The MRA

I couldn’t sleep last night. I did a lot of writing here, and began binge watching Stranger Things 2. I had a whole little station set up for myself on the couch with comfort items, snacks, my phone, the controller and remote needed for TV. I sent a couple of emails to people I hadn’t yet told and felt I needed to; one was a friend who lost her husband several years ago and I just didn’t want to scare her about losing someone else; the other was to a friend who’d been more like family to John and me for years but we’d lost touch due to… a lot of things.  I also decided I wanted to fix the patchy purple / red / brown in my hair. Why? To look good for the magnets?

I got a lot of wonderful messages, emails and texts and comments on the post I’d made asking for support. I’m going to collect some of them for a later entry. The amount of love – and admiration! I received really overwhelmed in me a good way and carried me through the night. It’s a good thing, because that second email I sent did not have a good result.

I don’t want to get into it too much here, but he’s someone John and I have known and loved for 20 years. I met him in 97 and John met him in 98, both through the coffee shop, before we were together. At that point he was part of a gay couple who’d actually had a wedding at a local park, cowboy themed. We adored them both. Over the years there was a painful “divorce,” personality changes, children being born, and this friend whom I’ll call Bullfrog (no real secrecy there) moved away for a good long while. We missed him terribly. In Florida, he changed a lot. John had driven him down there and went down to pick him back up as well. They’d always been extremely close and I’d thought Bullfrog was a little in love with John. Isn’t everybody? I’m going to keep this all one paragraph. Bullfrog went back to live with his mom several hours away from us. At first it was wonderful. He spent the weekend with us about once per month, bonding with the girls, getting to know us again, but it was like no time had passed. After a while it became clear how much he preferred John’s company to mine, and he’d seem happy when I was down with a migraine or would connive to “accidentally” leave me out of plans. Eventually it became too stressful but right at the time we decided we didn’t want to have him visit anymore he got a night job and no longer could anyway. THEN John was telling me that Bullfrog had gone from social liberal / libertarian to alt-right and was saying he was voting for DJT. I had real difficulty with this, and while he and John texted occasionally he and I never talked at all. But I still loved him. My email to him last night apologized for the lapse in communication. Since he told John he’d regretted his vote, I thought politics was fair game, and I also mentioned the feeling of being left out of things when he came to visit. I told him about the possible aneurysm. His response was inexplicably brutal and left me shaking and crying, calling me “condescending” and “haughty” among other things. Hours were spent processing this and chatting with one of my closest friends about how it had made me feel. I had written him back in anger. Basically, I lost a dear friend, right before this important test. Not cool.

Before I knew it morning had come. Gerald asked me to give his son a ride to school because he was working and it was snowing quite a bit. I’d planned to have John take Zo, but I just decided that it would be easier to take them both myself. Plans for a nap were foiled as I had to work out getting my Phenergan prescription taken care of and I was still writing. Then it was almost time for Mom to pick me up. I took my sedating medications and what seemed like appropriate times. We arrived at the hospital fairly early.

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I had with me this Pokemon plush named Psyduck. His powers come from his headaches. I had a little mesh bag that I tucked over his arm containing a Princess Leia temporary tattoo and a button (missing its pin back) stating in old school font “I AM LOVED.” I chatted with an adorable toddler who kept being scolded by his mother. I took photos of my mom’s and my feet and Psyduck and then my Olive Garden style coaster alert thing buzzed and lit up.  “Good luck, I’ll be here,” Mom said.

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Obligatory waiting room foot picture.

As we walked through the swinging doors into the radiology area, I explained to the tech a bit of what had happened with the results of the last MRI. “Is it at all possible for anyone else to go over the results with me and interpret them?” I also explained how nervous I was. Helpfully, she explained that it is always the patient’s right to go to the Medical Records Office with an ID and pick up a copy of your own test results, and that they would be ready about 24 hours after the test. I was very pleased with that information but thought about how Radiology had called me pretty much right away, then realizing that test had been earlier in the morning so it as almost 24 hours. 23 to be exact.

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I didn’t have to change. I closed the door of my dressing room anyway and gathered myself, taking my second pre-MR selfie in a week. I brought Psyduck with me into the MR room. Even though I had assumed I’d feel the test itself was no big deal (the results were what mattered, and the waiting for them that would be torture), it WAS a big deal. The headphones went on and The Beatles channel was playing truly terrible covers. How unfair to hear “Within You Without You” sung by a woman and an acoustic guitar? Ridiculous. Once again the machine was loud. But even sedated as I was, I felt funny. Not good. My head felt hot. I felt the prickling begin in my nose, the now familiar physical signal that it was getting swollen and red, a symptom that began soon after Zo’s birth that no one could explain. I had had several CTs since then and one MRI before the one last week, and none ever showed anything as far as I knew. During long silences between the loud banging of the machine, I would worry that they were seeing images that alarmed them and that I’d soon hear surgeons being called or Life Flight or something to whisk me away somewhere to remove the offending bulbous whatever.

Of course, that didn’t happen. When the test ended I sat up, tears filling my eyes, asked again about where the Records Office was before getting my belongings. In the dressing room I was aghast at how red my nose was and how funny my eyes looked, like they were both swollen. I took a photo. It as hard to not just start weeping, and I don’t exactly know why.

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When I got home, my nose was incredibly red and swollen and my right eye was once again very droopy. I wondered if the magnets had aggravated whatever was going on with the basilar artery, provoking those symptoms? I took one more photo and went out to meet my mother, who drove me the block home.

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That is one red and swollen nose. And weepy scrunchy eyes.

And that’s it. Unless I get a call first, at around 1:00 pm John and I will go together to the hospital records office. At least we will be able to look at the results first, alone, and maybe I can send a scan of the report to Anita if there is anything alarming.

And so, we wait.

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