On Revisiting an Old Nemesis

The day started out well enough- but any day that I get to wake up next to Dan and looking out at the city is a great way to begin a new day. The other direction wasn’t too bad either…

Shiva perching imperiously on top of Dan. Marley just being her snuggly sweet self.

However, it was to be a full day ahead of school work, performing on a faculty potpourri recital, and meeting up with an old nemesis of mine in the late afternoon, the MRI machine- or as I like to call it, ‘The Banging Tube of Terror’.

I took this photo of the fountain outside of Buckingham Palace during my Chamber Trio tour to London last semester….now it makes me think of an MRI monster.

For those of us who are wildly claustrophobic, MRI machines are pure torture. As soon as I feel the tube touch my arms I begin to panic, unable to breathe, feeling like I’m being buried alive. For normal people it’s just a loud nuisance- or a time to take an interesting nap. For me, it’s an exercise in mind control as I try to be all Zen and put myself anywhere but in the basement of the Kirkland Clinic in the confines of that pounding beast.

This wasn’t my first rodeo…it was actually the fifth MRI I’ve had over my lifetime. My doctor prescribed a sedative for me to take before the test, and it helped a great deal, as did covering my eyes with a cloth. The very kind technician also turned up the airflow, which gave the illusion that there was space around me.

Sweet Dan brought me to Kirkland, and when they called my name he kissed me and said, “I’ll see you at the waterfall,” the beautiful place in North Carolina where we were married on the Nantahala River that is my safe place mentally in trying times. It worked; during all of the pounding, I heard the crashing of the waterfall all around me and saw Dan smiling and reaching for my hand. Marley was there for good measure, too. It never hurts to have reinforcements.

Knottyhead Falls…

Now we wait for the results and a plan to move forward. At issue is my right shoulder, the same shoulder that I had surgery on last May. It never healed well and I’m experiencing severe pain that is now also radiating down to my elbow and hand, making my job as a clarinetist and teacher challenging. Just picking up a glass of tea, hugging my husband, playing my instrument, typing on the computer…most everything brings me to the brink of tears.

However, this is just a blip- there are so many people dealing with things way worse than a painful shoulder. I am fortunate to have a great doctor and to work at a university that has a top medical school and hospital system. I have a loving husband a peaceful home, and animals who comfort me at the end of a long day (yes, even Shiva has her sweet moments…).

Now that the test is done, I’ll be able to get the results and go over what the next steps will be with my doctor in the near future. If more surgery is part of that plan, I’ll schedule it around my performance and work obligations- it will all work out. I’m just eager to know what I’ll be dealing with and face it, and I’m doing my best to keep a positive outlook (and am grateful to Dan and my BFF, Diane, for listening as I also talk through my fears).

I will to do whatever I need to do to feel good again; I sure don’t want to be on the sidelines for any part of my life- there’s too little time and too many wonderful things to do and experience.


4 thoughts on “On Revisiting an Old Nemesis

  1. I’m so glad you were able to get through the MRI with those wonderful images sustaining you! I will be sending positive thoughts your way in hopes you will get a diagnosis and treatment that alleviates the pain!

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