Today would have been my mother’s 63rd birthday. I celebrated her birthday today by having my first MRI this morning at St. Vincent’s Hospital which is appropriate because my mother suffered from severe neck and back problems her entire life and I’d think something’s gone wonky in my back. I guess the only good thing about that is it took me into my early forties to notice.
My back went out a week before Christmas and it’s just never been the same. My lower back is always sore , but for the past two months, I’ve suffered from poor sleeping because of this weird pins/needles feeling every night when I lie down to go to sleep. It’s a hard sensation to describe, but trying to get to sleep while feeling like there’s a fireworks show going on throughout your body doesn’t exactly make for a night of restful sleep. Wait. I just thought of a better way to describe it: it feels like the pain you get from holding a sparkler during Fourth of July and one of the sparks randomly hits your skin and you sort of jump. Whatever – it’s still all about the fireworks.
Last week my doctor switched me from muscle relaxers to a wonderful drug called Neurontin which brings me back full circle to why I just might be turning into my mom. She took that very same drug for a long time to help with her fibromyalgia and neuropathy. It’s prescribed to people for lots of reasons, but my favorite description of neurontin is that it helps “…decrease abnormal excitement in the brain.” Yup. That’s me.
I remember my mom having to go for an MRI a couple of times and she had a lot of problems lying flat because of her back. This morning I was more nervous about feeling claustrophobic in the MRI machine so I popped a Xanax when I woke up this morning to mellow me out before I went for my appointment. I figured it was more of a preemptive strike because I’m not so good in crowds and get especially freaked out in elevators transporting more than three people. It definitely took the edge off.
My favorite part of the MRI experience was being given a sheet of artists that I could listen to while having the MRI. Can you believe the first artist on the list was AC/DC? But they had a whole range of music that I could choose from while I lied perfectly still in that medical coffin: Celtic Woman, Jethro Tull, Billy Joel (my mom’s favorite), Yanni, Madonna and Eminem. I ended up choosing the generic Calming Seas which wasn’t the best choice because it didn’t really calm me down. I blame the dolphins and their damned squeaking language of the sea.
The MRI took about 20 minutes and I did great because I closed my eyes through 99% of the whole MRI. It was recommended that I think about calming scenery like lounging on a warm beach, but instead I kept myself deathly still by imagining how good my bowl of spicy Tortilla soup was going to taste this afternoon while having lunch at Playa del Carmen in Holden.
I’m hoping there’s nothing serious going on with my lower back, but I was particularly missing my mother today because today is her birthday and I’m having back problems just like her. But then again, sometimes I just miss her special way of worrying about me more than I worry about myself.