Thursday, January 27, 2005

Update on the Update

Long story short, the wife had her MRI this afternoon at 2 pm and, spoiler alert, does not have a pituitary tumor nor any other kind of tumor in her head. It's an enormous relief to us, as not having to go through brain surgery is always welcome news. I don't think it yet explains her visual field defect, nor cures it, but her Opthalmologist may have more ideas after she gives him the good news.

Here's how it went down:

I met the wife at the hospital at 1:30p so we could get paperwork filled out and any insurance hassles out of the way. (Our insurance, though MEGA Life And Health, is one such hassle and it sucks above and beyond the call of duty considering the amount of money we pay into it. However, it's pretty standard issue med-student insurance. This being the case, our insurance company is going to pay for as little of this test and the angiogram from a few days ago as they can get away with, which is to say quite a little.)

After paperwork, we sat around in the waiting room for a while until one of our friends from church, Sandra, arrived to keep us company. She'd heard last night about the wife's test getting moved up and wanted to come and lend us some comfort. She's spent quite a bit of time in hospital waiting rooms over the past year and a half as her grandson had leukemia, (though now he is thankfully in remission). We talked to her until they called our name and I went back to the MRI lab with my wife.

Of course, the wife had to take off all metal objects so I got to play keeper of the wedding set, while they ushered her in, had her lay on the sliding platform and told her to be completely still.

I can say for certain that sitting around an MRI waiting room while that giant GE magnet makes horrible loud farting noises as it tries to change your wife's polarity in the next room is not the least nerve-wracking experience I've gone through. After about ten minutes of nervousness, prayer, and reading and rereading the big warning signs that say "STOP! NO METAL TANKS" and a big warning carpet that read "MAGNET IS ALWAYS ON," I calmed down a bit and started flipping through a Time magazine. I decided that worrying about something I have no control over and which might not turn out to be bad news at all is pointless. I've decided that about 20 times in the past few days. It only helps until my brain kicks back in.

After a while, I calmed enough to start reading the Cerebus phone book I'd brought. Still, bad thoughts kept bubbling up. When we'd filled out the paperwork earlier, I had kept thinking, "Will this be the moment I'll remember as That Time We Were Filling Out Paperwork Just Before We Found Out My Wife had a Brain Tumor?" And as I read my comic, I kept wondering if I would forever associate Cerebus as That Comic I Was Reading When We Found Out My Wife had a Brain Tumor. Even prayer seemed weird to me, as I didn't know what to pray for. I mean, healing is always a good prayer and I've been witness to that working in the past with my grandmother, but I didn't really think aiming for a miracle was what I needed to do. So I just prayed that she would be calm and that the technicians would do their jobs as skillfully as they could and that the machine would be in good working order.

I knew that as much as I was nervous and worried, the wife was having no great time within the machine itself. She told me later that she was absolutely certain she was going to completely wig out in there due to the enclosed-in-a-big-tight-noisy-tube nature of it all. Those horrible farting noises I could hear through the wall were ten times worse in the room itself and she had to wear earplugs. However, she did calm down too after she decided she would just close her eyes and pretend that she was just lying on a padded table in an open noisy room, singing a song within her own head while trying not to move her eyes around.

Afterward the MRI was over, one of the technicians told us we were free to go and that they would likely have results for us in the morning. This was what I had feared--having to wait more. I really wanted someone to have a look at the results immediately so that I would be among the first to know what was going on and wouldn't have to sit around waiting for a dreaded phone call the next day.

Instead of leaving, though, the wife asked if she could take a peek at the MRI films. She's no radiologist, but has been trained to look at X-Rays. That's when the tech said that Dr. Mack, one of the actual radiologists, would probably be willing to go over them with her right then. Hallelujah!

The tech lead us through the maze of hospital corridors until we at last found Dr. Mack's office and Dr. Mack within it. Dr. Mack seemed cool with going over the MRI charts with us. As he did, he asked her what symptoms she had and why she was having the MRI done in the first place. He said her pituitary looked quite normal and actually had some extra space around it, (I presume, should she ever wish to develop a tumor there later). He said her eye sockets (he didn't actually say eye sockets--I think he said ocular orbits, or some such--but that's what he meant) and surrounding area seemed free of anything that might be causing pressure on her veins too. The only thing he did suggest was that she have her thyroid checked out--a conclusion he seemed to reach almost by intuition rather than anything on the charts themselves. Even this was more of a "just to be sure" kind of thing than a "I see thyroid problems" kind of thing. The wife is pretty sure she doesn't have any Hyper Thyroid problems, as folks with that condition tend to be a lot skinnier than she is.

On our way back out, we stopped back in the waiting room up front to make sure Sandra had left and wasn't still waiting around for us. She had only said she would stick around long enough to see if the MRI people were going to kick me out or not, so we figured she was gone. In her place, though, was her husband Gerry, who was snoozing sitting up. We woke him up to learn that Sandra had had to leave, but he wanted to come and wait and see how things had gone. I'm sure glad we stopped back in, cause we could have walked right past the door and he would have sat there sleeping for who knows how long. What great friends, though.

Thank you to all of you who've left comments or otherwise written to me to wish us well in this.

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An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.