Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My terrible day yesterday

Some of you may know that I went through a little thing last year- I don't want to go into it, but suffice it to say I had an MRI that showed "nonspecific white dots", which can be a sign of something bad, or could be relatively benign. The awful doctor, Marianna Golden of Rockland Neurology laughed at me when I expressed not wanting to have a spinal tap (it wasn't even a necessary procedure), long story short, that office was terrible- really really terrible.
Anyway, I found a new neurologist in Ridgewood, who spent the better part of a half hour telling me how many papers he authored and how fabulous he was, and how I should be so grateful that a doctor of his caliber is in my plan and that I should give him an additional $50 because my plan (Blue Cross) pays so little. Can you believe that?! Even when I saw him, the secretary made me bring the $20 copay into the exam room where he'd take out his wallet put it in right in front of me. Weird, right? Oh and the best was when he asked me for my MRI results-I handed him the disk containing the images and he said, Oh no, I need film, I don't own a computer. This guy was almost as old as Gerry!
Well, I went to a new person yesterday. I liked him very much- he sat with me and reviewed my MRI from last year and said it was "abnormal", but still, it could be nothing (yes, I recognize the duality). He sent me for another MRI, which I was able to squeeze in a few hours later.
Flashback to being in Columbia Presbyterian when I was 15, having my AV node cauterized (heart procedure). They sent in an extremely inexperienced phlebotomist to take blood who missed my vein so many times he wound up threading the needle through my flesh- I saw it come out the other side. That began my disdain for needles.
So, before the second MRI I went to go get blood taken. I hate needles, and have to just look away and bite my lip- I break out in a clammy sweat! But I got through it alright.
I grabbed a bite to eat and headed out to the MRI. I started getting really tense on the way there-I'm terribly claustrophobic and the MRI sends me into a bonafide panic. Apparently I could not go to an "open" MRI- the image quality isn't great, and I decided to decline the doctor's offer for Valium because I had never taken it before and I didn't know how it would affect me- I chose the evil I knew over the evil I didn't.
I get to the MRI place and tense up some more, knowing I was just going to have to suck it up and get through this. Matt offered many times to come with me, but I said no- it wouldn't have helped since I had to be in the machine alone anyway.
I get in the room and try desperately not to freak out. I try not to look at the tomb, er, machine. I try not to notice how very very small the needle hole is into which I will be motored. It doesn't work.
Bill has me lay down, and now the tears start. I'm talking tears like WWII bombs- big, fat bombs of tears, one after another, falling down my cheeks. Bill gets annoyed. He scolds me that I'm getting myself all worked up. I say, "Bill I told you on the form I'm very claustrophobic". Why the hell do they ask that if they have no way to help a sista out?!
I tell him I'll be OK, that I just need a minute. I say, "Bill, you'll put me in and then I'm going to need to come out for a second". He says, "When, when are you going to need to come out?!". Bedside Bill - nice.
I lay down again, and Bill places two large foam blocks on either side of my head and a strap worthy of the most imaginative bondage play set across my forehead to hold me in place. I freak out. No no no, I can't have that. Please Bill. Bill gets angry and says, "I NEVER do this without that on. Never. If you move ONE CENTIMETER, then you'll be in there FOR HOURS." Not exactly a comforting way to speak to a petrified, crying woman Bill!!!! I assure him with my big, pleading, watery eyes that I'll stay still. I will, I'll stay still. Besides, this is my 3rd time in the tomb in the past year and I've been still each time and have never been strapped in.
I lay down again. Now it's not frightening enough that I'm buried alive in a tiny, dark hole, the top of the hole being only an inch or two from my face- they have to put a Hannibal Lector-esque cover over my face, in case I felt it was a bit roomy and spacious.
I close my eyes tightly, take a deep breath and feel the first wave of panic start as I am unceremoniously placed into the abyss. Bill taps my legs and reminds me the black hole is open at both ends. Comforting Bill, thanks.
I try to go to my happy place, which, included thinking of Gray, Brad and Angelina and trying not to think about what on earth would happen god forbid I have to sneeze. OHHH, why did I just think about sneezing?! No, stop thinking about sneezing. Stop it!!! What on earth would happen if I had to sneeze?
Then I can't help but notice there's a fan on, pushing some air through the tomb, like I've been buried alive in a wormhole. That's all well and good except it's causing my hair to tickle my forehead- don't think about the itch, don't think about the itch!! Mind over matter. Then my top lip starts to itch- I attempt to appease the nagging by scratching it with my teeth. Fortunately, it works.
After an eternity, I'm able to settle down into the dull roar of the machine, even managing to come close to sleeping. I'm removed in order to receive my injection, only of course after being reminded that I must not move ONE CENTIMETER. I keep my eyes tightly closed still, lest I see the hockey mask shrouding me. The garden-hose diameter needle forces its way into my vein, I bite my lip and grimace. Back into the sarcophagus I go.
More video game/hammer drill noises and I'm exhumed for the last time, though I'm left to wait for another 10 minutes with the mask on while the doctor reviews the images for quality.
Bill unclips the mask and helps me sit up. He tells me I did a good job. I know I did- I successfully managed to get through this ordeal in much better form than the last two where I emerged feeling traumatized, with dry tears having streamed down my temples to my ears. (which incidentally, is infinitely more itchy than the blowing hair and top lip combined times ten.)
I have three days to wait to hopefully see no change. Friday is a few more tests too, but none of those will bother me.
I went to sleep yesterday at 5:30 pm. And woke up exhausted today, to get to my classroom and find a roach crawling across my desk. And a half an hour later, another almost on my hand from inside a drawer.
Someone buy me a big, BIG drink?