I really do have to laugh now when I think back to how nervous I was to undergo a 30 minute MR scan. The thought of being in a closed tube for that long, and needing some sort of poke to get the contrast dye in me, literally undid me. Open MRI was not an option.
The night before the MRI, I was doing research via Dr. Google to find causes of sudden hearing loss in hopes of solving my case and therefore getting to cancel the 1/2 hour tube adventure.
In fact, I actually found two causes that I apparently deemed reasonable enough to call my ENT about...at 8:00PM on a Tuesday night no less! Actually, I think I texted Dr. Thomason (we are friends from church...does that make me seem less crazy? or at least less of a control freak?), and he called me back. I will just blame it on the steroids that I was taking. ;)
So, what two causes did I present to my doctor? Cause 1) Aspirin regimen - I have been taking 81mg of aspirin daily for almost 14 years in effort to thwart any clotting problems due to a blood disorder that I was blessed with from my Dutch ancestry. According to a few sites, tinnitus (ringing in the ear) can actually be attributed to long term aspirin use. Voila! I thought wow...this is totally it! I even told this exciting news to Jerry. Cause 2) TMJ syndrome - Due to some other life stresses going on last fall, I knew I had been clenching my jaw in my sleep. It was causing a radiating pain into my temple area. And alas, Dr. Google also tied TMJ to tinnitus. I have never been diagnosed with TMJ disorder, but I was willing to self diagnose in order to avoid the MRI. Again, Jerry was made aware of this exciting discovery! ;)
Tim sweetly listened to my probable causes and then tried to explain the different types of hearing loss and what would be measurable, etc. I know he was using his best lay person terminology, but it totally went right over my head. ;) After trying to explain more, and me not really understanding why my finds weren't as conclusive to him (and definitely reason to cancel the scan)...he said, "Kerry, you NEED to have the MRI done tomorrow."
Okay, gotcha. *sigh*
Our prayer the entire week we knew of the upcoming scan was for the Lord to remove the anxiety surrounding it. However, also during that week, countless well meaning friends shared their woeful MRI accounts with me. Yep. So, I knew the day of that I was not going to be able to face it without a little help from medicine.
Thankfully (I guess?), I suffered a full blown panic attack on a flight many years ago...before 9/11. We were on our way to Wisconsin for a family event and were experiencing major turbulence as we approached Lake Michigan. I had flown countless times and experienced turbulence before, but this was different. I had convinced myself the plane was going down. Thankfully my sister, also an RN, was talking me through it because the steward was less than helpful. I remember him saying that I should imagine that we were on a roller coaster ride. What? That made no sense to me and I responded back, probably in too loud of a voice, "But there are no tracks underneath the plane!"
I survived, but was not ready to jump on an even smaller plane to finish our route from Chicago to Milwaukee. I really wanted to rent a car and drive, but Jerry, nor my sister and brother-in-law, were game for that plan. My BIL offered to buy me a drink at the bar to calm my nerves, and I took him up on it.
As a believer in God and his power I am not sure where to stand on the use of alcohol and especially prescription medicines to calm occasional anxiety. More on that later. But in effort to be open and completely honest, I did turn to Xanax the next time I flew. And it was for a mission trip no less. Ugh. We were headed to Peru just a few months after 9/11 and wow, that medicine is something else. Just .25 mg and man, it had me thinking...the plane could go down...not a big deal...it would be okay. Crazy!
So ever since then, my doctor will write me for very small amounts of Xanax for flight anxiety. Just enough for each leg and no refills, of course.
On Wednesday 12/5/2012, I went to my morning ENT appointment and then took a *little* more than my typical flight dose at lunch. I can't remember what Jerry and I talked about while we ate, but I showed up to my MRI appointment without a care in the world!
It went great and I expected to hear the results in a few days. So, I knew it wasn't good news when Tim himself called me, within just a matter of hours after it. I will recap that fun phone call in part 5.
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