Yesterday morning, at 7 AM, I had an MRI to finally get a scan and see exactly what part of my body was injured, and how. Was it a strain, a microtear, a stress fracture? The final piece of the puzzle would click into place, and my doctors could begin treating me for the proper problem.
Admittedly, I was a little nervous about the MRI, since I’ve been told they can be pretty stressful: you must stay perfectly still within a very confined space as the machine whumps, clanks and buzzes around you. My strategy to stay calm was this: eschew my normal morning half-a-pot of coffee and get to the clinic as sleepy as possible. I’d turned in late on Thursday, after splitting two bottles of white wine among the three of us at Cousins’ Night at the Blue Water Grill, so ‘sleepy’ was not a stretch.
The facility was in a gorgeous building between York Avenue and the East River, just a few blocks up from the Hospital for Special Surgery. It stood above the East Side Rec Path, and there were views of the river and my bridge, stretching from Second Avenue and 59th Street all the way to Queens Plaza. This felt ironic to me, that my reckoning would happen within view of paths that I had tread as a fit runner many, many times. Not only that, I once again felt like I was watching an ex walk by holding hands with a new girl, as running over the Queensboro Bridge and up the east side is woefully out of reach right now.
Before I knew it, I was wrapped in a green cotton dress, lying on my back as the kind technician Alan strapped me down with Velcro and taped my feet together so they wouldn’t move out of position. I felt swaddled, and it wasn’t too bad. He rolled my tray into the machine feet first, I closed my eyes and focused on controlling my breathing like when I’d go for acupuncture. Then Alan had a treat for me: he put massive headphones over my ears and turned on some music. The mix was straight off of 1980’s WDRE (for all you Long Islanders): classic New Wave. Yeah! It was perfect, I grabbed onto each song as if it were a life preserver, focusing on it entirely and using it to scroll through my memory bank. It was an excellent way to mentally remove myself from the claustrophobic conditions, and the alarming construction-site noises that were coming from mere inches away from my head.
The first song was “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by The Simple Minds, from The Breakfast Club. I think I watched this movie at every slumber party I attended from seventh grade until tenth grade. I’d never admit my favorite guy was Brian Johnson, the smart, geeky one. And the last song was “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell! My high school boyfriend would always have me home by curfew, but then we’d sit in his car steaming up the windows as this song played in the background. He wouldn’t let me go and I’d laugh and say, “Just one more song. I have to go in!” So, he’d pop the 8-minute dance mix version of “Tainted Love” into the cassette player. Sigh, loved him.
And so, memories such as these got me through 25 minutes of immobility and noise. When it was all over, I had spiraled so deeply into my thoughts that it was as if Alan had woken me up. I also couldn’t sit up on my own, since my back had tensed into a solid block. The technician helped me rise, and told me I’d done well. Awe. He must have a lot of patients freak out in that thing, I was glad I could stay cool and make his job easier.
Official scans of the test will arrive to my orthopedist on Tuesday, but she called me after she got the preliminary report yesterday afternoon. She won’t say for sure until she sees the scans, but it looks like I have a microtear at the top of one of my left adductor muscles (apparently, we have three different ones), not the hamstring as I thought. So basically, to paraphrase how JMW put it last night during the traditional [not-really-tapering] Taper Feast, To get any further up my groin, you’d have to buy me dinner.