Or in an MRI machine. Encased within the belly of this beast. A machine of such powerful magnetism that it is able to see through me at the structures in my brain. But you have to be still if you want it to do its work accurately. You must be as still as possible, while inside its belly.
It’s a hassle to get there, this regional hospital is an hour away, halfway between FTT and Pleasantville. It wouldn’t normally be a hassle, but Gummy is sick and not at daycare. Her father is unavailable, and my anger flares up, even though for fuck’s sakes, it’s not his fault he’s got to work. I cannot bring Gummy to the regional hospital where the MRI machine lives because once I am in the belly of the beast, I have to lay very still, and three-and-a-half-year-olds don’t take well to their mothers being swallowed by machines.
A friend who’s on mat leave can take her. Gummy is pleased to go there. The hustle of organizing childcare helps me forget about my anxiety about the procedure.
My pituitary is the subject of this particular inquiry. Unexpectedly, they tell me they need to inject gadolinium into my bloodstream in order to see how this tiny wonder of a gland absorbs it. I give my consent, but harbour misgivings about it. What if I react poorly. Plus, they won’t even give me a picture of my brain, citing the inability to print. Bullshit. I want a picture of my brain.
I go through with it. I lay still, and breathe deeply. When the injection happens partway through the scan, anxiety kicks in, but I tell it to simmer down. I’m fine. It’s so tight in here, and so loud. But I’m breathing. That’s all I can do, and doing it helps. I think about the reasons why. My new RE Dr. B, the one who knows I know things, offered it to me at my last appointment. The conversation went like this:
Augusta: I know this is not why I came today, but I do have a question that’s niggling at me.
Dr. B: Oh, we’ve got time. What is it?
A: So I think part of living well in the present is being able to tell yourself a story about your past that makes sense, one you can live with. And I don’t know why this happened, why my body just bypassed puberty, why it never made eggs, and could never make a baby. I’ve got two hypotheses, but I might go for the rest of my life not knowing, unless you feel you can help me with an answer.
Dr. B: (looks through the file) But your diagnosis is premature ovarian failure? What was your FSH?
Dr. B: (continues to flip through the chart): Hum….yeah, 0.00something. So that’s the wrong diagnosis.
A: Yes it’s wrong. So, my two hypotheses are: 1) BPA exposure or 2) trauma.
Dr. B: BPA is unlikely.
A: Really? Even if there were never any grownups at my house when I was a kid and all I ate for 10 years were microwaved meals in plastic bags?
Dr. B: BPA still unlikely. Bulimia is more likely.
A: I was bulimic and anorexic, but that started when I was 17, long after I should have gone through puberty.
Dr. B: What did your MRI say?
A: Never had one.
Dr. B: What? I have all my patients in your condition have an MRI to rule out a pituitary tumour. Do you want one?
A: I never thought a pituitary tutor was likely because I don’t have other symptoms of a pituitary tumour. I mean, I’m 5’10”: I think I grew alright.
Dr. B: Well think about it. It could still explain things. I’m happy to refer you for an MRI.
I went away and thought about it. Admittedly, the biggest draw was obtaining a picture of my brain, which I have yet to see (I think Dr. B will be able to pull it up on his computer when I see him, and maybe I can take a picture with my phone). But the real reason is the rule out. BPA hypothesis is more or less ruled out, according to him. We’ve got only two contenders left: Pituitary adenoma or psychological trauma.My expectation is that pituitary adenoma will be ruled out.
Which leaves me with trauma.
Which is what I’ve thought all along.
*Yes, I intend on going through the Tragically Hip’s discography with my blog post titles for the foreseeable future.