Saturday, August 9, 2008

I'm that person who holds the line up

You've seen the commercial. Everything's moving at the speed of light with customers doing a synchronized dance around the store and smoothly moving through the checkout by swiping their credit card thingie...

I'm the one who makes the music come to a stop and everyone in line has a chain reaction rear-ender accident -- because I'm the one who has to write a check. I almost forgot HOW to write a check since I opened my account 2 years ago and have never even finished the first book of checks because there was no need to write one since I got the debit card for the account, too.

I have no choice. I apologize if you find that I'm in front of you fumbly farting around trying to get to a blank check and looking for a pen. I hate those people and now I are one.

I took my MRI'd debit card to the bank and they gave me the bad news. They got the test results back from the radiologist and my card is DEAD. I was beside myself. He had his whole life ahead of him, my debit card did, but he was struck down in his prime, and there's just no reason why it should be that way. I mourn him terribly.

His Uncle Check Book is living in the olden days and I hate lugging that clunky sucker around. I have to keep hearing his stories about "in my day, before there WERE any ATM contraptions, everyone had to know how to write and carry a pen!" Sheesh!

Anyhow, the people at my bank were beside themselves with hysteria. I told the death by MRI story to one lady and she had to gather all the other bank employees to hear it all over again. It was a slow day at the bank. I was their only customer at the time. Apparently there's not much need for people to go into the bank any more. Seems they are all out swiping their debit cards and never giving a second thought to their magnetic strip that is the single thin line that separates them from living the retro horror story that my life has become. The poor sots in the dark cave-like space of the bank's interior actually seemed starved for outside contact.

I'm really glad that I could serve my fellow citizens by uplifting the spirits of the bank employees and leaving them with a grin on their faces that was equal and opposite to the frown on mine. 7-10 days to replace the card?? Are they serious? I mean, they have that scanny thingie right there on the desk so they can change the pin. Can't they get the dude behind the curtain to give my card a brain again?

Oh well. It's really put a damper on my spending habits because I hate using checks so maybe it's a good thing. I'll have plenty of cash built up in the account when I get the new card and have to go break it in with a mad swiping frenzy.

NOTE TO SELF: Remember NOT to leave cards in pocket at next MRI. (I know it is a stretch to think I will remember this for a year, but maybe the agony of check writing will sufficiently warp my psyche so that I cannot forget).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Don't always believe the MRI technician...

...when she says you are fine from the waist down.

Yesterday, as part of my decathlon grand finale clinical trial VISIT NUMBER 10, I had to have a brain MRI. The tech told me I was fine. Just remove any mouth jewelry (??? like I have any!) and earrings or necklaces or bobby pins, etc. I had none so I was good to go.

Last time I recall the lady saying I needed to remove my underwire bra. This time I asked about it and she said "Nah, that's too far away from where we will be shooting." So it never occured to me to worry about the contents of my jean pockets which are still a good distance from my underwire bra thankfully. Gravity hasn't had it's way with me to that degree ... yet.

She puts me in there and goes out the door to the other side of the glass. Before it ever winds up like a jet taking off and sounds like sneakers in a dryer, I am feeling a tug on my pocket. I pat my pocket and realize my keys have come alive and are trying to make a break for it through the cloth prison of my jeans. I reach inside my pocket and grab them by the fob. Aiding and abetting, I free them from their jean prison so I could show the tech that my keys were escaping.

No sooner were they loose than they made a beeline for freedom, shooting straight up out of my hand. They were caught by the prison guard magnets of the MRI machine and were held securly until the correctional officer MRI technician came rushing in to collar them and escort them to solitary confinement in the locker outside.

She asked if I was holding anything else back like a cell phone or anything. I said "No, but I have these." I reached in my back pocket and pulled out my credit card, my debit card and my driver's license. I waved them around so she was sure to see them and, apparently, so that the magnets could have their way with them.

Tonite I just got back from the grocery store where the ATM machine told me that "Your card cannot be read. Please try another card." Like I have a deck of 52 in my pocket or something. Good thing I took my checkbook with me, and even better that there was money in that account. We get to eat for another day! YAY!

Anyhow, the MRI debacle was the highlight of the show yesterday. The rest was rather mundane. I left the house at 7am and didn't get home until after 7pm. I started out with the Pulmonary Function Test and the tech is the same one I always have. We finished in 20 minutes and he said I was getting better at it because we got done so fast. I told him I'd had lots of practice breathing since the last time I saw him. I told him I even practiced in my sleep.

Then it was across the street to the towers to have bloodwork, EKG, peg test, numbers test, etc. I screwed up the numbers test the same way I always do...I aced the practice with perfection, but sat midway through the 60 number test like a drooling idiot just listening to the guy spout 7's and 9's again.

Then came the EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Scale) testing. The neuro I had was brand new. The one I had the last two times had finally completed his fellowship and had a practice now, but he had trained the new "fellow". As fellows go, he was quite likable and more importantly, very conscientious of his job. Very thorough in every aspect of the test. Only thing is, at the end he actually told me that my score had improved and I'm not sure he's allowed to do that. I don't have a clue what my score is, but it's got to be better than 10 because the fact that I aced the breathing test proves I'm not dead. I just don't know how close to 1 I am.

Then there was the CT, the MRI, the OCT and the eye exam. It all culminated in a 20 second visit with the neuro who swooped in, did a couple neuro-esque moves on me, signed a paper, asked if I wanted to be in the extension, said "Great!" when I said yes, and then flew out the door all in one graceful fluid motion.

I felt like asking if that was a bird or a plane or Super Neuro. As long as it wasn't Under Dog, I'm cool with it.

I signed the paperwork to go into the extension phase without even reading them. It would have been impossible anyhow because my eyes were so dilated from the eye exam that she had to point to the line for me to sign a couple of times because it all blurred together with the surrounding type.

I'm not too concerned because I already know someone died and someone else was in a coma. I still pop my little pill every morning knowing that if I didn't I would be a whole lot worse off. I know because I was. They'll take my Fingolimod from me when they pry it from my cold dead hand...hopefully not any time soon, tho.

All in all, I can't say as I have ever experienced quite the whirlwind of exams that I did yesterday. Everything was fast, fast, fast. Everyone was efficient and quick. The eye exam took the longest because she had to squeeze me in between other patients, but whenever she WAS with me it was fast and efficient. It was the 3 hours of waiting that went slow.

I did the 500meter walk of the EDSS in 11 min. which I am told by a certain Chickie is roughly 2 mph or normal walking speed for most people. I'm ecstatic about that!

So everything's looking good except for the bad news about my credit cards being wiped out, and you'll be stuck with my meandering shenanigans for at least another year while I cover the extension phase.

To infinity and beyond!