I just got back from a spinal tap. I am so disappointed. They didn’t even sing me Big Bottom.
I have to be honest that a spinal tap scares the shiiiz out of me. I love an MRI. I could do MRIs all day long. See, I am not the least bit claustrophobic, but I am a good bit “Tinkering-with-my-spinal-column-phobic”. Me no likey.
SO, I know what you are thinking. “Shut up already and tell us what is wrong with you.” Well, before I tell you that I have MS (SPOILER ALERT), I have to tell you a little story.
I went to see a neurosurgeon and he checked me over, asked about my health history, and seemed really impressed at my dead hand in particular. Now, I am one of those dorks that likes to brag about my weird issues. I have been shoving my claw hand into peoples faces and saying, “LOOK!!! It won’t open anymore!! I can’t straighten my fingers!! Isn’t that trippy!!”. And usually people brush me off just because they don’t know me and they just want to buy some groceries in peace. So I was really excited that finally someone else was interested in how worthless my hand has become.
Now, I went into the appointment pretty much convinced that I had MS. So, I listed all the MS symptoms I’m having now and last year, and figured he would agree with me. Well, the doctor does his exam and then leaves me sitting in the exam room while he looks at my charts and talks to last years doctors. In the meantime, my friend Wendy texted me to see how I was doing, so we texted back and forth for a bit to pass the time.
Doctor comes back and sits down. “I’ve looked over your MRIs from last year and you’re right… they are clean. I’m pretty sure you have ALS. WAH WAH WAH WAH WAHWAHWAHWAH.” (Cue the Charlie Brown teacher voice because at that point he was talking, but it did not compute.) And I was so stunned that even though this doc has just told me that he’s pretty sure I’m dying… –and soon, I matched his matter-of-fact tone and said, “Oh. Okay.” Like, “No big deal. I get told I have a horrible, debilitating illness all the time. Nothing to get excited about.”
So, I calmly walked out to the waiting room while they arranged more tests and appointments and on the outside I was fine, inside I was screaming, “ALS!!! ALS!!!!!! AL-FREAKING-S!!!!!!!!!!! SWEAR WORDS!!! SWEAR WORDS!! @#&%^$!!! @#$$#^#$%!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!”
And I text Wendy and say, “He just said ALS.”
And her replies went something like this:
Because poor Wendy was the caregiver for her father-in-law who died from ALS a few years ago.
And at that point I started to cry and I didn’t really stop for another 17 hours. And all of the “This is going to be fine” calmness was gone and the only thoughts in my head were angry, screaming conversations with God. And swear words, and I don’t mean damn and hell.
And so the next morning we were rushed in for some MRIs and as I laid down on the table and they attached this Hannibal Lector looking face mask to me, I prayed “Please let there be lesions on my brain.”
And while the machine scanned my head I prayed, “Please. Please let there be lesions on my brain.”
And after they injected the dye into my veins I prayed, “Please God. I can’t die. I can’t die before my babies grow up. Please let there be lesions on my brain.”
And as they wheeled me over to the neurologist’s office I prayed, “Please Heavenly Father. Don’t do that to my kids. Please let there be lesions on my brain.”
Then the neurologist came in and checked me out, then wrote in my charts for what seemed like a half an hour and I wanted to grab him and say, “SPIT IT OUT, MAN!!!” Because… you know they know. Right? But, finally he started to talk about the lesions they had seen on the MRI and that I have MS. And because I’m a little slow I asked, “Does that mean I don’t have ALS?” And he said, “No, you don’t have ALS.”
And then I cried and cried and cried, and Mr. Darcy cried, and the doctor showed us the lesions on my brain. And I thought, “Those are the best brain lesions I have ever seen.” And I wanted to ask for a print out of my MRI so I could shove the images in strangers faces and say, “DO YOU WANT TO SEE MY BRAIN LESIONS???!”
So. I have MS. And it will be fine.