Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rain, Rain

Not even the rain can dampen my spirits today. After sitting through a medical test that I couldn't even tell you about without blushing (or laughing/crying like a 3-year-old, depending on my particular mood), I just had a wonderfully good-natured and patient doctor tell me that my nerves are trying to regenerate. I didn't even know that's what the test was supposed to determine, which is probably a good thing. As I was waiting for this test the last 4 weeks, I don't know if I could have handled the possibility of getting the news that my nerves were done recovering whatever they were going to recover. In any case, here are the thoughts running through my head…

Hope is powerful. It's also very personal and very public at the same time. It's hard to extricate your hope from the words and actions of others. And some days that makes me mad. I wish I could put my hope in a little Ziploc bag and carry it around with me and not let anyone else touch it. But people do. Doctors look at you in a certain way, or let a certain tone creep into their voice, and just like that, your precious hope shrivels and hides somewhere. Then, when you can't seem to find your hope because it's mixed in with all the other shit that you throw in your purse and it gets lost in the clutter of your life, someone you love looks at you just the right way, or says just the right thing, or says nothing at all and just holds you in his long, skinny arms and the hope just spills out all over the place.

So today my hope was buoyed by a doctor who said my nerves are trying to stick with me, although their extended vacation might last another year. Lucky them. They might also be a bit different when they do come back. Although I wish I could be strong and stay hopeful all on my own, I'll still take the help. I also know that investing in hope is a little risky. Even as I was riding the hope high on the drive home from the doctor's office, I was already telling myself to be realistic. Even so, I'm willing to put my money on hope. I don't have much to lose.

Other thoughts…I was hooked up to some sort of machine (looked like a plain old computer to me) and thank goodness I couldn't see what was going on, but apparently it involved metal plates, needles, electrodes, and lots of wires. The historian of science in me couldn't help but get a chuckle out of the whole get up. In 100 years will people laugh at my electromyography studies the way we laugh at the mesmerism and animal magnetism practitioners of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? Obviously I don't think so, but it's easy to find the humor in medical gadgets, and gadgets in general, I suppose.

Throughout the procedure, I was facing away from the doctor and the gadget. I was also (thank goodness), totally unable to feel the procedure (and pity the souls who aren't so lucky). So, my only proof that anything was actually happening was the strange noises the machine made. The thought crossed my mind once or twice that the doctor might simply be sitting behind me, trying to dial in a radio station, getting only static, and popping some popcorn.

It is strange how quickly our realities can change. It happens to all of us at some point: One day you're sitting in a situation you never could have dreamed of a few weeks or months ago. Sometimes those situations are fantastic, sometimes not so much, but thank goodness you have the right to laugh either way.