twisting in the tube

from my office window, i can watch as the sun comes up behind my house, and slowly, like a curtain being lowered, illuminates a wonderful panorama of fall color in the trees. starting with the very tops of the tallest branches, against a backdrop of, at least this morning, of pale blue sky and steel gray clouds, the light gradually working its way down into the little pocket of cleared space, where the trees that have since become fodder for my fireplace used to stand, it’s a grand spectacle, made more so by the explosive colors of fall. although most of the trees are oaks, which means that the leaves are mostly brown and gold, there are a few young maples scattered around, providing some reds and bright yellows to the mix. there is one maple that has survived, quite by chance, being squashed by larger trees being felled around it, sitting right in the middle of the clearing, illuminating spectacularly in its turn. i’m having a few friends over in a few weeks who, along with my prodigal son, will be taking down a few trees at the outside periphery of this clearing to provide firewood for next winter. i will ask them to clear out a grove of small white pines that surround and appear to be strangling my little maple. i will ask them to drop the trees, if at all possible, anywhere but my little maple – and of, course, my deck. anyway, i love fall for this reason, one last explosion of color  before the black and white of winter, which has it’s own and quite different beauty.

i took a trip inside the magic magnetic tube (or MRI, for those unfamiliar with the device) yesterday  so my neuro can have a look-see inside my skull and hopefully find at least something still in there besides swiss cheese. the last time i had been on this carnival ride, the long suffering techs got quite exasperated by my leg spasms, which only come on when i am in a prone, relaxed position, and which are completely involuntary. she had to keep stopping the scan and gently asking me to stop twitching. i tried to explain that it was out of my control, which didn’t seem to appease her.

so yesterday, i cane to the MRI site dosed up with clonazepam, which i usually take at night to ward off those leg spasms. i reminded the techs that i was the guy with the leg spasms, and that, if they thought it would work, they were welcomed to strap me down. they tied a sheet loosely around my ankles – i told them to tie it at tightly as they wanted. (i had thought that the machine would be equipped with seat-belt-like restraints, usually reserved for people with far less capacity to be still, but no.) the sheet didn’t really work, so we used the emergency call button which is provided for the patient to call for call for escape from the tube if panic sets in. they asked my to squeeze it when i felt a spasm coming on, so they could pause the scan for the few seconds my leg was jumping. they said it seemed to work, but next time i’m going to suggest either an inflatable leg cast and/or wrapping my leg and the MRI table with duct tape. or hiring someone come  in and sit on my legs.

the sun has just about reached the little maple, and sky has cleared to a cloudless blue. my only complaint is that i want to be OUT THERE, wandering the fall forest, watching the seasonal changes from up close. but i am restricted, by a gradually declining ability to walk,  to sitting at the window was an observer. for now, it has to be enough. but that is an issue to be discussed in another post.

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