Well I arrived at Shepherd Center at the bright and early hour of 7:15AM. For those that know me, I am NOT a morning person, but I was in a good mood, ready to get the show on the road.
I signed in, joked around with the MRI technician. He found my vein quickly and easily, shot me full of the special gadolinium dye material. He gave me a blanket, secured my head so I wouldn't move during the scan and into the tube I went...
And then I don't know exactly what happened.
I have had my fair share of MRIs. I am good at them. I close my eyes as soon as I lay down so that I don't see the cage over my head or the tiny metal tube I am then shoved into. I keep my eyes closed the whole time, picturing myself laying on a picnic blanket on a lovely autumn afternoon at the Garden Hills duckpond. And then I sing showtunes silently in my head while the machine whirls away around me.
But this morning at 8am the machine started and I felt like I was going to pass out. My body got extremely hot, my eyes were burning (maybe I didn't moisten them enough before I closed them??) I completely panicked. I squeezed the button to let the tech know something was wrong. He came running and pulled me out of the machine. We got to talking trying to figure it out. Did the dye infusion make me feel woozy for a minute? Why did I feel so hot when the machine started, but as soon as I was out felt fine? I mentioned my new eye plugs. The tech asked was there any metal in them? I didn't think so. But of course he insisted we check to be sure. A couple of phone calls later, my eye doctor is certain the plugs are completely plastic, which means I just had an old-fashioned, run-of-the-mill panic attack.
I am so mad and disappointed in myself that I could just scream. I begged the tech for a do-over, but of course now he has to have formal written documentation from my eye doctor stating there is no metal in the plugs. No one wants to get sued, and I can respect that. I thanked the tech for his time and apologized for the 50th time and he smiled and said not to worry and we would reschedule soon. I called my eye doctor back asking them to draw up a document and fax it to Shepherd as soon as posisble. Meanwhile I am simply sick to my stomach over acting like a complete baby and freaking out for no reason whatsoever. I promptly walked outside sat on the nearest bench outside the newly reonvated Shepherd Center and then burst into tears.
But I have learned several important lessons this morning:
1. No one is strong all the time. Everyone is allowed and needs to panic and be scared and then cry over acting like an idiot. If nothing else it is humbling.
2. Having "punctul plugs" put into your eyes does NOT mean you will not be able to cry tears. You can still cry. Lots!
3. Stress comes out in surprising ways. You might think you are handling things perfectly well and NOT scared about possibly having Sjogren's Syndrome and NOT completely frustrated over your eyes hurting all the time on top of not being able to see straight and THEN you panic during a routine MRI and you realize you weren't handling things all that well after all, you were merely suppressing it all.
So you work through the emotions like you went through the boxes of Xmas decorations you pulled from the attic last month, looking at each one and remembering it, laughing, smiling, crying, or whatever else you need to do to process it all. Then you wrap them each back up, gingerly, carefully, put them back into their box, into the attic...and you hope and pray that the ceiling doesn't suddenly decide to cave in and drop the box of emotions right on top of your head!
I still get to see Dr. Thrower or Tracy today. So I will get some nice face time to ask questions, etc. I am grateful for that. And hopefully by this afternoon i will be able to laugh at myself as I tell them I panicked in the MRI for no particular reason. And we will reschedule soon, maybe next week if they have something. And I will try not to be so hard on myself and rather listen to my body, which obviously was trying to tell me something this morning.
Lastly, I hope I have not disappointed all of you whom I love and admire. I know we were looking forward to these results and what they would tell us. I am sorry we will have to wait a bit longer. I have always struggled with the idea of perfection, of things being "perfect" and with wanting to achieve some sort of perfection myself. I was a straight A student most of my life (did I mention I now have a 4.0 at Oglethorpe?) and have always beat myself up when I feel I didn't do as well as I should have at something.
Well I can safely say that today, i got a "C", maybe even a "D" at "Passing the MRI with Flying Colors". In fact, I totally failed!!! I pretty much got an "F". And I am still me and I am okay and I will laugh about it and laugh at myself and in the grand scheme of things it is not a big deal.
I am not perfect.
No one is perfect.
And how boring life would be if we were.