This week has been such a whirlwind that I forgot to mention my trip back to the neurosurgeon for yet another MRI on my back. There is still pain and the good doctor, Dr. F, wanted to make sure there were no "residual fragments" or "disk crumbs" back there pressing against the nerve that is sending pain up from my right leg, but nothing at all from that foot. So I went in for the MRI, which I did without xanax this time, by the way, which may have been a mistake. It wasn't too bad, but radiologists appear to be on some sort of quest to make MRIs more uncomfortable. Once you've had surgery, they have to inject you halfway through the procedure with some fluid that will help contrast the scar tissue. Halfway through she pulled me out of the tube, stuck a needle in me and then shoved me back in. I was basted. After that came the X-rays. I was X-rayed from the front and side, bending forward and arching back. Then I waited some more until I was granted an audience with the doctor who saw nothing in the MRI. Nothing. No herniated disk, nothing pressing against that long, useless nerve. I kept wanting to look closer, to get in there good with a magnifying lens, thinking maybe this is all stress-induced and that somewhere in that grainy, black and white footage there would be four, smirking, peanut butter-encrusted faces leering back at me. If not that, then dollar signs at least. But, alas, nothing. It makes me feel like the doctor thinks it's all in my head. Like I make up this pain as a way to get MRIs and spend three hours (THREE HOURS!) away from The Quartet or business or anything productive at all. But he did prescribe me a week's worth of steroids, which he says won't make me buff (buffer?), or help me win Le Tour de France, or get me kicked out of Major League Baseball (or become the all-time hits leader, whichever the case may be).
I'm thinking of self-medicating if nothing else works. Perhaps once a month I'll lie under my bed for 20 minutes, have Kristy stick me with a needle at the 10-minute mark, spend the next two hours just sitting and being unproductive while I read a magazine from Fall 2005, and flush my co-pay down the toilet. Unless the steroids actually have a different effect and I have to get an agent and hit the batting cages before next spring.