It was a long tunnel. I was going to the light.

And the jack-hammers banging. Where were we? Oh, yes. I had just had an MRI on my brain and was waiting for the results. I guess it doesn’t take a therapist to interpret how it was that I lost my cell phone that I had been carefully clutching all day right when the doctor was due to call to discuss the results.

I had the MRI early in the morning just before leaving Florida for the mountain house where we are now until the end of the year. I had it because I’ve had some unilateral hearing loss in one ear that, upon further investigation, made the neurologist (a whiney little guy who mumbled into his left shoulder words like “tumor”  and “brain scan” while I kept saying, “what? huh? WHAT?”) think that he would like to see what was going on in the far reaches of my brain. MRIs of your brain are miserable hour-long affairs that don’t hurt at all, beyond the needle prick of dye being injected but they surely are uncomfortable. Don’t move, don’t move, don’t move, don’t blink, don’t lick your lips, don’t move and oh, btw, don’t mind the claustrophobia. I wasn’t even going to get the test because I like living in complete and total denial when it comes to things like the possibility of a brain tumor, but then we got notice that our insurance deductible for 2011 is 5000.00 per year. Per person. I was apoplectic.

Eventually I found my phone and sure enough, had missed the call, but finally my doc and I connected. The MRI gives not a single hint as to why my hearing has gone caflooey on the right side- no tumor there, nothing on the cranial nerve that had the neurologist concerned, sinuses are clear. However. About those two areas of demyelination in the left cerebral hemisphere…WHAT? HUH? Apparently those need explaining. There are several sort of semi-alarming possibilities so I have another appointment in January. Maybe. Actually, I don’t need to go to the doctor because I know exactly what they are. One is the spot that keeps me from finishing sentences and the other is the spot that makes it so I can’t remember which movie I saw last week. Frankly, this is not new news and I’ve been living in this slightly adulpated state forever, just ask my children and there is no other symptomatology whatsoever. Except for the punctuation problem. This is again a reminder of why my father’s advice was good: If you get sick, make yourself well again (preferably by working harder). If you think you might be sick, avoid doctors at all cost.

So now, as it stands, I’m partially deaf and totally blind on the right side. I was considering calling one of those social security disability claim lawyers on afternoon television but instead I ordered Oliver Sacks new book, The Mind’s Eye. He writes about the resilient brain and the process of compensation, how people make up for what they have lost. He’s written several other interesting books that I’ve read, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat but this one he wrote after, fairly recently, losing his vision in one eye. I wonder if he’s noticed yet that no matter how well his brain finds ways to compensate for no depth perception or peripheral vision, he will never be able to appreciate those dot pictures they sell at the mall. If he wants, I can give him a tip on how to cheat the peripheral vision part of the driver’s license test. I can also tell him that, should his spouse snore inordinately loud, diminished hearing in one ear has its benefits. Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading the book with my one good eye.

I have some other news to share. Our grandbaby is here to visit. Kellan is our first; he is Rich’s Anna’s 3 month old. This I will share in pictures. And you’ll be either jealous or really happy for us or both.

I tidied up the house, baked the cookies and put up the tree so there would be lights and shiny things to look at…

I made up the guest room, including the crib that is now holding a fifth generation.

And Rich went to the airport to pick them up and this is how happy he is. (This photo makes me all teary happy. Both eyes, incidentally, cry.)

And it’s a whole new world with so many amazing and wonderful things to see.

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17 responses to “It was a long tunnel. I was going to the light.

  1. Well, how do I put this? I am both incredibly happy for your first grandchild’s visit – what a cutie! And also sad about your ailments. My childhood best friend died a year ago of brain cancer and that brought up all kinds of yukky stuff. I wish you well. Think positively – I’m a big believer in that. And in denial. That’s usually the path I take.
    Your home is lovely. I have a favorite photo of my son at 3 months and his grandpa holding him when they visited us for Christmas that year. My father in law died a few months later. Geez. More dark flashes.
    I’ll quit now. Maybe there’s something good on the shopping channel.

  2. Can I be both–jealous? and really happy for you?

    Hang in there–I have heard it said that growing old(er) is not for the faint hearted. Oh yes.
    What? Eh? Never mind.

    Take your father’s advice–HEAL.

  3. Vicki, I hope that you will find out quickly what is causing the symptoms and that it will be an easy explanation and that they will abate soon. Do keep us posted. I’ll be thinking of you, my friend.

    The baby is beautiful and I love his name. I wish I had known of that name when I named my son. I see his resemblance to Rich in the forehead area. They must both be very, very smart!

    Your home is lovely.

  4. What a sweet, sweet picture of Rich and Kellan. Enjoy the time with him! Glad that there is no tumor, praying the cause for your hearing loss is something easily fixed.

  5. What a beautiful little boy, and what fun you will all have as grandparents… you can send them home with their mom and dad after all the fun! 😉

    Hope they can figure out what is going on although I sort of agree with you father in certain cases… avoid doctors. But if you avoid them like my mom has with her swollen hand and red nodule on her finger and her history of a gout attack… well then, your daughter might just call the doctor for you. So get it looked at and taken care of the best you can.

  6. Vicki,
    This is such a nice post. It’s life splendid in its mixture wonderful and challenging. Congratulations on the former and I wish you healing for the latter.
    Aren’t MRI a trip? I’ve dertermined they are like being wedged in a culvert with a crew of jackhammers working above.
    Oliver Sacks has some really good insights. I could give you a big list of books that have given help and encouragement towards getting the brain regain things thought lost forever. Your attitude is inspiring to me.
    I wish you all the luck and joy in dealing with all of this.

  7. Love and prayers, Vicki. I think you are JUST fine! xoxo

  8. May you find some answers in that old noggin’ of yours!

    Your grandson is adorable – I have recently been informed that I will be a grandmother this summer (first time) so I can feel your excitement leaping off the screen!

    Good times to help balance the icky things

  9. PS Who cares if you are deaf and blind if you can wrestle that tall live Christmas tree into a stand singlehandely. You are my hero!

  10. Actually, Keith (or am I allowed to call you HBB?)- you are MY hero. I stand in awe of your survival and recovery. I also hope that if I ever had to go through what you’ve been through, I would find my partner as loving and dedicated and faithful and patient and stubbornly determined to make things work as Keri. I suspect I have that in Rich, but so far, he certainly hasn’t signed on for Friday night grocery shopping dates. 😉

  11. Well, I was dismayed to hear that you were looking for your phone to hear from a Dr. (Aller family denial) but in a sense I am glad you found it, now you have the answer/answers. Your grandchild is beautiful and I know you will enjoy every precious moment you have, they are even more fun as they get older. I though my nephews were the best at ages 2-3, however I love them more now that they are fathers and husbands. Your house is beautiful and one that I could move into tomorrow. Have a joyous Christmas and a blessings for a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

  12. That baby is beautiful.

    As is the blue in the guest bedroom.

    I hope the hearing issue improves. No, that sounds so lame … I just want you to be okay, okay?

  13. The picture of Rich and Kellan is perfect, and perfectly beautiful. Mazel Tov!

    Hang in there, and don’t let the docs get you down.

  14. Thanking God that all is well… you should have told me!!! We could have waited for results together =). I did not like the experience one bit, they oopsed on the needle on me OUCH!
    And that Grandbaby… WOW how amazing!!!! I am so happy for you and Rich, nothing greater in this world than a sweet, sweet baby!
    Love to you both xoxo

  15. I am totally jealous! And totally happy for you grandparents. My kids are too “busy” with their lives to provide me a treasure like that! I’m glad you are sharing yours.

    No “maybe” about seeing the doctor. March yourself right back! I’ll keep thinking positive thoughts for you.

  16. What a wonderful family resemblance twixt Rich and Kellan. For babies I celebrate for you, for dodgy mri’s not so much.

  17. Just stopping by to wish you a happy holiday season. Such a beautiful grandson. Can’t wait to get mine (two more months). My non-medical opiniion is that your ailments are stress related. You just had too much going on this year–moving, building, travel, bears and all Stress can cause a lot, that’s what I hear.

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