Tuesday, for the second day in a row I wake to this. Moments later the sun darts behind the clouds for the day and I am glad I've glimpsed the blazing glory of God's handiwork in the sunrise two days in a row.
I've realized a few things this week. Like how well I understand facets of my body now. I also have learned how to advocate for myself. On Monday when I showed up for my CT scan, they took me back to the iv room. I said "no, not today, no contrast for me." The tech said "Well we don't have orders that say no contrast." I told him "I've had two reactions, even with steroids last time, it wasn't good." He didn't disbelieve me, but he didn't quite know how to proceed. Again, I surprised myself by simply saying, "No, I am not pre-medicated, and I refuse the contrast."
Apparently those were the magic words and he lead me right back to the scanner. Wow, who is this girl? I'm not so sure I would have stood up to him had this been a year ago. What normally takes me 2 1/2 hours was done in 15 minutes. And he said the images looked clear enough to be read.
Tuesday I arrive to an empty sedation room. My blood pressure registers at an alarming 156 and I am so awed by that, I don't even register the lower number. My heart rate is 122 as well. I've set a new record and giggle a bit at how hard Dr. Panwalkar would laugh at me. I reassure the nurse its high, but normal for my first reading, and it should come down. She gives me the 2 Xanax and five minutes later I register 125. I can't even tell I have anxiety anymore, its so automatic and internal. I feel fine on the outside, but my heart belies the truth of the matter inside.
I am placed on the scanner bed, a pillow inserted under my knees, headphones for my ears and I have learned to ask for a towel for over my eyes so I can't see. I then ask the tech if he will please talk to me through the various segments of the scan. He gives a small laugh and says, "You will be holding your breath a lot for me, don't worry you'll hear from me more than you want to." They then place a cage over my chest area and hand me the panic button to hold onto.
I feel my arms and legs being pulled in towards my body, as the scanner bed pulls me up into the tube. I am reminded of the orange push-up ice cream treats we had growing up, where you pushed the ice cream up through the cardboard tube so you could taste the ice cream.
True to his word, the tech tells me when it will be loud, when to take a deep breath and how long I will need to hold it. Over the course of an hour I manage to follow all of his requests without dozing off. But in the car on the way home, I fall asleep. I go straight to bed and sleep for 4 1/2 hours.
I awake to a delicious meal from the Kunka's and a beautiful Kellie Rae Roberts present. I took a close up below so you can see what it says. It couldn't be more perfect! I am such a fan of Kellie's work! Thank you Julie!
But there was more... I can't wear jewelry this week and I can't wait, can't wait! Melissa, with her adorable twins, (um they're fifth grade, can I still say they are adorable? Cuz they are.) brought this while I was sleeping- and chocolate too, (smile.) Yes... such a simple message, and yet so hard sometimes. But I am paying attention.
Its busy Wednesday in the sedation room. I am not allowed to bring anything back with me. But I've armed myself with all the words given to me for Valentine's day. I am offered magazines dating back as far as November 2010. Oddly my mind can't seem to get excited about "decorating for fall" as the article in Good Housekeeping suggests.
Next the nurse with the "good meds" gets paged to come see me. Otherwise the room is filled with 5 other beds with patients getting ready to go into surgical procedures. Its noisy and I marvel at how I will convince myself to fall asleep.
She takes my pulse and its a steady 125 and I am only slightly tachycardic at 109. Letting go... I think...
So I begin, praying for all the requests that have come my way. So many people, going through so many hard times. I'm still alert when they take me back to the scanner. I quickly shut my eyes as the cage goes down over my head. This day is the brain scan. Again the tech talks me all the way through, and I pray in between the sound of his voice.
He tells me they are pulling me out to inject the dye in my arm and then I will have 6 more minutes left. As the minutes count down, I can't help myself, I squint one eye open. And do you know what I saw? Light. As dark as you would think it would be in the tube, in between the bars of the "jason mask" or cage around my head, is nothing but a yellowish glowing light. And I felt like God climbed right up in that tube with me and filled in all the spaces around me.
I think of all the things this week has entailed and most of them would have put me in a tizzy at one time in my life. Needles? No way. IV's? Are you kidding me? Scans and tubes and sedation? Shudder.
And Tuesday. Next week. The day I will find out what all of these tests reveal. Probably some blobs, and some spots, and a swearing bone (that has a gag order placed on it) and God filling in all the in between spaces. I'm holding onto to hope, to light and to the grace that continues to see me through.