Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sunday Morning Coming Down


Songs can give us back a moment.  The melody, a snippet of lyrics can pull back the opaque curtain of time to reveal that memory with a vivid clarity.

As a person ages, they seem to want to listen to those 'oldies' - songs that are the benchmark of their decades.   They soothe us, remind us of better, or at least different times.  They remind us that we have lived.

The tune that I've chosen for today, for this post, was written and recorded a year before I was born but I remember listening to it often as a child.  The writer, Kris Kristofferson, became one of the best songwriters of all time.  The singer, Waylon Jennings, was one of the truest and toughest outlaws that country music ever grudgingly embraced.

But what the song means to me personally is this - My dad has always said that Sundays are the worst day of the week.  He didn't elaborate but I know him and what he meant was this:  There's something inherently lonely and melancholy about a Sunday. 

Those that have their faith, go to church or even just their family close by for picnics & togetherness would disagree with him.  And yet, I have my faith, I have loved ones but I still relate to his sentiment.

There is no other song, in my opinion, that speaks of that feeling better than Sunday Morning Coming Down.  I know that whenever I hear the sad melody and Waylon's God-like voice, I will think of my dad sitting at his kitchen table, music playing in the background, gaze far away as he looks out the window.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

MRI - After.

I'm happy to report that the MRI was not the nightmare that I expected it to be.  That said, I do have a little story to tell about the experience.

I had a plan of attack for the MRI and specifically, claustrophobia.  As I mentioned on the previous post, the doctor had prescribed a sedation medication.  I was going to go to the medical imaging department an hour early, take the pill (or two) and then happily drool down my face until they came to get me. 

I did get to the hospital an hour early.  I checked in.  I found a semi-comfortable looking chair off in a corner so my snoring wouldn't bother anyone.  I had taken the pill just before arriving and pill #2 was on standby.   I was there less than five minutes when the technician came into the waiting room and called my name.

What?  Did I fall asleep for a whole hour and not remember?  No.  They were running early - and who has ever heard of anyone or anything running early in the medical field?

I stammered out, "bu..but.. I just took the sedation medication a few minutes ago.  I'm not sleepy yet."  She didn't seem to care.  What she did care about was they were ahead of schedule so shift my ass into gear and follow along.

Nooooo.  The coffin without the benefit of drugs?  No nice siesta in the donut of horror?  Smelling the hot sick of panic on my breath as it bounced off the machine and smacked me in the face?

I walked very slowly to the room, hoping that each dragging step would give the medication time to work.  No such luck.  This was not a morphine button or a shot of dilaudid in the butt cheek, where within three minutes, you get this huge smile on your face and start singing The Beatles - Yellow Submarine. 

I levered myself onto the cold slab.  Another technician wandered in and both of them hovered around me, getting things ready.  My nervousness must have been evident because they told me they got a new, wider machine.  (Or maybe it's because I'm plump and they wanted to reassure me that I wouldn't get stuck in there like Pooh Bear.)

They suggested I wear a cloth over my eyes so I couldn't see the cage that would come over my face and lock my head into place.  Thank you for the Hannibal Lector visual.

I was finally ready and slowly slid into the hole, concentrating fiercely on slow, even breaths.  I have to admit here and now that the cloth over my eyes was the saving grace.  Not being able to see myself so enclosed was much better.  I had headphones on playing country music and that relaxed me as well.  I did have a bit more arm room in this new machine.

All of those things allowed me to get through the hour long MRI but I was still relieved when they brought me out and said I was done. 

I went home, sat down at my desk to surf the internet and thought about the sedation medication.  Not working at all, never did.  What a joke.  Could have eaten a Tic-Tac.

Ten minutes later, my head lolled backwards and drool began to puddle on my lower lip.  Fabulous.

Monday, June 3, 2013

MRI - Past & Present.

I had an MRI a few years ago.  Or rather, half of one.  They slid me into the machine and my arms squished into my sides until I couldn't move them at all.  Fingers went numb.  Breasts thrust up until it seemed as if they were strangling me.

I'm a big girl and there were far too many curves smashed into what felt like a sausage casing.  The top of the cylinder was just an inch or two from my face - so close that every breath washed back down with damp, humid claustrophobia. 

I tried to exhale slowly and focus on relaxing but as each minute ticked by, the panic worsened.  They give you a button to push if you need something.  My thumb rubbed back and forth over that plastic dot, worrying it while I continuously talked myself out of using it.

30 minutes.  That's how long I lasted in the coffin.  I was reminded why I want to be cremated as I mashed the button like eject in an airplane kart-wheeling towards earth.

Last week, a doctor told me he wanted an MRI done and when asked by his nurse when he wanted it scheduled, he replied, "as soon as possible."  That answer should have given me pause but I didn't think about anything other than -MRI- flashing in code red letters across the fight or flight area of my brain. 

I'm nervous about it but not so much over why they're doing the scan or what they may find.  I suppose that will come if and when it needs to.  It's the MRI itself - that dreadful, clattering, hammering, too-small tube.

The last time I had an MRI, as I ran out of there like the hounds of hell were nipping at my heels, I heard the tech ask an elderly gentleman if he had taken the sedation medication his doctor had prescribed for claustrophobia.

Whoa, Nelly.  Sedation?  A little siesta in the MRI?   Why wasn't I offered that?!  I came to a bumping halt as my heels dug in and I slowly turned to give the look. 

When this MRI was scheduled, I demanded those magic pills be put into my hot little hand.  I'm supposed to take the first one an hour before the test and another half an hour later if I need it. 

If?  Please. 

I'm going to the medical imaging department early.  I'm going to take the first pill with a cup of cappuccino like any normal person would do.   30 minutes.  That's how long it has to make drool dribble from the corner of my mouth.  After that, pill two and a gurney to take me to that tool of Satan.