My previous column for this paper concluded with my being deposited in room 544 of the neurological ward at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lexington several hours after suffering a stroke on Friday morning, March 9. I was rapidly attended by a neurologist and his entourage. In short order it was determined that I’d had a stroke. This was not news to me; I’d had it figured out for hours.
Loretta and I were advised that MRI’s and other test were soon to be forthcoming. In the meantime, a bevy of nurses and technicians pasted my chest and torso with little electronic connectors that were subsequently wired into a little box that wirelessly broadcast all sorts of information into a conglomeration of monitoring devices.
Meanwhile, lunchtime had come and gone. Of course, I had missed breakfast and I figured the fact that I was hungry had to be a good sign of something. But, sign or no sign, they told me I couldn’t have food until the MRI’s were done. So I lay there while staffers incessantly came and went checking such things as blood pressure, blood sugar, temperature, etc.
Finally, at around 4:30 p.m., a fellow came into the room, rolled me onto yet another gurney and advised that we were headed downstairs to wherever they did MRI’s. Upon arrival I was rolled onto what I believe was the eighth bed I had occupied in about as many hours.
Two very nice, personable women began strapping me into the narrow, mattress- covered platform that would carry me into and out off the MRI machine. They plugged my ears and placed on a thick mask and helmet that completely engulfed my head. Finally, they gave me a little balloon-like thing to squeeze in case I needed them.
Suffice to say, that upon entering the chamber I felt an immediate “need” for them because I suddenly had the sensation that I was in a submarine being bombarded by torpedoes and depth charges. Alarm bells were ringing loudly combined with honks, whistles, bangs and thuds. I was, in a word, horrified! Still, I stayed in enough control to refrain from squeezing the balloon until I sensed that the carriage had stopped. I had been in the thing for about 25 minutes but it felt like many hours. That’s when I began squeezing the balloon for all that I was worth.
I know that I was yelling “help” while the nurses hastily unmasked me. I yelled for them to get my wife and the immediate sight of Loretta provided the greatest sense of relief that I’d felt all day. And then I was advised that I still had two MRI’s to go. I told them that they might as well shoot me because I didn’t think I could survive the ordeal another time. But they insisted that I had no choice if I wanted to get better.
“We’ll call your nurse and she will give you something,” one of the lovely technicians advised. And sure enough Nurse Rachel, who had been my hero all day long, showed up with a vial in hand. She made soothing noises and injected whatever she had in the vial into my IV port. In short order I felt ready, if not anxious, to give the MRI chamber another shot.
An hour later I came out of the trance and was advised that they had good pictures and that they were done with me even though I’m not sure what they had done. So I informed them they could do whatever they wanted if I could have another shot of Nurse Rachel’s joy juice. Here’s some sound advice. If you are ever told that you have to have an MRI, tell them that you have to have a shot of whatever they gave Ike Adams at St. Joseph’s before you will even think about it.
Tune back in next week for the next episode entitled “Hospital Food.”
Ike Adams is a native of Blair Branch near Jeremiah.