. Other than my very deep concern for your health, and the fact I'd like to pound people for you... I took from this that we totally need to go on a roadtrip and blog it. You might be able to make Ohio barable for me!


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