Friday, January 14, 2005

CT and me

Yesterday I went to have my head checked. Literally.

On Saturday, I had a migraine that was pretty uneventful, but then Sunday afternoon my face started feeling cold. I didn't pay much notice until Tuesday, when the cold sensation persisted, and I told myself that if it didn't go away I would go to the doctor. Well, my neurologist was unavailable (and her stupid new med. assistant can go to hell anyway) so I decided that I was going to UCI and go to the Urgent Care. I figured that would be the best place for me, in case it was something bad. UCI is the best. hospital. ever.

Anyway, yesterday I went and they decided I should not be in the Urgent Care, but should be over in the ER. They gave me a bed and an open-back gown (I got to wear my own pants) and my own nurse and EVERYTHING. The doctors were pretty puzzled because the sensation in my face is pretty unusual (it feels like the right side of my face is packed in snow and is freezing and burning) and of course, they were thinking 'stroke' just like I was. They decided I needed a CT scan, and like the geek that I am, I was excited about it. I mean, how many people get to see pictures of their OWN BRAIN? [by the way, that is not my brain pictured above] So I went off to CT a little excited, a little nervous (what is it is a stroke? cancer? worse??), and no one told me anything. "Lay down here, close your eyes" and into the machine I went. Since I was just having a head CT, I didn't go into the big tube scanner, but the smaller donut-ish scanner, where it feeds you through the center.

The machine isn't really that loud, a lot quieter than I imagined, actually. I was told to keep my eyes closed, which was hard because I REALLY wanted to see what it looked like when it was doing it's thing. But laser beams aren't good for the retinas, so I kept 'em shut. It fed the table-thing that I was laying on a lot at first, then moved me through in slow incriments. I don't know why I had always thought that there was one great image that was taken, that could then be dissected on screen... I never really thought that they take pictures slice-by-slice and then compile them together. Anyway, the machine was pretty quiet, but the energy in there is amazing. I hardly have words to describe it, but you can feel the energy all around your skin and then somehow inside your face and your skull and under your skin and it's just buzzing all around. It didn't hurt, it wasn't hot... just very... I dunno - vivid? I can't remember ever feeling more alive. But also very confused. I think I was concentrating too hard and I lost track of my internal time keeper. I was just laying there, so the tech came over and asked if I needed help sitting up - huh? I was surprised that it was over already. I asked the transport guy (I had to be wheeled on a gurney, hospital policy) how long I was there and he said 3 minutes. 3 minutes?! It could have been hours... it was very unique, but also very cool.

Anyway, I do not have a stroke, nor cancer, and it's 'not a tuma' as Arnold the Kindergarten Cop would say. I am a medical mystery. An enigma with a freezing face for no good reason. I see my neurologist on Monday and she may order up a PET scan or MRI to see if there is anything more to be found inside my head. It was a relief to know that it's not a blood clot and there's nothing keeping me from doing cartwheels or riding roller coasters or anything like that... but there is nothing they can do for my face. So I am dealing with it. It doesn't look any different from the outside, but my face is still frozen.

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