It begins with flashing lights. Always on the left side of my field of vision. I can’t read. I can’t see clearly. I rub close my eyes. If I can get to the Tylenol, I take a couple. And if possible, I lie down. The lights flash across my forehead, so to speak, from left to right. In a half hour they are gone. And I can see again. Afterwards, I have a headache, sometimes mild, sometimes a little stronger.

The episodes were increasing, from maybe once or twice at most a year, to a recent series of four of them. One night I had such a pain in my head, I woke up, turned over and then it went away. Lately I have a low-grade headache that comes and goes during the day, never strong enough to require Tylenol, however.

What is going on? I go to the doctor to find out. He tells me we better have a look. I go to the MRI lab. I read about the procedure. “Our unique Philips Gemini GXL PET/CT system has both PET and multi-slice CT components….” “…multi-slice…?” Good grief, did I bargain for this?

What is PET? I read on. “PET (Positron Emission Tomography) is a powerful diagnostic tool…” I’m sure. What is CT? “CT stands for Computed Tomography.”  I am convinced. “CT is non-invasive, painless and relatively fast.” I remain hopeful.

I am laid out flat, inserted into a cylinder and then the music begins—bam, bam, bam; boom, boom, boom, drilling and more drilling, beep, beep, beep, drum rolls, squeaks, rat-ta-tat tats—again and again in progressive waves for forty five minutes.

Before it begins I am asked if I want to watch TV. Sure I say. So there I lay watching CNN and they are blasting my head with this Schoenberg. How am I expected to hear Wolf Blitzer when they are pounding my head with Arnold Schoenberg?

I am told it is over. They hand me a CD of the results. I say, what is this for? So you can see the images. What will I be able to make of them? Well, you can take it to another physician one day if you need to. I know that is something I am going to have to do for the rest of my life anyway.

I go to the doctor. The report has arrived. There is no evidence of any “cerebellopontine angle lesion, although “mastoid disease is present and possible medial temporal lobe atrophy.” There is also a “mild vertebrobasilar dolichoectasia with slight chronic indentation of the ventral margin of the pons in the right paramedian location by the basilar artery.”

I am thrilled by the news, although can’t make heads or tails of it. It is suggested that I take some Tylenol. No more flashing lights, no more headaches. The wonders of placebos.


Stefanie said...

So does translated, does that mean you are ok?

Richard Katzev said...

Of course, I'm very fine. The experience was a year or so ago. I chanced upon my record in a file the other day.

Stefanie said...

Glad to hear it!

Richard Katzev said...

Me too! I am grateful for your concern.