Monday, January 25, 2010

Snow and The MRI Saga

Let's see, where were we? Ah yes, Roger was scheduled for an MRI and the weather had taken an incredible turn toward deep winter. Wednesday was the stormiest for rain, and by then we were topping out at eight inches for a four-day total. The wind was gusting up to 60 mph, and the temperatures hovered at 36 F most of the day. We kept waiting for the snow to start falling. We thought if it would just snow we could cancel the MRI appointment (our not-so-secret desire). But that didn't happen. What did happen is that we lost our internet, telephone, and cable connection at around 10:00 am. So even if the MRI had to be canceled, we couldn't call to do it. We drove over to the food co-op for their free wi-fi i and good cell phone reception. There was no cancellation, so we drove over to the Diagnostic Lab at Roger's appointed time.
ROGER SEZ: i learned how to relax and ignore the pain of dental work when i was young because i hated fainting, or almost fainting, from the consideration of needles. not the pain. just the thought. i have had root canals without novacain. i could faint now if i imagine having a needle in me. i was quite pleased some 4 years ago when i got through a blood draw with nary a trace of lightheadedness. i even watched the tech switch vials to get more. i was impressed with me.

now i was to get an mri of my shoulder. i ruptured my left proximal biceps tendon, which sounds awful but is not really because the upper biceps tendons have two attachment points and so i still have one left. my arm still works fairly well. no reaching up and back. the diagnosing surgeon suggested an mri to see if my rotator cuff was torn.

the intake nurse tells me that i will need an injection in my shoulder for an mri. actually two, a shot of lidocaine to numb my shoulder so a doctor can, while watching on live fluoroscope, insert a loooong needle into my joint to insert dye. maybe she didn't really draw out that word "long," but i heard it that way.

so i remove my shirts and put on the silliest medical gown i've ever seen. big goofy flaps on the shoulders. then they lead me down the hall to radiology and i sit there ignoring the tray laid out with needles and vials or inspecting the several sorts of hi-tech machinery while the radiologist is called from somewhere else. my breathing is a bit off by now. after some years the doc arrives and explains the whole thing again. maybe i shouldn't have watched the fluoroscope screen while he marked my shoulder where the looong needle would be inserted. the lidocaine injection was sharp but brief. now i'm staring intently at some machine screws just above me, trying to breathe normally. now i'm asking for a cold wet cloth on my head. now i'm sweating profusely. when they ask if i'd like to stop and do the MRI some other time i gladly say yes. my bp is the lowest i've seen, 110/54. the nurse insists that i lay flat for a bit. that sounds good. after a while i'm escorted out to robin. we laugh. ROGER FINIS
When he came into the waiting he still looked ghostly pale. I thought he had completed the tests quickly, so I leapt up saying, "Wow, great job. That was fast." He said, "Nope, didn't get it done. I passed out."

We had another very deep rollicking good laugh about it on the drive home, that is until we turned up the two-lane mountain road to the house. While we were in town, it had snowed about an inch or two at the slightly higher elevation, and the roads were almost too slick to be navigated. There was a snow plow a couple of cars ahead of us, but it wasn't clearing the roads of all the slickness. Several cars were spinning and struggling up the hill, and we became just one in a line of roaring engines and cars moving an inch at a time. Then we were stuck. Roger tried to put the snow chains on the car, but he couldn't get them to work right. A very nice young man stopped to help, but he couldn't get the chains on either. Luckily he did manage to direct traffic around us, as we were blocking the lane heading up the hill. It was disconcerting in so many ways. So, Roger jumped back into the car and decided to give it one more try. We inched and inched our way to the house, which was only about a quarter of a mile further. We made it. Whew.
Since Wednesday, we've gotten nearly ten inches of snow and lost power once more. It's been snowing lightly and steadily nearly everyday. Everyone we meet and tell that we're looking to buy a house at the 3000+ elevation, always responds, "You're going to get a lot of snow up there." We didn't exactly believe them until now. Yup, totally true. The snow is here, and from the looks of it, it's here to stay. So, now we get to see two of our favorite things together, mushrooms and snow, how lucky is that? And finally, Roger decided since he wouldn't have surgery no matter what the tests revealed, he wouldn't reschedule the MRI anyway. All is well in our very snowy white world.


  1. living at 6800 feet we just got about 60 inches last week. ( we share the mountain with Jim and Peggy)

  2. I've had 3 rides through the tunnel now; I slept through 2 of them. The only time they injected dye was in my arm to circulate, which wouldn't have been a big deal if the rookie trying to stick me hadn't tried 3 times and missed all 3. When the nurse overheard him telling me it was all my fault because I was overweight, she fired him, stuck my other arm on the first try and things were fine.

    That said, I'm not sure I wouldn't have done exactly the same thing you did when they started talking about long needles into the joint...they might have had to put me out for that! (I'll say most likely, as a matter of fact!)

    If you're going to move up there check into a set of Bridgestone Blizzak (dedicated) winter tires. I had a set of LM-50's I bought for Dottie's Neon the first winter she had it; though we traded it they are going into their 7th winter on my son's 03 Neon. You can't run them in the summer as they are much too soft and sticky, but here we would put them on around Thanksgiving and pull them in late March.

    If you go to you can read reviews and also get prices, mounted, balanced and delivered to your door. I couldn't buy them locally for what they delivered them for and still got lifetime balance and road hazard!

    Thinking of you both!


  3. a lot of adversity in this story! Man vs. Nature, Man vs. MRI and vasovagal syncope, Man vs. Cost Containment!

    Always a good question to ask before a test - will this affect treatment? Best of luck with the healing process, whatever you decide.

  4. Hi Robin and Roger ...
    Those photos are just beautiful! Snow and excitement trying to get home in it -- that's life (very occasionally) at 3,000 feet. Here in Camino we're at 3,200, and while we had two days of snow, we ended up with only about 5 inches. Then it rained and rained and all melted away. We've lived here for 11 years now; the longest the snow has stayed is about four days...

    Roger - glad to know you came through the MRI just fine, even if you did decide to cancel another one. Sounds like you did the best thing for you. Here's hoping your back's feeling better soon, too...