Tomorrow morning, I will get up with the sun. I will shower, I will not eat breakfast or have a diet coke, I will dress in comfortable clothes and I will pack distractions (absolutely none of which will be academic, for the record).
I will ride in the car for an hour to get to the hospital. I will register, I will wait. Eventually I’ll be taken back. A doctor will explain the procedure and then we’ll get started. I’ll have a needle inserted into my spine, I’ll have a radioactive tracer injected into my spine and then I’ll lie flat for 4 hours. After lying flat, I’ll be scanned.
Those two paragraphs are exactly what I know about tomorrow, what is predetermined and predictable. Everything else is unknown. Everything else is scary as shit.
Because last time it took 5 tries to get the lumbar puncture when done without x-rays. It took a solid 20 minutes to get it with the x-rays. And so I can’t help but worry and wonder about how many tries it will take tomorrow and how much it’ll hurt after.
What about the tracer? I’m allergic to iodine which my neurologist couldn’t confirm wasn’t a part of the test, but the last neuro-radiologist doubted the allergy (because I can eat shrimp and not die) and I’m afraid they’re going to ignore it tomorrow with serious consequences.
Let’s not forget the spinal headache. Because I tried to call and pre-schedule an epidural blood patch for Wednesday, so that I wouldn’t hurt through the long Thanksgiving weekend and was told that I couldn’t. I was told that if I did have a leak that I should call the on-call neurologist to try to get that scheduled. Let’s all consider the likelihood that there’s going to be a neuro-radiologist available during Thanksgiving weekend to do this non-emergent procedure.
And probably the greatest and scariest unknowns in all of this are the results.
I’m afraid that my kidneys will absorb the tracer before it gets to my brain and this will all have been for nothing.
I’m afraid nothing will show up and there will be no solution.
I’m afraid a leak will show up and all the different ways that we might have to deal with that.
Everything feels so profoundly out of my control. There are so many variables and unknowns, so many possibilities. I’m overwhelmed with all that can and might happen.
I’m afraid to make plans because I don’t know anything past tomorrow morning at 7. I don’t know if I’ll be up for Thanksgiving, I don’t know if I’ll be having brain surgery over Christmas. I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish this semester of school or start next year on time.
There are more questions than answers.
There are more possibilities than can be considered.
There are more fears than words to express them.