And then I learned that MRI’s freak me out

28 Oct

So, I screwed up my shoulder. It’s been hurting for…oh…almost two weeks now. My doctor sent me for an MRI, and that took a week to get into (to which my friend said “Wow, just a week? That’s fast!”)

Now, during all the pre-MRI questions and reviews, they ask flat out – Are you claustrophobic?

I answered no. Because I’ve never considered myself as such.

I think that if you are claustrophobic or anxious about getting an MRI, they give you stuff to calm you. But I was certain I’d be fine. I joked that I’d probably nap and hoped I wouldn’t snore too loudly.

I was not nervous at all. Actually, I was looking forward to it, even a bit excited. Hey, trying new things! Getting answers for my shoulder! Being left along for like, a whole half hour!

No, being nervous was not on my radar. However, the moment the guy running things hit the button that had me going into the MRI machine, it was as if he also flipped the anxiety switch on to Full Panic Mode.

<spoiler> I got through it.

However, seven seconds into the Tunnel of Terror and I was like “Nope. Can’t do this. Nope. Get me out of here.” The sensible part of my brain took over.

“It’s twenty minutes. He said twenty minutes. Just keep your eyes closed and breathe. He promised music, twenty minutes is like four or five songs. You have to do this.”

Full Panic Mode was all “No. Nope. No. Can’t. Just let me out of here.”

Sensible Brain said “No. If we leave now we’ll just have to go back in. It might be worse. Breathe and keep your eyes closed.”

Full Panic Mode decided to pop the eyelids open, as if seeing what was around me would make it better. Full Panic Mode realized we had made a terrible choice and no, it was not better, that nope, it wasn’t actually bigger on the inside, it was way narrower than I thought.

Sensible Brain didn’t say “Oh for feck’s sake, I told you to keep your eyes closed.” She said “It’s okay, just keep your eyes closed, oh, the music is on…what’s this song? Focus on the song.”

And then it was all WRRRRRRHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRRBANGBANGWHRRRRSCREEEPSCREEP for a bit. And Full Panic Mode was all “nope, gotta push the button on the cord that the dude gave me. I’m not going to make it.”

“You will NOT push that button. We can do this.” said Sensible Brain.

“I don’t think we can.” Full Panic Mode said.

“Yes, we can. Because we are not going to start this all over again. Now suck it up. Five songs, just five songs. Ooo…is that Depeche Mode playing?”

“Oh, it is.” Full Panic Mode said. “Okay, I’ll try to concentrate more on the song than the fact that we’re in this brightly lit tube of doom.”

(There was an option to turn off the light and I was like ‘AW HELL NO’. Because what’s worse than a brightly lit tube of doom is probably being in a really dark tube of doom. Of that I am certain.)

Sensible Brain sighed. “It is NOT a tube of doom. We are not trapped in here. There’s an opening on either end. We could easily scootch out of here if need be.”

“Are you sure about that?”


“Should we try it?”

“No! Then we’ll have to start all over again. Look, we’re through the first song.”

Now, at this point, because full panic mode had been triggered, I realized I was actually kind of vibrating. Because when I get really really ridiculously nervous, I tense way the fuck up to the point that my muscles start to quiver.

“Calm down.” Sensible Brain said. “Focus on breathing and the music.”

“Can’t. Stop. Shivering.” Full Panic Mode said. “Also, kind of hard to hear the music over the WRRRRRRHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRRBANGBANGWHRRRRSCREEEPSCREEP-ing.”

“Fine. Then keep the shivering to the lower extremities.” Sensible Brain said. Because the legs weren’t being imaged. Just the right shoulder. All I had to do was keep the right shoulder still. And remember to breathe.

“OMG don’t hold your breathe!” Sensible Brain said. “Come on, in with the good, out with the bad.”

Full Panic Mode breathed. Shallowly. While thinking “Gee, it would totally suck if I got so nervous I vomited. OMG, what if I have to vomit????”

“You are soooooooooo not vomiting.” Sensible Brain said. “That just isn’t allowed.”

“I’ve never been so nervous that I threw up.”

“And you’re not starting today.”

“Glad I didn’t eat dinner before I left.”

“Me too.”


Then the MRI Guy announced we only had thirteen or fourteen minutes left, and I was all “Hey! That’s not too bad. I can do this.”

Full Panic Mode calmed down a little, but I was still so friggen tense that I was still trying not to have a nervous shiver. Different muscles just kept twitching. “It’s okay as long as the shoulder stays still.” Sensible Brain reminded me. “Hey, The Cure’s now playing. Focus on that.”

And I tried.

Until Full Panic Mode whispered…”You know what would suck? Is if an earthquake hit while you were in here…”

Yes. My brain went there. And then Sensible Brain went “Nope, we’re not going to think about that.”


“God, wouldn’t it suck if, as MRI Dude pressed the button to get me out of here, if my hair got caught…would my hair just rip out, or would I end up scalped?”

“For Christ’s sake! If your hair could get caught, MRI Dude would have done something about it, given you a cap to wear. But it’s not going to get caught.”

“Okay. Back to vomiting in the tube…that would make a mess…I wonder how many people get so panicked they vomit?”

“Shut it already! Didn’t you hear the man? We’re down to two more pictures. We’re not quitting this close to the end. Now go back to pretending that we’re just laying out in the sun, in a wide open space…”



And that, my friends, is how I got through my MRI. And how I learned that maybe….just maaaaaaaaaaybe…I’m a bit claustrophobic. Or maybe my anxiety can’t handle brightly lit tubes of doom.

My consolation prize – a CD of images of my shoulder. I can totally read them and diagnose myself, right?






Waving the white flag…

27 Oct

Let me sum up my life right now – I have a pair of underwear in my front pocket.

Enough said, right?

Let me clarify that they are clean underwear, and my underwear. That I found in Maura’s underwear drawer this morning. Because apparently, sorting out the laundry properly is still an emerging skill in this household for everyone.

I also did the mad dash to the sound of the approaching garbage truck this morning, which left Maura slightly startled. There was an exclamation involving curse words, me flying out the door and leaving it open, only to stop halfway down the sidewalk when I saw that some offspring of mine actually put the bins on the curb without me harassing them.

But really, life recently has been a lot of “Oh crap!” and “Shit.” and “How did this get here?” and “OMG how can I lose that? It was JUST HERE!” And trying to knit the right size dog sweater for the tiny beast. And giving up ever having socks because teenage girls think my socks are their socks and steal them all. And trying to be the good mom who cooks dinner and makes sure people have the things they need while feeling like a crap mom who is failing at everything, and not being able to do anything because I’ve hurt my shoulder to the point I need to get an MRI on it tonight, and so I’m feeling four shades of incapable. And then realizing I’m kinda looking forward to being stuck in a tube for however long it takes to get images of my shoulder because those are precious minutes where no one will be bothering me.

Also, I’m behind on laundry…but I’ve been behind on laundry for…oh…let’s see, my oldest is 20, soooo…20 years?

All my socks are probably in the laundry room.

Which makes more sense than the underwear that’s in my pocket.

And now you’re realizing, that’s not a white flag I’m waving.




Where do Americans like my daughter fit into politics?

15 Oct

Today, I read more about the election, and it left me feeling sad. Sad because people are so angry. Sad because one side has already decided it’s rigged. Sad because way too many women have come out to discuss when they were assaulted. Sad because some of them are still not believed. Sad because I’m told that all guys speak like this and if I don’t think my husband or sons talk like this, I’m delusional.

But mostly, today, I’m sad because this all has become such a shitstorm. And in such a shitstorm, other less pressing issues become invisible. Maybe I’m totally and completely biased, but I’m still waiting to hear how people like my daughter fit into each candidate’s American vision.

Because right now, she doesn’t seem to.


^I’m with Herself ^

Now, I must give Hillary Clinton credit – in the issues portion of her website, she mentions disabilities. She talks about people who are caregivers…but mostly in a “Caring for an elderly parent” way (though to be fair, she mentions parents caring for disabled children.) She mentions employment opportunities for people with disabilities. She has a whole other section for families dealing with autism.

This is way more than what Donald Trump‘s site has. Which is nothing. The closest the Trump campaign has gotten to the issue of disabilities is when he mocked Serge Kovaleski, a reporter with arthrogryposis, and the current allegations of him calling Marlee Matlin “retarded” behind the scenes on “The Apprentice” (Marlee has an amazing response. Trump has yet to respond as I write this. And regular readers know how I feel about this sort of thing.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a girl who’s rapidly growing up – and I don’t just mean getting taller. No, she’s hit the age where we have to start thinking about what we do when she turns 18, what happens when she ages out of the school program at 21. What happens to our middle class, moderately intellectually daughter when she’s an adult? What happens to us as her parents? What happens to me, as her main caregiver?

As my older three kids are also growing up, getting jobs, having separate lives, enrolling in every high school activity possible – you know, being normal youths – I’ve become more aware of that last bit. Maybe selfishly so. I am my daughter’s mother, but I am also her main caregiver. We currently don’t receive respite care, we only recently had my daughter officially labeled as “disabled” by the state, and because of income, currently don’t qualify for anything (there is a mythical waiver I need to look into, that would waive income in lieu of level of disability or something like that – or as I call it “One more hoop to jump through”…even then, we could only receive like 3 hours a month of respite care.) I’m certain things will change when she turns 18 and is considered an adult with a lifelong disability.

But even then, I may still be wondering – when will politics be concerned with people like my daughter? She may not ever be able to work. She probably won’t ever be able to live on her own. I’m not even certain a group setting would work for her. Not that there’s many options out there for us.

I have read Hillary Clinton’s autism initiative and it sounds pretty good. The only problem is, my daughter isn’t autistic, and therefore, it won’t really help her. I know this from our own experience. It’s great that she wants to make sure that autism services are covered by insurances – but insurances will deny those same services – speech, occupational, physical therapies – to children like my daughter. It’s great that she wants to do more screening in early childhood years for autism, but we had that done – and when told “Good news, she’s not autistic!” and I responded with “So what does she have?”, I was told “Sorry, we have no clue…” and was left out in the cold. When I called up a place that had a therapy that sounded like it could work for my daughter, I was told it was only for children with autism diagnoses, sorry, we can’t help your daughter.

I know, I know – autism is a big deal. I’m not denying that. I’m just allowing myself to be selfish, and want the same kind of opportunities for my daughter, and all the other kids like her out there who are falling through the cracks.

And I know, I should be happy that at least one candidate is even mentioning any sort of disability thing on their website. But we’re talking crumbs here, because the idea that disabilities will even be mentioned in the final debate is just that – an idea, most likely mythical. I doubt it will happen, and that’s sad.

I get it – other topics do take precedent. Talking openly about what is sexual assault is very important to me as well, as my daughter also has an 83% chance of being assaulted.

Which just makes me sad all over again.




%d bloggers like this: