Friday, February 20, 2009

First there was a presentation on Caring at school which wrapped up about five minutes before the daily mass started. So I was a few minutes late, walking in during the penitential rite. The NET kids were there, done with a retreat for the confirmation group. I suppose those kids are Catholic; I've seen some groups that aren't.

The psalm spoke to me:
Responsorial Psalm
Ps 33:10-11, 12-13, 14-15

R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
From his fixed throne he beholds
all who dwell on the earth,
He who fashioned the heart of each,
he who knows all their works.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
I prayed it for michele.

Then over to Jackson for an intensive eye exam involving reading, identifying backwards letters, numbers and words, matching images and drawing shapes. The tests lasted about 30 minutes and my eyes were tired and sore for the rest of the day.

I returned DVDs at the public library and got a book on James Baldwin for Kenny's "Famous Black American" project. Since I didn't have any kids with me, I tried to be less self-absorbed and more aware of others. After lunch I went to my MRI appointment on the hospital campus. I beat a rush of people coming in for their appointments or trying to retrieve their films. The facility didn't seem to be run too well as a couple of people had trouble picking up their films, the films couldn't be located for them.

The technician gave me a choice of music:
"I have classical, jazz, oldies ..." Classic rock?

"Eagles? I have the Eagles in. They alright for ya?" Sure. (Maybe I should have said 'Oldies.')

"Oh, wait, nope, it's Clapton. He's alright, right?" OK, sure, he's fine.
So I emptied my pockets into a small locker and followed him into the room. I had to set down my glasses on a nearby chair and he helped me onto the table. I couldn't see much but he gave me the earphones, the panic button and some helmet in which, if I opened my eyes, I saw ... my eyes. I suppose the mirror is supposed to be reassuring or soothing but I'm so myopic - literally, not necessarily figuratively - that it brought very little comfort.

The piped in music was almost for nought as well. The saving grace, I suppose, was knowing Clapton's songs well enough to imagine them, hear them in my mind, whenever the "knocking"1 drowned them out. And when the plugged version of "Layla" came on, it was all I could do to not jive along with my head.

He said it would take 20 minutes altogether and told me how long each scan would be just before kicking them off. "This one will be 30 seconds; this one is 4 minutes," etc. I had this strange thought that if I knew how long the particular Clapton songs were I could occupy my mind with that, like a countdown.

Towards the end, he told me, "OK, three scans left." Then after two scans, I was out. The staff came in talking but the music was still on and I couldn't get to the earphones, so that was awkward. I left the room with their assistance and encountered an ambulance stretcher in the hallway, attended by an EMT. The elderly woman on it looked completely bundled up cozy and quite comfortable but maybe looking a little scared. I wanted to tell her it was alright but I didn't know that for sure. So I prayed it was. I thought of the two car accidents I had seen on Route 9 that morning and wondered whether she had been in one of those. The staff retrieved my "valuables" from the locker and it dawned on me that safekeeping was an illusion as everyone on staff knew the locker combinations.

I was left to my own to find my way out of the facility and ended up exiting via an employee entrance on the side. The attending ambulance was out front. And I wondered whether my scans were cut short to get this woman in asap. I noted the earliest time and the latest time on the scans were only 15 minutes apart. I don't care; the scans won't turn anything up.

There was just enough time to pick up Chris at school, so I buzzed home to Jeff to intercept him. But didn't reach him and decided to let well enough alone. I wasn't quite ready to jump back in "being Mom" after being out of the loop for the better part of a day. He called me to say my films were ready and realizing how much trouble others had had retrieving their films, I doubled back to the facility to pick them up immediately. The woman at the counter remarked, "I don't know how I missed you exiting. You slipped past me" and I murmured something about not being able to find the waiting room after my exam so I slipped out a side exit.

And I looked at the films in the car. There's a brain in there - a reality that surprised my husband, so he said when I got home. But it is so small that 20 pictures of it can fit on a film.

So, that's where it stands - back to the neurologist sometime. Oh, wait, I do have an appointment already ... when is it? Sometime. I was just about to say that my symptoms aren't as bad as they've been but, you see, that's one of the symptoms. No breaks.

1 supreme, technical euphemism or understatement

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