Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Longest Day

You know how I always say I won't schedule two appointments on the same day, or even in the same week, because somehow some way they always collide with each other?  It happened again.  On Friday I had an appointment for four hoof trims first thing in the morning and an appointment for an MRI last thing in the evening.  My farrier refuses to give me an exact time that he will arrive.  The general rule is that the hotter it is, the earlier he arrives, and he never comes later than 9:00 AM in the winter.

I couldn't sleep and got up at 4:00 AM, had breakfast, did barn chores, fed and pottied the dogs, and then my husband woke up.  He has Fridays off from work, but on this morning he had the first appointment of the day with his doctor, so he had to jump in the shower.  I looked at the clock and it hit me that I was going to have to hold horses while wearing the same clothes I wore the day before and slept in, and I'll be stinking up the stalls.  Honestly, I can't even stand to be in the same room as myself before I've had a shower.  We sweat so much in the summer months that our clothes get soaked all the way through and dry up several times over.

So, when my husband abandoned the bathroom to race out the door to his appointment and the farrier had not yet arrived at 7:45 AM, I jumped in the shower thinking I'd just rinse off super fast and change my clothes.  Then I remembered that I needed to shave my legs because they might put me in a hospital gown for my MRI, but I didn't have time to shave.  I decided to take a second shower later in the day and do it then.  I was in and out in a couple of minutes, and when I looked out the window, there was the farrier setting up shop in the barn.  I ran for my phone with a towel around me thinking he must have been trying to call me, but there were no missed calls.  He just took the initiative and got started without me, which made me happy.

When I got dressed and joined him, he seemed like he would have preferred that I not help at all.  He doesn't like it when people hold horses for him, so he had the lead rope looped over the railing.  Still, I like to be there to help if something goes wrong, so I sat nearby in a chair.  Bombay spooked big at nothing and teleported to the other side of the stall in an instant.  It's been a while since any horse has spooked like that around me, and I reacted by jumping up out of my chair to grab him before he trampled the farrier.  Jumping up like that caused my muscles to contract, and hurt my leg, so I just basically fell back down into the chair.

Then when it was Lostine's turn for her trim, I heard the farrier say, "No!  Don't fall down on me," and I looked up to see Lostine leaning backward with her rump aiming right for my lap.  She nearly fell on top of me the last time I worked on her hooves, so I have a sense of how much she weighs, and I don't need all that weight on top of me.   I jumped up out of my chair and bailed to the side to avoid having a horse sit in my lap right when the farrier released her and she stumbled, but caught herself before going completely down.  That time I felt like I tore a major muscle in my thigh and had to hop one legged back to my seat.  It was becoming clear that I couldn't be any help to the farrier if he needed me, so I just stuck around to pay him.

Rock got spanked for trying to bulldoze the farrier in order to get to some hay, and Gabbrielle was the only horse who didn't cause trouble -- go figure.  Gabbrielle is usually the instigator of everything.

After the trims, my fresh clothes were soaking wet and I was ready for that second shower already, but I waited until it was closer to my next appointment.  I did household chores all day, more barn chores, more dog chores, took my second shower, shoved dinner down my throat early while barking at the dogs not to pee on the carpet, and was waiting for my husband to drive me to the imaging place when the TV reception cut out.  "Ummmm, could you check the radar?  Is there a rain cloud over us right now?"

Yup.  He ran outside to look, but the air was still, with no sign of rain.  Two minutes later we were driving through an onslaught of huge rain drops coming down hard and fast with lightning flashing all around us every second on the second.  Our car was being pushed around by high winds.  The windshield wipers couldn't wipe fast enough to give us a clear view of the road, and we had to get on the crowded freeway and somehow drive into the city with little visibility.  Not only was it raining faster than our wipers could wipe, but the lightning was blinding us and it was night.  The roads were already flooding in just those first few minutes of rain.  That's the behavior of a monsoon.

I began to have a panic attack in the passenger seat.  I kept checking with my husband, asking if he can see anything at all.  He has bucket seats that have lost their cushioning, so I could barely see over the dashboard myself.  I had to hold my hands over my eyes because all the flashing was making me feel like I was going to have a seizure.  Once we were on the freeway, he drove cautiously so that I wouldn't throw open the car door and fling myself onto the flooded shoulder in a panic, but all these other drivers in big pickup trucks just kept flying past us going 80 mph and kicking up tidal waves onto our vehicle.  I considered calling the imaging place and telling them I wasn't going to make it, but I knew I'd have to pay a $50 fine for canceling at the last minute, and I already blew fifty bucks on that stupid horse feeder that Rock ruined so that I couldn't return it to the store.

Fortunately, we hit a break in the clouds and everything calmed down, so I collected myself and limped into the waiting area for my MRI.  The receptionist confiscated my driver's license and insurance card and didn't give them back to me.  I figured that was their way of preventing people from getting impatient while waiting and walking out -- something I've done many times before in medical offices back in the day before they started charging No Show Fees.  But considering that my appointment was at most people's bed time, there weren't many people waiting and I got right in.

All along the way, people kept asking me if I am claustrophobic.  I said no.  For years throughout my childhood, I squeezed into bullet shaped soap box derby cars and drove them down hills with very little room to move anything other than my fingers and toes.  Two ladies began barking orders at me in the MRI lab.  Apparently, I wasn't moving fast enough for them, because one was shoving ear plugs in my ears while the other was swinging my legs up onto the table for me.  I couldn't hear their instructions in part because I had ear plugs in my ears and in part because one of the ladies had a thick accent and spoke too fast, but as they were sending me into the machine, I did hear one say, "This will take about 25 minutes."

When the table stopped, I was stuck inside this tiny tube with air blowing directly onto my face from a vent in the ceiling just two inches away from my face.  I lifted my head to look down at my body and hit my head on the ceiling.  Then I tilted my head back and saw there was a hole just about a foot away from the top of my head.  I thought if I could just have them roll me back another foot, I'd be okay.  I heard the lady with the accent yell, "Are you okay?" and I yelled back, "No!  Can you let me stick my head out this other end?"

I heard no response and then she yelled something about beginning the first image.  I remembered being told that I'd be stuck in this tube for 25 minutes, and I totally lost it.  I started kicking and screaming, and then I remembered the ball in my hand that I am supposed to squeeze in an emergency, so I squeezed it and heard an alarm go off, but for some reason I just kept squeezing it repeatedly, as if I didn't trust that this lady would hear the alarm.  She aborted the image and slid me back out.

"What's wrong?"

I repeated my question about being allowed to stick my head out the other end, and she explained why she can't do that.

"Is there any other machine we could use?  I barely fit in that thing!"

She said there was a slightly larger MRI, but I'd have to wait several weeks for the next opening, and there was an open MRI, but I'd have to wait months.  Then a new panic attack took over when I realized that I may never receive a diagnosis and treatment for my leg condition.  If I can't get this problem addressed, then I'll never be able to ride my horses ever again.  I'd been waiting one and a half years for just one thing to go right so that I could finally know what my problem is and how to fix it.

The lady offered to put a blindfold on me.  I was desperate, so I said I'd try it.  Amazingly, it worked.  I was able to pretend like I was lying in my bed with the sheet pulled up over my eyes, and I reviewed my day in my head while the MRI machine banged and shook a couple of kidney stones loose.  It hit me that they never put me into a hospital gown since I had dressed appropriately with no metal zippers or buttons.  Taking two showers so that I'd have time to shave my legs ended up being a non-issue.  I thought about the horses and how they would have kicked the entire MRI machine apart by now in one of their panic attacks.  I realized that the way I was feeling during this procedure must be similar to how the horses feel when they are forced to undergo unexpected medical treatments they don't understand.

I had an MRI years ago, and I remember that they gave me a sedative beforehand, just like the vet does with my horses.   And when I didn't calm down enough by their standards before rolling me into the machine, they hooked up an IV to me and pumped sedatives straight into my veins.  Medical care used to be so much more thoughtful back in those days.

I was doing pretty good in that tube with a towel over my face until the air being pumped into the machine started to smell gross.  They had a band around my feet to keep them upright, and I squirmed a bit, which caused the band to roll up and dig into my toes.  Then I suddenly became aware that my arms were cramping with my shoulders touching the sides of the machine.  I waited for this round of knocking and pounding to stop and then I was going to squeeze the panic ball again just so that I could sit up and breathe fresh air.  I didn't have to, though, because that turned out to be my last image.

When I came out and was prodded back into the waiting room, my husband was missing.  I checked my phone to see if he left a message, but there was none.  He eventually stuck his head in the door from outside and on the way to the car explained that there was a man in the waiting room who smelled awful and was stinking the whole place up, so my husband had to go stand outside.  Then the guy came outside and polluted the air there, so my husband went back inside, but the guy followed him, so my husband went back outside and it took several minutes for the man's body odor to dissipate outdoors.  I said, "Oh.  I must have been having sympathy smells, because gross smelling air started being pumped into the MRI machine and I was having a panic attack."

He said that it probably really was this guy's B.O., because he was stinking up the entire building.  Fortunately, the worst of the flash rain storm had passed, so the ride home was less eventful than the ride out.  I had too many panic attacks for one day, so I'm hoping to take a vacation from myself for the rest of the week so that I can relax.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I hate MRI machines because I am claustrophobic. But I've had to live through a few and just suck it up. I would have liked to have tranquilizers too but didn't. Anyway, now you're done with it and hopefully will have some answers soon.

lytha said...

omg i've had that, where someone in the waiting room stank so bad you could not bear it!

and you almost gave me a panic attack with your description of the MRI, but ....hey, ...

doctors do not care if you have hair on your legs. Or????? In America they do?

thanks for the tip about the blindfold!

again, AZ sounds like hell.

i found a huge dead spider in my living room today, but before i could celebrate, i realized that whatever killed it (another spider?) was probably EVEN BIGGER.

TeresaA said...

That was awful day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Stephanie - Siouxzeegirl Designs said...

I can completely empathize with your MRI experience!! I took a Valium and thought I was doing aces at staying still and the technician kept yelling at me to not move!! Sounded so mean and not at all like the patient was supposed to be the priority!! Hope that you get some answers soon!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

My habit of shaving before medical appointments started years ago, spawned from a bad experience when a doctor actually examined my knees because he noticed that was the only place I had hair growing and he thought I might have some disease. It was just a matter of me not having enough time to shave every part of my legs, and the knee hair is extra stubborn. I also won't wear black pants to doctor exams, because I had one doctor comment that I must own a lot of animals based on the amount of hair that was stuck to my black pants.