I have a headache. Yes, I’ll admit that Sue frequently says I AM a headache. Pain in the neck is also near the top of her jocular euphemisms referencing my actions. Ironically, pain in the neck is, in fact, relevant on both sides of the metaphor.
Some time ago, I did begin experiencing some headaches which seemed to be linked to neck discomfort. Considering my birth on Halloween, I suspected a gremlin was practicing basketball dribbling in my cranial arena. At times, this gremlin invites some hobgoblins in with him to shoot some hoops. Imagine a microphone on the backboard at a basketball pre-game shoot-around.
When the crowd showed up for the game between the gremlins and poltergeists, I probably should have gone to an exorcist. But, my insurance wouldn’t cover it and my out-of-pocket money was actually out. So, I went to my personal physician. Neck pain…headache…I was referred to a physical therapist.
I intend no defamation of character for my favored therapist, yet she does always seem to jump for joy with a strange gleam in her eye when I walk in with an Rx. I fully expected she would utter the familiar pre-manipulation caveat; “This is probably gonna make you a bit sore, but it will improve eventually.”
As I sat on the edge of the rack (no stirrups or hand-cuffs, but…) , I wondered about the logic of massaging my neck muscles. I surmised it could drive even more gremlins up into my domed stadium — which at that moment the raucous crowd was silent. Though she was rubbing her palms together in anticipation of once again getting her hands on me, she began with questions to detail my symptoms.
Next to occur was exactly why I go to this particular therapist. She declined to attempt to relieve my headaches via manipulation of my neck muscles. Well. At least she recommended postponement. She recommended I consulted with a Neurologist.
Therapist, Doctor, Neurogist, Sue, and maybe even Ghost Busters, …but especially Sue, made recommendations Bottom line — I was quickly scheduled for a Carotid MRA with contrast (oh, yeah, I like the contrast rush), MRI, brain MRA, and a MRS (That was Sue peering in my ear for brain matter oozing out).
MRanything is unbelievably noisy. It’s hard to believe that we can launch a rocket to the moon with less blast-of noise than a Magnet Resonating in a tunnel. I’m practically deaf without my hearing aids. They plug my ears with expanding foam, wedge my head with sandbags over my ears and stuff the whole package into a football helmet with facemask and I still hear enough decibels to silence a jack hammer…hitting a manhole cover…in Times Square…on New Year’s Eve.
An hour and a half in that tunnel and still no one seems to be very clear on the cause of my symptoms, but an angiogram is next on the docket.
For those unfamiliar with an angiogram procedure — the Neurosurgeon rams a wire into my thigh, then snakes it through the arteries in my leg, circumventing the heart, and into my skull. This wire has Rod Serling’s ghost and Twilight Zone cameras and on the end. Belief it or not, there seems to be fingers in some portions of my brain’s vascular system. No pudgy bodies…just fingers.
From what the Neurologist said, if the MRI & MRA had only captured “pudgy bodies” — as in round balloon-like outcroppings of my arteries, he would continue to just monitor their growth. However, the aneurysms, which were first detected 4 years ago, have grown lengthwise (finger-like) rather than bulging uniformly. Ballooning aneurysms as small as mine are not of much concern. Fingers are.
Hopefully Rod Serling swimming through my blood stream pulling a camera wired to the surgeon’s TV will find the Gremlin’s fingers. I’ll gladly relinquish the Television-rights to a great Twilight Zone Halloween Story.