Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MR... I am not able.

I've always thought OHSU was pretty, but approaching it today it looked overwhelming.
The feeling was remarkably similar to audition anxiety without the excitement or pretty music.
Today was awful. FangFang was a champ and everything went well. She was sedated with gas initially and didn’t even have to have a needle stick while conscious, which was a big help.

But it was still awful.
A kid in the next room started crying one second before this picture.
This is her "Um, no." face.

As soon as her body stopped squirming and her brief crying silenced under the little teardrop-shaped mask, I was told to come back in an hour. I walked out into the hallway and realized I was about to completely lose control of my emotions. It felt like nausea of the psyche. It sucked.

I headed for a stairwell and walked away from any voices. I wasn’t aware where I was in the massive OHSU industrial complex or what direction I took, so I was thankful I ended up taking the most direct route possible out of the building. The perfect fall Portland air felt like a solid object and I could not suck enough in. I was actually worried somebody would see or hear me freaking out and make me submit to a “what the haystack is your problem” exam. I remember worrying how much that might add toward our deductible and whether it would make me late for her waking up.

Breathing in and out seemed to do the trick, and my moment of panicked humiliation eventually ended.

I think two things caused it. One, and this may be a bit of a fruit-loop idea, but it was as if my body was convinced it had watched Primrose die. Like if you are watching some crappy movie with too much hand-held camera and it makes you motion-sick even though you know it’s not real, or if the sight of blood makes you faint even though you aren’t frightened. The thought of losing her was so terrifying, I know now there is nothing left for me to hold back in terms of bonding, clinging, investing, wrapping up in her. 

Two, I am like a huge outdated left-on video-phone walking through that stupid place filling up with images until I can no longer function. The people I see stick with me. There was a family there. The mom was missing a large part of her face (cancer?) and she and another daughter were there with a young son who was waking from sedation. In the waiting area I overheard as another mom was told the MRI of her daughter’s brain went well and they would soon have more information about her cancer. This second part, the continually shocked over-sensitive part, I am ashamed of. It proves that I allow myself to live in denial that these things overtake people’s lives on a regular basis. Why do I get to assume that luxury? I am sorry about that.

Imagining any of those things happening to our family points out the limits of my faith as surely as a flashlight in a cavern. (A weak flashlight, a cramped cavern.) And worse, after today I confess that I truly, strongly hope that those limits are not forced to expand despite all those other times I nobly prayed they would. People are tested, broken, ground into dust. So many we’ve known still display their faith in a God of grace. Thank God for that, and for them.

We should have results from the MRI tomorrow, and then I need to sign the consents to send them along to the specialist in Cincinnati. Those are the kind of tasks I can handle. 

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