I met a very sweet lady yesterday at the Surgery Center. I was there to have an MRI /contrast done and she was there to have some injections in her back. Bless her heart, she told me she was almost 85 years old and that her birthday is in December. “It went by fast,” she said with a thick Cajun accent. She was a beautiful woman, elegant and charming. Her little boots were the exact color of her soft velour pants, the rich burgundy deepened the tones of her lively orange hair, tightly curled and sprayed stiff.
We talked a bit, neither of us knowing that the outcome from our respective procedures would not be what either of us expected. The poor thing told me about the trouble she had with her back. “Me, I have to use a cane to walk now. I never did that before but now I do. My son, he helps me but I don’t like that, no.” Clearly, she was an independent woman who made her own decisions, and she wasn’t crazy about asking anybody for help. Frisky, even. I could see it in her sparkly blue eyes. Her procedure was before mine and she was wheeled away carrying her cane on her lap, pointed ahead like she was leading a charge. It seemed appropriate. I was still sitting there after she had her injections but the poor little thing wasn’t so spunky anymore. She looked broken as they wheeled her past my seat in the waiting room. She gave me an eye-rolling look and screwed up her pale face to indicate it was not an easy procedure to endure.
Then it was my turn to be led away. Soon, I discovered that an MRI w/contrast wasn’t the easy peezy procedure I thought it would be. I don’t know, call me crazy but I thought they would just give me a little IV or something to introduce the contrast, but noooooo. When an anesthesiologist entered the room, I thought ‘uh-oh, what’s fixin’ to happen here?’ Trust me, I found out. It turns out he was there to give me a deadening medication in my shoulder joint before he could inject the contrast. It would have been nice if he waited for the Novocain to take effect before continuing. Then he took a bigger-than-should-be-allowed needle and syringe and, using a tv monitor, guided the needle into the empty spaces inside my shoulder joint. He warned me that there would be a ‘little pressure’ before he injected. Geez, glad I was prepared for that. I felt like my shoulder socket would explode. Finally, I was ready for the actual MRI, which was uneventful. I kept my eyes closed and concentrated on my breathing while praying for everybody I could think of. Me and small spaces don’t get along well. I’m a big person. I like room to breathe. Closing my eyes was a good idea and later I was proud of myself for not giving in to the temptation to open my eyes. I figured nobody in attendance wanted to see a woman of my age and stature crying and clawing to shed the tunnel in which I was a prisoner. I’m sure that would have happened if I would have opened my eyes. Before long, the test was over and I was allowed to go back to the dressing room to change into my clothes. As soon as I came out, the little Cajun lady was wheeled past me, returning to her little cubicle. My heart was nicked a little bit because I could see she had been crying. “Me, I can’t feel my legs, cher, I don’t feel nuttin’. ” Two nurses and a doctor were expedient to reassure her that sometimes that happened with her type of procedure but it would pass. But you know you can’t tell a little Cajun lady anything she doesn’t want to hear, especially when she has been calling the shots for most of her 84 11/12ths years. She wouldn’t have it and set up such a commotion everyone in the front waiting room knew something was going on. By the time I left, she was sitting up in the stretcher wielding her cane at anyone who managed to get within a few feet of her. “Mai,” she said. “don’t you get near me again! Get back, get back cher I’ll poke you, I will!” Again, poor thing, I would have really felt bad for her if she hadn’t winked at me slyly. It seems she would still be calling the shots. She was going to make them pay for her numb legs in the only way she could. By golly, she did too. I saw an aide go into her partition with a tray of breakfast and some good hot coffee. There’s no telling what else that old gal had them do for her before she went home! I really liked that about her. She knew she probably wasn’t as sprite as she used to be but she definitely was in control. You gotta respect her for that, right?