[Sober Living] Tripping on Iohexol

Brain scan showed all clear. Having had the same lingering tension headache for over two weeks, with increasing light-sensitivity related migraine headaches, and newly developing hypertension pangs, when I was looking up at the walls of the brain scanner, I was thinking, man, this could be it. No more trash-talking albums, no more writing stupid things for nobody to read, and worst of all, no more efforts toward “The Story.” Sorry to disappoint the haters.

Iohexol made me warmly uncomfortable, yet warmly comfortable.

That’s the chemical they put into my veins so they could do a scan of my brain to see if I had any negative brain activity. I felt a little too warm while they were doing the scan, and midway through I felt fidgety because I forgot that my phone was in my pocket, but compared to when I had a more thorough brain scan a few years earlier that had detected a mass of some sort, here I just had my clothes on and they didn’t mention anything about electronics.

The phone is fine, but more importantly, my brian scan is clear.

That brain thing was, at the time, something the doctor said that 10% of people had. When I told that to Doctor-Number-Seven, he said that based on the results, they’d either refer me to a regular neurologist or a specialist. Well, other than the headaches and maybe watching too much violent anime, my brain is fine. There’s no brain damage that made them worry.

It feels good to write that.

Now as far as what could be wrong, -Seven, the emergency department doctor, suspected it could be sleep apnea. I snore loudly, apparently, and some of the symptoms match up. I think it’s more that after a constant pressure across your brain where you feel like, on their scale of 1 to 10, you feel a pressure of about a 5/10 constantly across your head that feels like your head is a balloon that’s just a little too inflated, you tend not to sleep well. I’ve been sleeping, overall, alright when I switched to night shift. I would say rare is the week where most of the days I slept were restful.

I’m thinking it could be something with my spine.

That’s for Primary-Care-Physician-Number-Three/Doctor-Number-Eight and Neurologist-Number-Two/Doctor-Number-Nine to determine next week, and possibly Headache-Specializing-Neurologist-One/Doctor-Number-Ten? Meanwhile, I’m studying as much as I can about headaches, the brain, and the spine since I still feel the headaches looming in the distance and I know they’ll be back unless we fix the short-term and long-term. I didn’t sleep well last day. I woke up earlier than I wanted after getting to sleep too late. That tells me that there’s still something gnarly in my system, but at least it’s quieted down.

I have a new prescription so that should help with the visual side of my headaches.

Through this process, I’ve realized just how little I actually do blink, so I’m trying to keep my eyes closed more often. I closed my eyes through most of that previous sentence and whenever I can, I’ll try to spend a few seconds with my eyes crammed closed. I’m trying to take better care of my eyes now, but it’s hard when many of your current hobbies consist of staring at bright lights for minutes or hours on end.

Reading Gray’s Anatomy is slow going.

There are certain implications, obscured through medical terminology, that help lead credence to the notion that the spine could be what’s involved. I’m fine with going to see another chiropractor. They had suspected it before when I had headaches four years ago that were cake-walks in comparison and I received a referral to a rookie doctor. I received two “good” referrals, so we’ll see what -Eight and -Nine think.

If Prednisone is helping, it could be inflammation.

What could be causing such a serious reaction to my body that I would need to go to the emergency department? I don’t think it’d be anything like the exchange I had in Amiga Clearance A06/06. Although mad, most people, generally, wouldn’t wish this sort of pain on anyone. I mean, I would. I know some people, man. They could really use a mental ass-kicking… But even then, I’d feel bad when they’d get the eye strain, and wouldn’t let them feel like they were gonna die. I may not forgive outrageous examples of malice in others, but I wouldn’t want them to feel that sense of mortality, unless that were their route to self-redemption, then, by all means, let’s set up an amusement park for experiencing excessive pain and we’ll call it Zeal.

Until then, I wait.

I wait to find out what kind of lifestyle changes I can do to prevent even the most minor headaches from appearing. I was going to row for the first time in over two weeks after I completed this essay, but honestly, my brain is kind of panging all over with some of the mildest sensations I’ve had in weeks, so it probably won’t be a good idea for me to do anything other than wrap up this essay and go to sleep. It could just be how I live, too, because when I’m not working, I’m working, and when I’m not working, I’m thinking about work.

Let’s say it’s a spinal issue.

I’m willing to do all that I can to learn and practice better spinal health. If it’s an eye problem, then I’ll have four glasses soon: modern, classy, driving and computer, then sunglasses. My old prescription has the transition lenses, but as much as the purple tint was cool, the transition was more novelty for me than actually useful. Sure, I’ll have to carry multiple pairs of glasses, but that’s OK with me. If it’s something I don’t know yet, whatever that is, I’ll integrate that into my lifestyle. I don’t want any more headaches or head pains.

My brain scan was clear this year. I want to keep it that way.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: The medications they prescribed were in the outpatient paperwork and I wanted to write about knowing now that I don’t have any brain damage. That’s always nice.
Related: This “Tripping On [The American Healthcare System]” series and other Sober Living essays.
Picture: I probably could have waited to publish this essay after getting the brain scan results, but, instead, I drew what I saw in the brain scanner.
Written On: 2020 January 16 [41 minutes, from 7:50am to 8:31am while listening to Echosmith, Gojira, then Echosmith again. WordPress.]
Last Edited: 2020 January 16 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.