If I Die, Please Post This Posthumously

Photo © 2005 thomas23 CC 2.0 BY NC SA

I’m sitting here in Dunkin’ Donuts, Wednesday morning, with nothing that I feel like writing about, eating a delicious breakfast sandwich that will probably set my cholesterol and blood pressure back six months, mentally preparing for my MRI, which will take place in about a half an hour. “Mentally preparing,” that’s the medical term for “working up anxiety that they actually might find something wrong with me, or that something might go wrong, like I’ll accidentally bring a steel nail file into the MRI room and the superconducting magnet will stab me to death with it, which I’m sure you agree would be not very pleasant.”

Why am I getting an MRI? The same reason I got a new BP prescription. (By “BP,” I mean “blood pressure,” and even though it does have to do with oil, not that kind of oil.) I’m getting an MRI, because over the past several months, I’ve been suffering from headaches, debilitating at times— migraines, we think, probably.

My father also suffered from migraines when he was about my age, and my brother and I were about the same age as my kids are now. Interestingly, as soon as we grew up and moved out of the house, my father’s migraines disappeared. So my headaches may be partially hereditary. The answer, in any case, seems clear: all I have to is wait until the kids grow up and move out, and then I can have nice things again.

In the meantime, my doctor recommended I try a different blood-pressure medication. I had been taking HCTZ/lisinopril, and my BP was about 140/80, on the border of hypertension. Last week, he gave me a prescription for atenolol, which partially blocks adrenaline (a β₁ blocker). Other beta-blockers are sometimes prescribed to treat migraines, and one of the side-effects of atenolol is that it sometimes relieves migraines.

So far, its effects on my headaches have been marginal at best. But give it another week.

One thing I did notice, however, is that about an hour after I took my first dose, my BP dropped to about 100/65, leading to another noted side-effect, dizziness. Since then, my BP has partially rebounded (120/75), but it’s still lower than it was before.

Aside from the new meds, my doctor also asked me to get an MRI. I guess it’s standard procedure when someone begins having headaches, even though 99 and some-large-number/100’ths percent of the time, they find absolutely nothing. (Find nothing wrong, that is.) They originally wanted me to have the procedure done, like, on the same day as my doctor’s appointment. (Ain’t US healthcare great?!) I had them push it off a week. Even so, I’m sure the MRI will make my Beloved happy, who worries about horrors like brain tumors.

It’s almost time for me to go check in at the MRI lab. So let me end this rambling post with one more thought. If I for some reason do not survive the procedure, would my heir please post this to my blog with a note that I told you so!


P.S. I clearly made it through the procedure, without incident, which is how I was able to post this to my blog. Maybe I’ll be able to get some kewl pictures to show.

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Yay! You survived – and now it’s something that you can write about with some firsthand knowledge. 🙂

Yes, I survived. And as far as I can tell, the scans look pretty normal. But what do I know? I’m not a radiologist. I need to see my doctor and ask him. -TimK

the thing about MRI I hated was the fact that I was on my back and might fall asleep and have an apnea episode. That spelled anxiety. And they said don’t swallow since they were looking at my neck area.

I get semi-random migraines, so it might be hereditary. I say semi-random because there are some activities/events that I know will get a migraine after…usually manual labor like mowing the lawn or heavy exercise.

Hi T, I have read your post on the MRI test and I have a question. I a balance problem, and only thing that remains is to have a MRI test. I however have been putting it off coz I suspected that I have to be pushed into the tunnel apparatus you posted in the pic. Now seeing that I hate confined spaces, I wanna know from you, is it very tight, how much space is there in it? do they push you in completely?

I think I am kinda satisfied to live with my balance problem.

Have a great day.


I’ll have to post about the experience. i went in twice: the radiologist thought he saw an anomalous something on my pituitary and wanted a closer look, but in the end there was nothing there out of the ordinary. Both times were rather boring, uneventful. Not tight, not claustrophobic, but you have to stay still while they’re taking the pictures so that they don’t blur. I actually think I dozed off the second time I went in, got to catch up on my napping. -TimK

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