September 6, 2012
Yesterday was the dreaded MRI. Dreaded not for the resulting image of excrescence but for its scariness—the encapsulation and the clamor, the entombment and synthesized loop of hell-harrowed souls.
Though to be honest, the MRI misery is not as horrible as it used to be because I have finally succeeded in scoring a supply of Ativan to be taken in advance of my scans. For years, I played the tough-guy. I took my dose of terror with a brave face, a face that hid the mortal fear of being swallowed whole and jettisoned into space to spend my remaining pitiable days caught in a hula of meteors needing, badly, to scratch my nose.
Let me back track a bit. “Scoring a supply of Ativan” sounds criminal; I asked my nurse-practitioner for it and she readily wrote the script. A little humility and a little benzodiazepine go a long way in this life.
Here's an anecdote toward conveying my long-standing love for Ativan aroused by the first instance of Its usage:
Many years ago, in a simpler time, before Twitter and Justin Beiber, when Miley was in diapers and swinging from Billy Ray’s immaculate mullet, when Pluto was a planet and the Doritos taco-shell was just a twinkle in the eye of some stoner in Portland, I suffered a bodily shut-down that would effectively end my Thanksgiving-day backyard-football career. It was within the first year or so of my fledgling tumor and I was still learning my limitations on the fly.
After the first half of play (determined by neither time nor score but when the smokers among us felt fixin’ to die), I began to experience faintness. As I continued, the spells worsened and I detected the aura of what, in my as yet limited experience, would likely turn into a full-on seizure.
I sat down as calmly as possible and hoped for the attack to pass. It did not. Panic rose. I was frozen. I was certain that to move would be to collapse altogether. I managed to explain my strange behavior to my brothers and father. A few minutes passed and I could not or would not (at some point psychology and physiology become inextricable) move. Another few minutes and my legs and back began to ache from the squatted posture I had assumed. My father set a chair behind me and sat with his knees to my shoulders so I could lean back (slightly, slightly) and take some pressure off. Fifteen minutes pass. My brothers, my mother, and my wife stood around me as we contemplated our options. The afternoon was fading and the fall chill was intensifying.
At last, the best we came up with was to transport me inside the house on a reclining deck-chair. With some ado and no few comments respecting their heavy load, my brothers and father carried me inside—out of the cold but still frozen in a neuromuscular showdown.
I watched television out of the corner of my and waited for my body to recover or relax or anything in the form of progress. A friend of the family, a nurse, came over to give her opinion. She did her best to calm my mind and massage my body but without marked success.
And so . . . last resort. The ambulance was called. Another couple of hours in the hospital spent apologizing for spoiling Thanksgiving dinner and virtually paralyzed.
Close to midnight, after nine hours of utter tension, I was back at the house, slouched on a comfy couch and grinning wide as the moon.
Ativan. All hail.
Anecdote all done.
The images showed continued improvement. My doctor (who could beat up your doctor) compared scans from this time last year with the new scans. The tumor-mass was noticeably diminished, albeit in tiny terms. Perhaps the most telling feature of the image was the divot from the biopsy performed a few years ago. In all previous images, the spot was detectable but blurred by an overgrowth of tumor cells. Yesterday, the spot was virtually black, which is to say, unclouded by the contrast-dye uptake associated with tumor matter.
At any rate, it’s all systems go for round 9. I’ve got my smoothie card re-upped and my whining voice ready. Hie me yarkward!