Saturday morning, Kevin gets a call from the hospital at 8:45 a.m. for me to come in for a 10 a.m. MRI. He’s started asking all the doctors and specialists to call him instead of me. This is good because of my stupid phone call anxiety. Plus I get all mixed up when I have several things going on, and the stress level starts rising. This used to be an integral part of my job–scheduling and running meetings–and now I’m like a newborn kitten mewling in a corner.
Dad takes me to the appointment. It’s in the hospital basement. He decides he needs Tim Horton’s, and I’m fine by myself in the waiting room, so he wander upstairs to find coffee.
They call me to the back and ask a bunch of questions about whether I have metal anywhere in my body. I don’t know why I think so hard about this because I know I don’t. I take off my hair band, even though it’s just elastic and plastic. “It will take an hour to an hour and a half,” says the technician, and I text Dad to let him know. He’s good at waiting, though, so I know he’ll be fine. I wish I were half as good as him.
I had an MRI when I was having back problems about two years ago. It showed bulging discs and degenerative disc disease. “Everyone gets it at some point. You just have the back of someone twenty years older than you,” said my doctor. Fabulous, is what I thought.
Everything is the same as my first MRI. Lie down on a pallet. This one’s wide enough to accommodate my arms. She gives me ear covers and puts a cage over my face, and I feel like Hannibal Lector. She rolls me back into the machine and I close my eyes.
It’s an hour of not moving. Herman is standing near my shoulder, hovering back and forth. It’s all extremely boring. The sound is loud. Sometimes it sounds like a voice saying, “Ka thunk ka thunk,” sometimes like, “Ba booma ba booma.” It’s interesting how many different noises it makes, but my interest wanes pretty quickly. There’s a whining, droning sound going on outside the machine that reminds me of a sci-fi engine of some sort, maybe something out of Event Horizon. I do pretty well, although a couple times, she says, “Make sure you don’t move.” I’m moving out of boredom rather than anything else.
Forty-five minutes later, she pulls me out of the machine. “I have to give you contrast dye now. Which arm do you want it in?”
“I had two blood draws yesterday, and I’m getting chemo on Monday, so I’d like to save my right arm, my good arm, for that. My left arm is hard for people to find veins, though, so good luck.”
She looks all around and finds one at the base of my thumb. I’m starting to feel like a pin cushion. When they run out of the classic places to put needles, you know you might be getting a lot of needles.
It pinches going in, and I wince.
“I’ll go slower,” she says. It still hurts, but sort of less. Fuck, I hate needles and getting crap injected. I’m sure there is only a small minority of the population who’s into that stuff–and more power to them–but I have to say it: I hate needles.
The last fifteen minutes are the same as the first fifteen. She gets me out. “We’ll have the results to your doctor on Monday.”
Sometimes all these tests make me super worried, like this is serious business. But of course it is. Then again, it’s good. If they thought I were going to expire, they wouldn’t be doing these tests. These tests mean hope. These tests mean I’m going to get better. These tests mean I’m going to watch my little girls grow up.