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The MRI- A Short Story

It was a cold drizzly evening, the rain froze as it made contact on the road and on the parked cars and shimmered in the glow of the street lights. Sammy was getting ready for her MRI for ten-thirty in the evening.

Sammy was diagnosed several years ago with Multiple Sclerosis when her daughter was only a few months old. She had been having eye pain and her vision was becoming cloudy.

“Get yourself to the doctors Sammy,” her mom insisted.

“Don’t fool around with your eyes,” her sister said.

“Ok, ok, I will make an apt now, where is your portable mom?”

The next day at the optometrist, the news was not welcome.

“Sammy, you have what is called Opticic Neurisits, it is often one of the first symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis” 

“Happy New year“ was the only thing else she heard.

Sammy was devastated and scared.

 “Why me, what have I done? How did I get it? What is it, what is happening to my body? She began to panic.  After several long deep breaths, she decided all she could do was be optimistic. I will learn as much as I can, I can do this, It won’t slow me down. 

One week later, her first MRI indicated lesions typical of MS patients. It was several days later that she started seeing a neurologist at the MS clinic.

After a couple of visits, and another MRI, the neurologist told Sammy she was stable and there was no more lesion activity on the brain but a year after that more visible lesions showed up on another MRI Sammy had. It was then that the neurologist recommended beginning medication.

“It is time to start medications, Sammy. Up until now, your MRI’S have come back with little to no activity, it is currently in a very active stage, there have been several new lesions since last year. It is time for you to start medication.”

Sammy chose the daily injections as the pill forms had side effects such as depression and hair loss. The injections were great as Sammy didn’t experience any side effects except for the occasional soreness that came with injections. Her MRI’s had been stable again until recently.

After the results of her last MRI, the neurologist stated that they had to change medications so they can start treating the MS more aggressively than in the past.

“You have five more lesions and possibly two in the spine. Your MS is progressing.”

Sammy’s mouth dropped over in shock. The neurologist looked worried.

The neurologist explained some new options to treat the MS, again with many side effects she did not think she would tolerate.

“Chemo is another option.” Dr. Montclair explained.

Sammy’s eyes filled with tears.

“I have heard of using chemo for MS patients in different countries, but I didn’t realize it was an option here. Yes, I am ready, let’s do the chemo, Mavenclad you said?”

“Yes, Manvenclad. I want you to meet Susan, she is the MS clinic nurse, she will be taking care of your file as you change medications and she will explain your new medication.”

Sammy had to undergo several vaccinations, one for shingles and another for pneumonia. She needed her TB test done and blood work.

After Sammy completed her necessary tests and vaccines she called Susan at the MS clinic.

Susan entered the information into the computer and told Sammy she would receive a call from the Mavenclad company to begin her treatment. 

“They will instruct you to follow steps as you begin your treatment.”

“Remember, no tattoos or piercings.’ Sammy recalled Susan saying. She had noticed her glancing at her tattoos at her last visit.

Sammy has been told that a side effect of this new medication would be that her immune system would be lowered. It would make it difficult to heal a piercing or a tattoo and can increase the risk of a serious infection.

Later that week Sammy picked up the package of her new medication at the post office. She brought it home and began to open it. Inside the larger box were two smaller boxes wrapped in packing paper.  The boxes where super sealed with instructions on how to open the packaging to dispense the medication. 

With her stomach turning and her hands shaking, Sammy opened the package for the first time. It was quite stressful for Sammy.  She got a glass of water and stood by the counter preparing to swallow the medication.

With a loud gulp as she swallowed her first pill Sammy proclaimed;

 “The first dose is in!”

 Sammy had a total of five pills to take one month and another five the next month. And it would be repeated in a year.

The only thing left to do was a baseline MRI to see how effective the medication will be over time, requiring an MRI each year. Tonight was her baseline MRI.

***

“Are you ready Steve?” Sammy called out,

“Yes I just have to scrape the car, the mist is freezing on the windows.”

The usual dark dreary cold January evening in the city. Too late, Sammy wishes she was in her pyjamas. All her MRI’s are booked in the late evening. 

“Come with me.” the receptionist directed through the doors once she was registered.

She handed Sammy two dressing gowns.

“This one, with the WASH HANDS logo, is to cover your front, this plain one is for your back.”

“Take everything off including your bra and jewellery. You may leave your panties and socks on.”

Sammy knew the drill as she changed into the gowns, full of goosebumps, Sammy tied the gowns tight and pulled her socks up as high as they could go.  She removed her belongings from the change room and placed them in the locker provided. She chose the purple key tag. She placed the lock on and joined Steve in the next room, motioning that he could sit in her waiting room. 

She self consciously placed her hand on her tummy feeling the annoying bloating that comes when she is nervous when suddenly she realized she hadn’t had her belly piercing removed!

“Steve!” Sammy cried out. “My belly piercing! I forgot to have it removed with my other ones!”

Sammy had just gone during the day to her tattoo shop to have her many piercings removed in anticipation of the MRI that night.

“What am I going to do?”

Just then the doors opened to the MRI lab, a technician called Sammy’s name. Looking worried she hurried over and entered the room. As the technician closed the door, Sammy rambled on about having all her piercings removed that day and that she had forgotten one.

“What is it made out of?” the technician asked.

“I am not sure.” She responded.

The technician walked over to his desk and picked up something, he came back to Sammy and told her it was a magnet. To Sammy’s relief, it did not make contact with her jewelry.

“It’s not magnetic, you will be fine,” he told her.

Sammy was motioned to lie down on the MRI table as he placed the leg supports under her knees she lay back into the hard neck rest. The technician continued to prepare her, placing noise-cancelling headphones over her ears. Next, he moved the blocks against her head and finished with placing a cage-like white plastic mask over the front of her face and moved her into the MRI machine. Everything was white.

 Sammy often leaves her eyes open through the procedure until she feels tired.  She would eventually close her eyes against the rumbles and clanging and clanking sounds..and pretend it was music. Sammy especially liked it when she could hear the deep far off thumping that sounded like a heartbeat.

Sammy doesn’t mind MRI’s. She strangely finds them peaceful but humorous as well. She has to try hard to not move when she silently chuckles to herself and rolls her eyes. She can’t believe with all this modern technology they have to have a machine so, so..prehistoric and loud.

After Sammy dressed she headed out to the receptionist to let her know she had completed the MRI.

“Two weeks for the results,” the receptionist told her.

Sigh

No, It isn’t the MRI that bothers Sammy, it’s the wait for the results.

“Have a good night,” Sammy replied.

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Christie F.

Welcome to my blog. I have been journal writing for years. I took a course in Creative writing and found I enjoy writing short stories and poetry. I write more when I am hypomanic or manic.
I went into Rehab for Alcohol Addictions and have been sober for fourteen years.
Shortly after I quit drinking I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2, I have since been diagnosed with Bipolar 1.
I enjoy talking about my story, for people to learn or relate. I try and have a healthy lifestyle and try to use my coping strategies. Life is just too boring without Bipolar, it is a blessing but yet sometimes a curse.
I am currently working on a book and dream of publishing one day.
I am so excited to have found Wordpress.
This is my new adventure.

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