Tomorrow is a big day. Like THE big day of the year, medical-wise. Tomorrow is my annual MRI and follow up with the neurosurgeon. I’m not anticipating it to be a big deal, but I teach tomorrow night and will not likely be able to blog, or if I do, it will be a very short report on how things went.
Ok, I’m lying. It is a big deal. In fact, it’s a HUGE deal. I’m a damned emotional train wreck and have been for about five days and, since I am nowhere near my PMS days (made that reference just for you, male readers), this is the ONLY thing I can think of that could be causing it. Why? I didn’t feel like this last year. I didn’t feel like this the year before. Why am I sitting here crying as I type for no good reason, thankful that my youngest is off at a playdate for another hour and then has preschool? I don’t know. Or maybe I do.
In Sept. of 2012, it was my first follow-up, scheduled 90 days after my release. I was still wearing my AFO (although I think I was about to ditch it), but I guess I was reasonably sure that, since I had only been out of the hospital for 3 months anyway, there wasn’t going to be anything on the MRI. I was still shell shocked from our move across town over Labor Day weekend, so I don’t think I even had time to consider my appointment with Rock Star Neurosurgeon.
I had a follow up last year. I remember it. I remember posting about it on Facebook. Why didn’t it bug me? Maybe it was still too close. Surely, nothing would have changed in a year, right? Also, I was in the middle of some major Facebook drama of my own making and that was taking up a lot of my emotional energy. How do I explain this in a succinct way that will make sense to people who don’t live in Clintonville and/or are not on Facebook? My social media weakness is Facebook Groups and I happen to have moved to a neighborhood that is darn near obsessed with them. If you are on Facebook, type Clintonville into the search feature and take a gander at how many groups come up. With Facebook Groups comes Facebook drama and I was right in the middle of it last September, torn between my real life friends and a much needed outlet for my pent up dark sense of humor. Because of the way the evil Facebook gods work, everything I was posting in the snark/humor group was being broadcast to all of my friends (including elderly relatives who would rather not see swears and those who disagreed with the group’s existence altogether). Pointless, you say? Stupid, you say? Screwed up priorities, you say? Maybe. Shouldn’t Real Life always take precedence over the virtual world? Maybe. Anyway, I found a solution in creating a second Facebook account that I only use for that particular group, but I didn’t find the solution until after my follow-up exam last year. So, at the time of my exam, I was more worried about whether one of my real life friends who had gone Facebook silent on me would acknowledge my post about the exam than I was about the exam itself.
Alright, so maybe that’s completely screwed up, but I think I preferred last year’s cyberdrama-obsessed brain to this year’s reality. I’ve been crying for three days. I got an email this morning from a preschool mom reminding me to bring snack this week and I told her I brought it last week. She replied that there wasn’t a line on the sign up sheet for last week because it was only a half week, so I must have signed up for this week. I freaked out and threw a tantrum (in front of my computer only, thank goodness) because I am a giant raw nerve. Then, I went out and bought snack.
I’m having flashbacks again. I haven’t had flashbacks in 18 months. I relive moments in Rehab and from those pre-surgery days (the post-surgery ICU is a blur, as my handful of loyal readers will no doubt remember). If this is your first visit to my blog, you might want to go back and peruse some of the May entries for a peek into my drug-hazed post-brain surgery mind (what there was of it). The Flashbacks darn near crippled me that first year out. PTSD. I feel guilty throwing that term out there. I am not a soldier. I have Facebook friends that are. I have relatives that are soldiers and wives of soldiers. I don’t want to trivialize anything that actual soldiers have gone through, but that’s what it is. And like a soldier’s PTSD, it sneaks back up on me whenever something reminds me. Something like a pending MRI. Remember, it was the MRI that got me here in the first place. Sure, it saved my life. But it royally screwed with it, too. Tomorrow’s MRI comes with an IV to pump dye through my system and then there’s that sound. Clackety clackety clack clack clack.
This weekend I had a flashback memory on autoloop. It wasn’t even a particularly traumatic one, which makes it all the more annoying. It was a conversation with Opare, the male nurse (who I adored). At night, he would put my left foot in a boot–like a big giant ski boot thing. I hated it. I couldn’t sleep with it. I told him I didn’t want to wear it. “You don’t want to get foot drop,” he said. Like it was preventable. Like the boot would stop it. Like my not wearing the boot would somehow bring it on. Too late. I already had it. Most stroke
victims survivors have it to some degree. To borrow a phrase from my mother, I am a thousand percent sure that the damn boot made not one bit of difference in the severity of my foot drop or lack thereof. How do I know this? Facebook Groups, of course. Because now I am part of groups for stroke survivors in addition to my many, many Clintonville groups (at least the ones I haven’t been banned from, but that’s another story). Everyone has foot drop. Some have it so bad that they are still wheelchair bound and always will be. And some are like me, walking, out of the AFO and only hampered by left toes that don’t work and a limp that gets worse in damp cold weather.
I’m sure tomorrow will be fine. Matt is taking the day off to go with me. I am writing down my questions as I always get overwhelmed in the presence of Rock Star Neurosurgeon and can’t remember what I was going to ask. Questions include: is it ok for me to take melatonin since you took out the part of my brain that produces it naturally? Like other stroke
victims survivors, am I at a higher risk for a second stroke or does mine somehow not count since it took place during surgery and I don’t have other risk factors like smoking or hormonal birth control? Why does the dentist insist that I slam a quadruple dose of antibiotics before and after my cleaning since I told him I have a shunt? Will the shunt ever come out? Will I always have an MRI every year? Why has my TMJ switched sides and does it have anything to do with the tube running down my head and neck?
And then there’s the one he can’t answer. How can I know everything will be fine tomorrow and still not know everything will be fine tomorrow?
Except that it’s not tomorrow anymore. Before I had the chance to publish this entry, which I was planning on doing after I got all of the kids home from school, I got a call from the neurosurgeon’s office. My enter-multiple-swear-word-adjectives medical insurance won’t approve the MRI unless the neurosurgeon himself or one of his PAs makes the actual call. I guess no one told United Healthcare that Rock Star Neurosurgeons don’t have time to wade through their bullshit personally. They wouldn’t accept a call from one of the nurses. So we pushed the appointment back to Oct. 1st and, hopefully, the PA will communicate with insurance before then. I’m publishing this entry anyway in hopes that my angry last paragraph rant will overpower my weepy worries because now I have two more weeks to get through.
I’m sorry the last couple days have been awful for you, Katie. If there’s ever anything I can do from afar… please let me know.
Your humor (dark or otherwise), in the midst of enormous angst, frustration and trauma is extraordinary! Press on, sweet girl.
Don’t deny the PTSD…it isn’t something that just comes from wartime. Any “loss” in our lives shocks our systems and those triggers and memories can be ruthless. I will be praying for peace for you for the next few weeks.
You said the appointment was pushed to Oct. 1, so I’m sitting here thinking positive thoughts and hoping for the best for you today. I hope you’ll update the blog and let us know if you did get the insurance approval, and how things go. You’re a strong person and I’m sure it will all be fine!
Feel free to check in on the Off Topic side of MckFacts too!