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This too, Shall Pass

I’ve written extensively about MRI’s over the past three and a half years. No one would ever describe an MRI as painful. They’re not. They’re loud. They’re long. They’re expensive. But painful? Never.

Well, there is a first time for everything.

This morning at 7:15 a. m. I took a pain pill and headed downtown to St. Francis for an MRI of my Pelvis and my Lower Lombard. I took one, just in case, because as I said, MRI’s are not painful.

This was the first step in the information gathering that started yesterday. I was hoping for a quick answer. To be honest, I was hoping to be admitted to the hospital. But after my Dr. told me that the hospital was mainly for people with Covid, that didn’t seem like the best place for me to be. I cried as I told him about the pain. It didn’t bother me though. I’ve heard that sometimes, tears are a sign of the Holy Spirit. He made a few minor adjustments to what I already been taking, got me an appointment for the Palliative care team, and then made the appointments for the MRIs which, lucky for me, they could get me in for first thing in the morning.

The MRI was moving right along, except for the fact that I had to lie perfectly still on a hard plank like surface and not move for forty-five minutes. At this point, I need to move every ten. The pain pill I took “just in case,” was like using an umbrella for protection from a tsunami. At one point I squeezed the emergency ball thing that lets them talk to me, asking if I could move my legs. They implored me not to. Any little variance would mess up the very loud, very expensive picture, and would just mean I would have to start all over again. Moving sounded worse than starting over again, so I just took some deep breaths, closed my eyes, screamed when I had to, and reminded myself that like everything else in the world, “this too, shall pass.”

And eventually, it did. I slowly got off the rack and gingerly made my way to the waiting room. Five minutes later a very sweet lady brought me the CDs to send to Emory. “The nurse said to rush these out to you,” she said, “Because you were in so much pain.” I thanked her. There is very little replacement in this world for empathy, and seeing each other as human beings. I was relieved that step one of the information gathering phase was complete, and hoped that I was in the last part of that old saying that things get worse before they get better.

So tomorrow I go to the Palliative Care people. It freaked me out, but my doctor assured me that this was not a scary thing. This is just where people went to deal with symptoms. They were going to help make me comfortable so I could do what I needed to do to get better. It’s hard to keep focus and stay objective and make decisions when you’re in pain. The truth and the kindness in his voice was soothing. It wasn’t the quick answer I wanted. But I knew it was right. I knew because I started crying again.

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