*And so it began…*
I caught the bus to Harvard this morning, got off, and walked half a mile to the hospital. I wasn’t supposed to be in direct sunlight for too long, as I was on a somewhat heavy antibiotic to treat the tick bite I got last weekend (just in case I might had been infected with Lyme Disease). It was a bright day to top things off.
Relief. That’s what I want. These non-stop headaches have been persisting since the automobile accident from a while back. It’s the reason why my website has fallen into a state of stagnancy — it’s sometimes hard enough concentrating at work with my head pounding; it’s harder still when I get home and am wiped out from trying to overcompensate normality while my head is squeezed inside an imaginary vice. It was part of the reason why I visited a doctor’s office yesterday (besides this past weekend’s tick bite and the recent exposure to hazardous materials at the house in the middle), and why I was off to see the technicians in lab coats today.
Squinting much of the way in the bright outdoors, I continued down the street, carefully avoiding getting hit by the daydreaming drivers of the Boston area. Aha! A Hospital! But, alas, it was the “Youville” one, which seemed to cater to older people (at least that’s all of of the people I saw around, on the grounds). A little further down the street I saw the sign for the hospital I needed.
As I approached, I soon discovered that taking a deep breath and speedwalking turned out to be not only be a good idea, but necessary, as around twenty people were outside, most all of the whom were sucking down cigarette fumes. I gasped for the clean, yet stale, indoor hospital air as my feet took me past the door, into the hospital, and in the direction of the reception area. After waiting minutes for a receptionist — any receptionist — to look up from her computer and acknowledge me, one got to a stopping point in her computer usage and asked if she could help me. I handed the papers over.
“I’m here for an appointment.” I explained the obvious. The paperwork said the same, but with a slight few details more than what I announced.
“Oh! Yes, you are. Let me just confirm some information…” the receptionist continued, asking for my address, some insurance details, and a few other bits of data which she already had, both on the computer and on the paper I handed to her. Happy with my responses, she hit a button and immediately a plastic bracelet popped out of a special dot-matrix printer which sat on the desk behind her. “Hold out your arm.” I did so, and the bracelet was neatly placed on my left wrist. “Go around the corner, and turn left at the ATM. You’ll find the room right there.” I followed her directions.
*From lurking in the waiting room to the real deal*
I did not spend a long time in the waiting room. The second check-in desk just took a minute while the receptionist checked my papers and told me to have a seat. Not but half a doctor office magazine article later, I heard a faint voice calling my name from the door across the room.
I must admit that I was a bit shocked that it was so soon, as there must have been around eight others sitting around, and I was the first called. I wondered if they were there for some other sort of examination or if each individual was waiting on some loved one in some back room.
*In the machine*
The lady at the door directed me down the hall toward a few rooms with big warning signs. She said it would just be a few minutes while they finished preparing everything. They left the door open. My guide entered one of the rooms and asked a man (who was out of my view), “Do you want me to use this thing here?” He said something and she responded, “So is it going to be his neck or head?” I heard the guy say the word “head”. The nurse continued, “So I’m supposed to but this whatchamacallit on down in this thingy here, right?” It was not a confidence-building conversation.
Anyway, I did trust that the guy knew what he was doing, and that the nurse did do her job right. She beckoned me in and told me to lay down. The man, presumably a doctor, a specialist in running the machine, came in and told me to just be “very still.” He kept asking me to “try not to move, even in the slightest.” I felt like I was a fidgeting little kid — I thought I was being as still as possible, but the guy kept telling me to be still. I’m mostly certain that I didn’t move a muscle. He must tell everyone that, I thought. I tried to restrain my breathing as much as humanly possible, just in case.
The man strapped down my head, put a heavy apron on my chest, and told me to “try to not move at all” again. He went to the back room and I heard a door close. At that point, all I saw was the edge of something that resembled the Star Gate ring. A voice came over the intercom, “Okay. Just be very still.” I was wondering what was going on… I thought, I’m trying my hardest to not move. What’s going on? At that point, I decided it would be best if I just closed my eyes.
Like a forklift, the bed started raising me up and then began to slide me into the star gate. Whir! Whir! Whir! I could hear spinning in the big metal ring. So this is what it’s like to get a CAT scan… I thought to myself.
My doctor, the previous day, said that I really should get my brain scanned in a CT machine, as it just isn’t right to have constant headaches for that long after a car crash. I agreed; this was really the first time things calmed down since the wreck that I actually could really get all this stuff done.
First it was the car wreck, then was the disorientation, the ambulance, the doctors, the drugs, the paperwork, the lack of police report (which is still somewhere caught in limbo), GUADEC, the looking for a new place to move (which was why we got into that wreck in the first place), my brother’s wedding, the preparing to move, the painting, the preparing the house, the moving, the health hazards, the landlord, looking for another place (quickly), moving again, and getting situated (which we’re still in the process of doing). Everything is starting to (finally) calm down. The dust is settling, so to speak (and I don’t mean lead-paint-infused dust, either).
The whirs were starting to slow down a bit; my CAT scan was almost over. Everything happened in reverse. My forklift bed slid out of the star gate like device, lowered down to its original level, and then the man from behind the door came back out, unstrapped my head, took off the bib thing, and let me up. I was done, in record time. Since I arrived at the hospital early, I actually managed to get the test done one minute before my appointment!
On my way out, I asked the technician, “Oh! I was just wondering, could I see the images taken?” I am, after all a computer, science, and photography geek, and this involved all subjects.
“Your doctor will get the results in 24 to 46 hours, and she can show them to you,” he replied. After replying “okay” and walking through the double-doors, I began to wonder why he chose “46” hours instead of 48. Who says “24 to 46 hours”? Everyone says, “24 to 48”, right? I’m hoping he thought of the right numbers while operating the machine. (I wouldn’t want to be too shot full of X-Rays…)
Now I wait. Will the results from the CT show anything? If so, what will it be? Might I actually, possibly have a blood clot in my brain? Could there be some swelling? Might it be serious? Might it not? I won’t find out for a little while now.
I’ll just relax, and celebrate my birthday (Friday).