"I've been fooled before with something like this so I think it's a good idea," explained Dr. White.
"Really? Well, ok, I don't mean to challenge your logic, well, I guess I am actually, but what will another MRI show us at this stage? What's the algorithm?" I asked.
"If your MRI is the same or better, then I think we consider an injection, an epidural. If it's worse, then we'll need to talk about surgery," said Dr. White.
The words came out in a casual, matter-of-fact manner like he had just invited me to dinner. I sat there for a minute and then asked, "So, you think surgery is a real possibility?"
"Well, I doubt it. Your nerve function is better but, like I said, with the symptoms of burning, you could have extended the lesion," said Dr. White.
Extended the lesion. That's med-speak for "your herniation worse." My mind was pacing back and forth like a lion in a cage. I had completely re-structured my life, my work, my, well, everything, thinking that this was my best chance for helping the injury heal and if now, after all of this, all of the effort and time and sacrifice, I ended up right where I didn't want to be....I....just.....wanted....to roar.
But, I didn't. That would have completely freaked out Dr. White. I said, "Ok, MRI then. But, really this time, I need either drugs or one of those really big tubes. The last one felt like a coffin."
Dr. White chuckled. "Sure. No problem. We'll set it up for you to be medicated."
"So, what does the medication do? Knock me out?" I asked.
Again, another chuckle. "Well, you won't have many memorable events. You might feel sleepy and some people do fall asleep and you'll need someone to drive you home," he said.
Great. I won't have many memorable events. That, of course, doesn't mean I won't produce memorable events. I'll probably be one of those people who under sedation say all sorts of stuff that they otherwise would never say like, "Whoa, you're hot!" to a complete stranger and then become the centerpiece of discussion for the radiology department for the next week.
I sat with this in my head for a day or so and then thought, "You know, I could probably handle an open MRI." So, I called Peggy.
"Dr. Gordon White's office," said Peggy.
"Hi, Peggy. This is Doug Kelsey. I've been thinking and I could handle an open MRI. I'm sorry to inconvenience you but could you switch my appointment to an open?" I said with words peppering Peggy's ear.
A pause crept over the line. "Weeeellllll...Dr. White doesn't like to use open MRI. The resolution isn't good enough for him. I'm sorry..." and Peggy's voice trailed off.
"Well, ok then. Back in the tube, I guess," I replied.
"Yeah, I'm sorry. Remember, nothing to eat or drink for four hours prior to your arrival at the facility," said Peggy.
"Got it. Thanks Peggy," and I hung up the phone.
It just keeps getting better. With any luck, I'll fall asleep from low blood sugar and the drugs and miss the whole thing.
And, it's happening today.