Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Monday, December 06, 2004 Brain Scan
Ever since a couple of months ago when I had that migraine that temporarily turned the speech center of my brain into tapioca, I’ve been wondering what was going on up there. Especially with the increased incidence of nascent headaches. Of course they never get past the nascent stage because I pop a brace of acetaminophen the moment the muscles behind my eyes remind me of their existence, but even that never used to happen. So I’ve been curious about the cause, and looking forward to the MRI I had last week and learning the results thereof.
So the good news is that my aneurysm is a reeeeally teeny one.
An aneurysm, for those of you who quit watching ER George Clooney left, is a bulge in a blood vessel. It’s not supposed to happen, particularly in your brain. If you’re lucky, a brain aneurysm will hit you while you’re playing drums with your band somewhere in Europe, and you end up leaving the band before it’s albums get really sucky and the lead singer starts painting a blue stripe across his face for some weird reason. If you’re less fortunate, you wind up stone dead flat on your back on the sofa for your vampire-slayer daughter to come home and find you, and then the aftermath episode doesn’t even win an Emmy.
Actually, what I have is probably not an aneurysm at all. It’s a “possible” aneurysm, measuring 1.5 millimeters, which isn’t even enough to crowd out trivia like the length of a year on Mercury (88 days) or the B7 guitar chord. It’s probably not an aneurysm at all, but merely a perfectly normal and minor abnormality pounced upon by some bored radiologist, like a New York Times copy editor mistaking a dash for a hyphen in Safire’s latest column.
Which is kind of too bad.
I was sort of hoping that I had some kind of brain thing that would make me telekinetic, or remove my need for sleep, like John Travolta in Phenomenon. At the very least I thought I might get to become a savant in a few areas in which I’m not already a savant, but no such luck. Sure, I can make fun of Brent Spiner, but I could do that before.
On the other hand, it sure would have sucked being given only months to live before my brain leaped out of my skull like a sports car engine being downshifted from fourth to reverse. I could have had the rare opportunity to write a Diarist Award shoo-in entry beginning with the sentence, “By the time you read this, I will be dead,” but once I was done with that there wouldn’t be a whole lot to look forward to. So I think I’m coming out ahead. If you’ll pardon the expression.
Lots of people dread MRIs. You have to go to the hospital, get undressed in some cases, or at the very least divest yourself of all metal as if you’re going through airport security on 9/12/01. Then you lie down on a slab and they slide you into a claustrophobic cylinder, as if they’re toasting you like a Quizno’s sandwich. But what they’re doing instead is bombarding you with rays that might come in useful in the course of interplanetary conflict, while you have to hold absolutely still. One of them even tipped over on a dude around here a few years ago, so the procedure doesn’t even have a 100% survival rate. Obviously it’s not everybody’s cup of eggnog. Me? I’ve got a newborn at home. I was looking forward to the chance to nap.
This was my first MRI. I’m fortunate enough not to be claustrophobic, even when they clamped my head in position and put a plastic cage over my face. I just closed my eyes and pretended it wasn’t there. Then I slid into the tube, where I was grateful for the earplugs I’d been given, because MRIs are loud, dude. It’s like listening to really aggressive, disjointed club music. But it was easier to sleep through than a baby crying, because I was out of there before you know it.
When the neurologist called me back today with the results, I asked her which part of the brain the non-eurysm was in. I was hoping she’d tell me it was in the part that makes me eat too many sweets, or the area that gets shut down after the first beer. But no, all she told me was that it was in the right anterior cerebral artery. So I had to look it up for myself. Turns out that if this thing goes kablooey I could lose anything from my Orkut password to my immortal soul. Great.
I’m not going to worry about it, though. Something this size, the odds of anything happening are about equal to those of an MRI machine tipping over on a dude. The neurologist said the migraine and headaches are likely just a function of stress and sleep deprivation, which means they should go away when M. Tiny graduates from medical school. The bummer is that since this vanishingly tiny thing is up there (maybe), Trash is insisting that I not exert myself too intensely at anything. Not that that cuts into my barely-existent exercise regimen, but there are times when you’re on the throne and a hundred per cent just isn’t enough.
Today's best search phrase: "Giant girls and their tiny friends." Now I'm curious. posted by M. Giant 9:06 PM 6 comments
I too had an MRI and a CT scan a few months back. I had these unexplainable piercing, debilitating headaches where I would just have to drop everything and hold myself up on something. Of course the doctors eek out, "brain tumor", which I though would be pretty sweet since lately there's been a rash of brain tumors in all the heavy metal mega-stars.
Wow, you sure have a lot going on.
Seriously dude, STOP BEING INTERESTING. Jeez. If you wanted "Scanners" on DVD for Xmas, all you had to do was ask. I already know how this is gonna be: "Sorry, honey. I'd love to clean the garage, but the thing is, well, my HEAD might EXPLODE."
My dad had an ICH in March. He was in a coma for about a week (and comas, contrary to what you see on soap operas, can feature lots of moaning and thrashing and general unpleasantness). Now he's fully functional again, except he's had the proverbial 'personality changes' and he only thinks he can read maps and he insists that 10016 is the written form of 'one thousand sixteen'. So do whatever is required to keep your blood pressure low, eh? ("There was an election? I had no idea. Look, a monkey!" "I'm sorry, Trash, but I can't get up with the baby. I have to get my sleep or my brain will melt and then we'll end up in North Dakota all the time because I can't tell the difference between exit 15 and exit 105.")
M.Giant, I remember when I used to come by to read Velcrometer and you'd be all like, "Dude, my office chair ROCKS. I had to throw some fool a beatin' cause he THOUGHT about fuckin' with my office chair. I LOVE my office chair."
So now you're not only one of the Damn Hell Ass Kings, you're also King of Life Evolution on a cosmic scale. Sorry about unpleasant hospital -fu and even less pleasant (or certain) results. A last straw, anyone? Jeez.