Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Monday, February 2, 2004 8:00 AM

MRI's on Super Bowl Sunday?

The neurologist finds no active reflexes on the right side when he checks. None at all. The left side is fine, but the right side shows no detectable reflexes. He orders the appropriate MRI and EMG tests to be done and now more waiting will occur for the approval as well as the appointments.

I continue the early morning walks, extra fruit (for the anti-inflammatory enzymes), extra vegetables and low fat (to minimize inflammatory compounds in my diet), moderate cycling and lifting, and other processes to minimize free radical production. What else can I do?

On Wednesday I receive a telephone call from the medical imaging center than previously performed my doppler ultrasound scan as they say, "We received your approval to do an MRI and we want to schedule a time to do it." I'm in a state of shock that somebody actually called me with approval rather than receiving something weeks later in the postal mail. But I'm shocked even more when they want me to come in on Super Bowl Sunday for an MRI. But I accept when I realize that I'll be done prior to the beginning of the game. And I ask, "Do I have to bring my own earplugs?"

On Wednesday I cycle to work early in the morning before it is light out. Because it gets dark early, I jump on the train with my bicycle in order to go home instead of dangerously riding home in the dark. (Yes I have a permit for taking the bicycle on the train.) When I transfer from the green line to the blue line a young man gets on the train, sits down in a chair, and starts a conversation with a lady across the aisle from him. He starts with, "This is so weird - seeing all of the lights and things. This is so weird." And he continues with, "I've been away for a while so I'm just getting used to all of this stuff again." When asked where he's been, he responds with, "I was in prison. For about a year and a half." Nobody asks why he was in prison and I'm not about to. And then he continues on with some other luxuries that we have on the outside. "It's so weird to look at yourself in a real mirror. In prison they have those metal mirrors that won't break. And you can't really see what you look like." He uses the word "weird" a lot during his conversation. He gets off the train one stop before I do.

I continue the anti-inflammation campaign on Thursday and Friday. I relax on Friday night as Person N_V goes out with a friend from work.

When I wake up on Saturday morning Person N_V has not come home yet. I get out for a good almost 30 mile ride and continue on with picking up prescription drugs (for fighting inflammation) as well as other errands. When I get home Person N_V is sleeping, so I mow the lawn, feed the roses, and make the call to the veterinarian. I manage to choke out, "Can I bring in my 16 year old golden retriever to". That's as far as I can get. The receptionist waits for me to finish the sentence, but after 20 seconds she says they can squeeze me in just before closing time. I finish mowing the lawn as waves of tears creep up on me.

Nopey knows that it is time. On his final day I let him run around the neighborhood (more like walk around and/or stand around) as I mow the lawn and then we share some chocolate chips cookies as he lays on the kitchen floor. Lately he has been tipping over and been unable to get up at all. Sometimes when he tips over he has an accident all over himself and/or throws up. We both know that it is time. Possibly a little bit overdue, but it is now time.

Person N_V sleeps away as I cover the seats in plastic, blankets, and towels in case Nopey has an accident on the way to the veterinarian. But Person N_V helps me lift Nopey in his blanket into the car. I get Nopey out of the car and let him lay on the blanket on the pavement in the parking lot as I go in and ask for a stretcher and some help bringing Nopey in. After the required examination, the veterinarian says that Nopey has a very strong heart, but, as I know she is going to say, he has terrible arthritis and a tumor in his privates. I don't add in about his hearing loss or night blindness, but I just give the nod and the veterinarian starts the proceedings.

Nopey is taken away as they try to get a catheter into a front leg vein. But, failing that, they put one on the back leg and return him to the room that I am in. After I give Nopey the speech, the veterinarian does the injection. After about 30 seconds Nopey's eyes start to glaze over, he takes one last breath, and he leaves this world for a world where he has good hips again. The veterinarian gives a listen with the stethoscope and says, "He's gone". I continue to pet Nopey and give him more speech about the world that he is going to. And then I leave.

Nopey writes his final diary entry next.

Ray and that other guy picking me up and putting me in the car. Hey now, this is a nice car! Why haven't I ridden in this one before? Ray turns around regularly and pats me on the head during the trip. I wish that he would just watch the road so that we don't hit anything. I lay in the parking lot while Ray goes away for a while. Shortly thereafter some people come out with a stretcher and give me a ride into the hospital. Good thing - I'm not feeling up to walking today. The lady in white comes over and pokes and prods me and says something to Ray. Then they try to poke me in the front legs and it hurts, but they keep doing it. Finally they poke me in a rear leg and put me back in the room with Ray. When Ray sees me he points at me and says, "I see the Beast", as he's been doing lately. After a minute or two Ray is saying something to me as I'm getting sleepy. It sounds like he's saying that when I wake up I'm going to have good hips again. I sure hope so because I owe that neighbor dog a beating. But I'm getting sleepy so I'll just go sleep now and run around on the new hips later.

I'm in a daze the rest of Saturday. Occasionally the tears will well up and some may come out.

On Sunday I get out for a bicycle ride. I'm headed towards the aquarium when I turn around and say, "I should go ride near the parts of the LA river that Nopey used to run at". So I ride past "his" part and I visually point out the trees that I would hide from Nopey behind, the places in the river that Nopey usually went to cool off, and other points of interest. There are more tears during this ride.

After a shower I head for the imaging center to have an MRI done. (Yes, they do work on Sundays!) I bring my own ear plugs and close my eyes for the entire time in the tube - I don't want to think about claustrophobia or anything. I'm thinking that the MRI is about halfway done when they start reeling me out. "That's it? That's 20 minuts already?" I hope that they find the L2, L3, or L4 problems that the neurologist expects to find.

I watch the Super Bowl and get out for a walk afterwards. Of course I run into the neighbor with two dogs and half to tell him what happened. I'm in bed near 10 pm as I want this weekend to end.