“What kind of music do you like to listen to?”
“We have to put headphones on you to cancel out the noise anyway so we pipe music into them; what do you like?”
Of course my answer was ’90s throwback gangster rap, but I didn’t want the MRI tech to think I was a big weirdo. I racked my brain. What is appropriate music for when you are trying not to freak the fuck out because you’re trapped in a very small tube for what your brain assures you will be all of eternity?
I was so nervous. Not about the MRI, or what they might find was wrong with my back. No, I was nervous about what they wouldn’t find. That I was just being a huge weenie, and the mountain of help I had been getting from my family, friends and neighbors was an unnecessary burden I had placed on them. I have an unusually low threshold for pain, as was evidenced with both my tattoo and child bearing experiences, and I had a horrible feeling that this was all in my head.
“Wow… it’s just a tiny little pulled muscle,” The doctor would tell me, rolling her eyes at the nurse. “I mean… wow. What a waste of everyone’s time.”
“Ummm… I like Katy Perry? Or just whatever you have is fine.”
After the MRI, I sat in the waiting room and the nurse entered and handed me a folder. “Well, you definitely have two herniated discs.”
“Oh thank god!” I exclaimed. “No… I mean… I just didn’t want you to think I was a huge pussy or anything.” I snatched the folder and hobbled out to my car, excited to call everyone and thank them for their clearly needed service.
Not only was I relieved that it wasn’t all in my head, it was also reassuring to know was wrong with me could be fixed. An easy fix with a little cortisone shot, physical therapy and TLC, according to every legitimate medical message board I found online.
“Wow… this tear on the bottom one is really big,” the cortisone shot doctor said as he entered the room the following morning. “I doubt this shot is going to work, and…”
He trailed off. I was hoping he was going to end that sentence with ‘you should just go home and have a big relaxing glass of wine because I can clearly see you are a nervous wreck about having a huge needle jammed into your spine’.
That was not what he said.
“… you are probably going to be looking at surgery. It’s a really big tear.”
His words hit me like a ton of bricks. This was not the easy fix I was promised by SugarBear5655, who clearly was the resident message board expert on herniated discs.
To make things worse, that sadomasochist still made me get the damn shot, even despite my skilled negotiations. And [stop reading here if you plan on getting a cortisone shot in the near future] that shit was legit, and it sucked. Not only was a needle jammed into my spine, but into the angriest part of my spine. The part that makes me want to kick my grandma if I even think about moving a certain way.
So now… I wait. I wait to see if the shot kicks in. I wait to have my appointment with the neuro surgeon to see if this will resolve on its own or if he will need to amputate everything from the waist down. I wait for Nick to get home because it is taking every ounce of my being not to watch last night’s episode of Better Call Saul while I lay here bored out of my mind on the couch.
And just like that, I have entered into a new life stage. First came the stage of everybody is getting married. Then everybody got divorced. Then we all got married again. Then the babies. Oh, the babies. Now I have officially entered everybody’s shit is falling apart. We are old and broken and our talk of bouquets and bassinets is slowly being replaced with bone scans and boob exams.
The silver (well, milky opaque) lining is that the MRI provided me with exhibit A in my argument with Nick for a tummy tuck. My god. Maybe the back doctor can give me a two fer.