The Test and the Ordeal

the Ordeal

Yesterday, was a very big day for me and my two wonderful, patient  and courageous friends Rick and Ginger. MRI Day! For a person who does not suffer from claustrophobia or extreme panic attacks this incredible borderline sci-fi procedure could be an adventure. For me it was the ultimate test of Olympian proportions! My typing palms get clammy just remembering those interminable 40-45 minutes! Normally, there was a prescription for sedatives waiting for me. Well, normal is not this situation or the associated events. Yes, I have softened my vitriol towards everything that I felt was and probably still is wrong with America. I am being helped and treated for my situation through the social security and Medicare system.

I was NOT turned away! I was never left out alone on a gurney to die! I have been shown compassion and competence in the system. Okay it’s not Cedars Sinai, but to date, I have not been turned away or charged. Being treated in the system is certainly better than no treatment at all! So because this isn’t the Ferrari of health care there have been and will be a few bumps. So, someone doesn’t take care of making sure that this claustrophic gets his sedatives before an MRI! But, there was a multi million dollar sci-fi machine waiting for me, ordered by some neurologist that up to this point,  I have never met! I need to remind you and myself that this is all new to me. I have never had a tumor before. I have never had to write about something like this before! So, there is no real structure, only intent!. I am sharing spontaneous thoughts and feelings as they appear.. I may ramble at times, cut me some slack, I have a tumor! just kidding. If you are just “meeting” me, what you don’t know is the importance of humour in my life. Sometimes pushing the limits of what some consider “good taste!. Sorry in advance.

What I have decided, is to honour the spontaneity of my posts. In that spirit, I will not go back to correct typos,syntax,grammar etc. I want this to be as unpremeditated and honest as possible! So MRI Day! Ofcourse we were directed to the wrong building in this massive Harbor UCLA complex! We finally found the imaging dept. and the disappointment of no sedative for my MRI waiting at the pharmacy. After the hectic day  I did return to the pharmacy to retrieve the sedative just to help me decompress! Anyways……to be continued shortly….

excuse the break in continuity, I am at the mercy of a constantly changing process that affects thoughts,tasks,plans, well, life in general. So, let me go back to my MRI and why it was so important to me, not just in the context of trying to establish what my situation and prognosis is, but the fact that it was a seminal test of my will. You now know about my extreme claustrophobia that can arrive at moments that are unpredictable. In a shower covered in soap. In an elevator. In a car. in a conversation The impending MRI was an anxiety ridden hurdle for me at many levels. My sedative fell through the cracks of the bureaucracy. It wasn’t waiting for me!. With my two friends on either side of me I approached the pretty girl encapsulated in the curved reception desk. I asked her if my records show that i suffer from claustrophobia. She said, if I have it, we will deal with it. Without the security of a sedative I asked her what would happen if an uncontrollable claustrophobic panic attack struck me. She said we would stop the machine and get me out. “Really?”, I responded with great relief and approached my two friends who were waiting for me on the waiting room couch. That trip from the reception desk was no more than 30 feet and 30 seconds long. I visited a thousand scenarios in that fleeting moment. “You ARE going to enter that claustrophobic tube without a sedative! YOU are NOT going to allow yourself to succumb to a knee jerk reaction that you understand!! You are NOT going to let the team down! You are NOT going to disappoint yourself! You are NOT going to let yourself down! You NEED to trust yourself! T YOU HAVE TO DO THIS!! YOU ARE A MAN!!!!the future has many more huge challenges for you! If you can’t get through this one!!………..Rick and I were lifted into the waiting MRI ship. I sucked in a slow healthy full lunged breath. Here we fucking go! ROCK AND ROLL!” The young tech’s Brooklyn accent comforted me! We were in the ship. A warm compassionate woman greeted us then explained what s going to happen . MY FRIEND SHIRLEY’S WORDS REVISITED THE INNER SANCTUM OF MY HEAD. “YOU’RE A MUSICIAN, AN ARTIST,A DRUMMER, YOU MIGHT FIND THE SOUNDS INTERESTING. YOU MIGHT BE INSPIRED BY THE PROCESS”! First few tests will be short minutes followed by longer periods in the tube. I mercifully had a mask over my eyes shielding me from the reality of my enclosure. My mind was free to create an alternate reality.

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