Regular MRIs of the brain is somewhat controversial, since constant radiation exposure to the brain can actually cause cancer. Unfortunately, there is no other way to monitor the cancer we already know is there. So, I go for a brain MRI every 3-4 months, since I want to know what is going on in my head. (Yes, I know, I just opened the door for all those sarcastic comments from my dear friends and family members....)
Well, due to a technical error (i.e. either the fax never went through or Hadassah lost my papers), the MRI dept. did not schedule an appointment for me for this month. I finally got through to the manager, who found me an "emergency" appointment for this past motz'ai Shabbat (Saturday night), at 11:30 pm. I explained that I am on chemo, and the hour is really late for me, but that is all there was, unless I wanted to wait another two months.... NOT. So, I took the appointment.
I planned to arrive early, but understood that if they did not take me until 11:30, I could easily be there until 1:00 in the morning. And, if there were any emergencies, I could be there even later!
When we realized that Moshe would not be able to come with me, I again tried to move the appointment, to no avail. Sunday (today) he attended a full day academic conference at Haifa University, about the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Second Temple Period. He had to leave early in the morning and he needed to go to sleep early. He felt bad about not being able to take me (he always takes me for my MRIs), but I pointed out that it did not make sense to lose a day of work and pay for a conference if he was going to sleep through the lectures! Since I had encouraged him to attend the conference, I certainly was not going to be the cause of him missing it! (For Moshe, attending these conferences is like letting a little kid loose in a candy shop... he thrives on this stuff!!)
Anyway, for all sorts of reasons, I did not get around to making alternate arrangements. Saturday night came around and I realized I only had a tentative date, who, it turned out, was available, but preferred to be my "back up," since going out that night was not really great for her.
I have lots of late-night friends. As I considered who to call, I realized that most of my fellow night-owls live outside of Jerusalem (anywhere between 20 minutes to 2 hours away), do not have cars, and would have no way of getting home afterwards.
So, I called one of my Jerusalem friends. Jackpot! She had rested on Shabbat, could stay out as late as necessary, had no plans for Sunday morning, and could pick me up and take me home! To top it off, she is GREAT COMPANY! I had so much fun hanging out with her.
But the evening had a few "hitches." I got there early enough, and was able to take care of all the paperwork with no pressure. When I went to sit down, I saw that there were no longer cushioned waiting chairs but, rather, hard, wooden chairs. I have cancer in my pelvic area and it is painful for me to sit on hard surfaces for more than a few minutes (especially now that I have less padding). I wrote a note to the head of the department.
Meanwhile, the technician gave me one of the office chairs.
When the technician finally got around to checking me in, I discovered that my appointment was listed for 12:15 -- 45 minutes LATER than what I was told on the phone!! I was furious, but there was nothing to do. The manager does not work at that hour and the technician does not have the authority to shuffle patients around. I wrote another letter (this one was not so nice).
I had brought three shirts to sew while I waited; they all needed buttons repaired or replaced. I had just finished the last shirt, when the technician said they could take me next. It was 12:00 am - midnight.
The doctor who inserted the IV needle was not the one I like, but also not the one I did not like. She was new (for me). When she inserted the needle, if hurt for just a few seconds, as she felt around for the vein, but then I felt fine (and I have no residual black and blue marks, so she really was good!). She also took seriously my concerns about the risk of popping my vein. When it was time to inject the contrast material, she made sure to inject it slowly. It did not hurt at all.
Twenty minutes later, I was done. I waited another 10 minute for the technicians to prepare a CT. The written report would be sent to my oncologist. I was free to go.
As we left, I started to feel a bit of anxiety creeping into my head. Soon, I will not be able to pretend. I will know how the tumors in my brain are responding to my current treatment. Hopefully, the news will be good. But until I read that report, I will not know.
I felt completely worn out. My friend, God bless her, was wonderfully supportive. I could have talked with her all night long. But we both needed to sleep. It was almost 2:00 am when she dropped me off at my home.
I stumbled into bed. Moshe reached for my hand.
Within moments, we both drifted off to sleep, our hands still clasped.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,