Wednesday, September 06, 2006

MRI, or Valium is My New Best Friend

On Tuesday afternoon I had my first visit from my neurologist, a really fun guy who hands out Valium if he asks you if you can lie still for 45 minutes and you tell him, "only with drugs". He didn't come bearing the best of news. As of now he says I have symptoms of a classic case of MS. At least I'm a "classic" instead of one of those newfangled models like my vibrating bed. It seems there was something called plaque on my spine that showed in the CAT Scan so now they needed to do an MRI and look at my brain.

I am claustrophobic. Not in the same way that my older brother is. The way that makes you rip open elevator doors with your bare hands between floors if it hesitates for even a minute too long, but in an "I need a little air here" sort of way. I may have exaggerated just a bit when telling my doctor about the claustrophobia. I'm sorry, but if he wants to send me on a 45 minute vacation to la la land amidst all this MS insanity I am riding that bus!

My neuro also thinks out loud, is confident that he needs to be up front with you about everything (ummm, ignorance is sometimes bliss) and likely amuses himself by making possible MS patients walk an imaginary tightrope with their eyes closed. Hey Doc, I couldn't do that without MS!

So on the way to my MRI I decided to just pretend I was in a tanning bed. Mind over matter, right? Wrong! They are sneaky, those MRI people. They wheel you in backwards and never really let you see the tunnel you are about to ride in to. They stick ear plugs in your ears, pad the sides of your head to keep it from moving and then lock your head down with a Hannibal Lecter type gadget. They also stick a folded washcloth over your eyes in hopes that not being able to see will help you forget that you are in a tube being attacked by a magnetic jack hammer.

I love music so I decided to sing songs in my head while I was in there, but the only ones I could remember the words to were nursery rhyme type songs or songs from Sesame Street. "It's not easy being green..." Eventually I began counting. If the voice in my tomb said , OK Carolyn, This one will take about three minutes I would start counting one-one thousand, two-one thousand. I figured if by the time I got to 180-one thousand we hadn't moved on to the next step I would know the guy was lying to me. He wasn't, or I guess he could have been cause it is really hard to do the one-one thousand thing when you have had 15 mg of Valium. And just for the record, halfway through my MRI they decided they should flush out that unused IV again. Are they just bored?

Thankfully, I made it through the MRI without losing it and was wheeled back to my room. I hope I was really singing those Sesame Street songs in my head and not out loud.

They found an inactive lesion on my brain, a spot that told them that I have unknowingly MAYBE had MS for a while. The guy who read the MRI found something suspicious on my thoracic spine so it looked like I was going on another bus ride to V-Land for another MRI. I figured by the time they were done with all these tests I was either going to glow or stick to the refrigerator.

My neuro doctor asked if I wanted to see the pictures of my brain. I declined. I had this fear that there were going to be images of Big Bird and Kermit instead of the normal weird squiggly brain matter and I just didn't need to see that. Also, what if it was really small and everything I ever thought about my intelligence level was challenged? No way, I'm not looking at my own brain. Seems like bad karma or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Voodoo to me. My husband of course, ran right out to see it.


John said...

Hi there. I came across your blog and dyer reading your MRI posting, I had to reply.

I know your fears around the space, or lack of it in I'm on clonazepam so I just took more and I was using some visualization techniques. But my neuro-pain specialist (I'm on morphine for systemic pain but my R leg is ESPECiALLY.... Weird) said all the white globules could very well indicative of MS, but right NOW? I don't seem to have a lot of MS symptoms. I did read though that pain is one tell tale sign of MS. Oh yay. I wish us both luck though.

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