Check Engine

Engine close-up, by Maria Eklind on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons
Engine close-up, by Maria Eklind on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

My brain is still racing, even on the last day of 1.5 steroid pills. Tomorrow I’m down to one a day until my MRI next week! Yay! The nurse called to give me instructions for the MRI. I show up at the cancer center at 9. I need to not have any metal in my body since the last MRI. (Pretty sure that is a no.) I DO NOT HAVE TO FAST. I DON’T NEED TO FAST. THIS WILL BE A BREEZE.

And the best thing, near-instant gratification. I’ll have the MRI, go for a lunch break, and come back at 1 pm with J, for a word with Dr. P. Of course, that word will include my marching orders and tell me how soon I’m getting those gamma rays pointed at my brain. I’m starting to worry about this old brain. I know the risk of the surgery is quite minimal, but what if all this writing suddenly… leaves me? I find myself composing even as I’m walking down the street, right now. What if I forget a third of my vocabulary because the laser goes astray? Or what if I don’t like The Mekons anymore, post-op? (Impossible.)

I think I sorted out Young J’s allergy agony this morning with some eye drops, and found a good allergist we’ll return to after the crisis for a comprehensive set of tests. I was happy to spend the morning with Young J. I got him a doughnut after the doctor’s visit. I am proud to say I did not also get myself a doughnut.

Earlier, while we’d waited for the (woman) doctor to see him, and he shifted around, nervous about the possibility of getting a shot, out of the blue he told me he prefers women doctors. He hasn’t had much experience with male doctors (except for his male dentist, who sings to him). He remembered the name Elizabeth Blackwell, and he actually said, “We owe her a debt of gratitude!” This kid. THIS KID.

Last night I stayed up irresponsibly late. Until almost 1 a.m. I’d taken my nighttime knockout trio (Ativan-Benadryl-melatonin) and then somehow forgot to just stop thinking. I’d had the best evening with the boys – J was out playing basketball and even though they got to bed late it didn’t really matter. I just loved them so hard. I wasn’t emotional at all, just present with them and soaking up their love.

Then it was time to sing their lullaby (I’ve tried and cannot find a more decent version on YouTube – this one is a little creepy). I’ve sung it thousands of times now. I started and I noticed that my voice was sounding much better now that I’m tapering off the steroids. Two weeks ago it cracked a lot and I was almost singing in a whisper. Last night, my brain played another nasty trick, though, and while I sang I got to thinking, “I should record this for the boys. Just in case. In case there comes a time when I can’t sing it to them anymore.” And then I couldn’t keep singing, I started crying right away and I had to tell the boys it was because I was so happy I’d gotten to spend the evening with them, and that I am finally feeling better and am so relieved.

I’m not averse to being overtaken by the enormity of what is happening to me. I accept it. It’s not all sarcasm and cynicism around here, especially at night, before bed, when I’m talking with J.

I just wish this particularly heartstring-yanking moment would have waited until my song was done, the anti-bad dream spray from the empty spray bottle was sprayed in every corner Young A instructed me to spray, and I’d closed their door for the night.

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