Second MRI

September 19, 2016

I was readmitted today to have a new MRI done on my brain and cervical (neck section of the spine), and also a blood test.

I started packing my stuffs on the previous night. It was like packing for a day trip. I would have packed lighter if not for the physiotherapy  sessions on both Monday and Tuesday – I need extra change of clothes.

Mom and I headed to the hospital at 9:00 am. Dr. Guna was preparing the paperwork while we waited outside the clinic. After a while, the clinic nurse brought us to the billing centre to process the admission.

We were being attended by a Malay gentleman. Mom told me he was the guy that Ann talked to about my insurance. His name is Zul. Mom chatted with him a bit. While registering me into the system, he found my name to be familiar. He soon recognised it. After a while, an Indian lady passed by behind us. Mom stopped her and thanked her for helping with out billing during my last hospitalisation. She looked at me and asked, “Sow Pik Hung, right?” She recalled my name just like that. She is Nalini. Wow, I am famous in this hospital now!

Zul told us that Guarantee Letter from insurance might take a while. He asked us to wait for about an hour or so and come back after lunch hour. It should be ready by then. While waiting, we headed up to Dr. Sanjeev’s clinic. I had the Hess Chart test again and had a quick talk with him. The chart look much better than the last one. He want to see me again in 2 months time. Once we are done, the clinic nurse came and informed us that we can head up to the ward but first we need to go to the billing centre.

A staff brought me up to my room in Ward 8B. It’s room 819, a single room. After I’ve settled down, I asked the nurse to call the Rehabilitation Centre if Awatif, my OT therapist is available. The nurse came back and informed me that I can have my session at 3:00 pm and MRI is scheduled at 4:00 pm.

A nurse came in and she brought a guy along. I don’t know what he’s called. He is going to wheel me down to the imaging department. I was taken over by a radiologist. Before she bring me into the room where the MRI machine is, she went through a list of questions. One question – whether I had any issues or problems during my last MRI. I told her that I didn’t know as I was unconscious when the last MRI was taken. Once done, she wheeled me into the room. It was as cold as a freezer! She then brought me to the MRI machine and asked me to lie down on the bed (or table). She put on a headset and then a head cover to prevent my head from moving. She asked me if I have any music preference.

I was feeling nervous as I never have a MRI before, when I was aware though. I’ve read all kind of stories about MRI, especially when I have an ORIF done on my right clavicle. I worried that the super strong magnet will pull it out from my shoulder! I think I might have claustrophobia. Oh, she did ask me that during the questionnaire time. The machine is terribly noisy. I was like in a construction site with all the pounding and machine sound. I had two MRI – brain with contrast and cervical spine. I was told it would take around 30 minutes for each but it took almost 2 hours.

September 20, 2016

MRI result was available. Mom was not around as she needed to pick up Belle and Jasper from school. I followed Dr Guna to the nurse’s station. She used one of the computer at the station to show me the latest MRI scans. She told me that the swelling on my cervical spine is still there although there was improvement from last scan. She expected it to be completely healed by now. She suggested me to take steroid to heal the swelling. It is the same steroid she gave me when I was in CCU. There is an oral version of it. Good things always come with a ‘but’. Although it might expedite the recovery but it also comes with a lot of side effects – weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes and bone problem. I told her I would need to discuss with Mom first before deciding.

Cervical Spine MRI

I explained a bit when Mom came back. She wasn’t that happy when I told her about the MRI result, in the sense that she was worry. I told her about the steroid. Both of us don’t really want to take that option and decided to wait for it to heal on its own.

Dr Guna came back again. Perhaps she want to explain again to Mom. I told her our decision. She said since there is still swelling, I would need to avoid from getting any new infection as they could cause relapse.

Blood tests result was not available yet. Doctor expected it to be available by my next check-up.

I was discharged and home later in the afternoon.

First Check Up After Discharge

Today is follow-up day. I need to visit Dr. Guna, Dr. Loh the speech therapist, Juliana the dietitian and Dr. Sanjeev the eye specialist; in one day. I was in the hospital from 9:00 am till almost 5:00 pm. Went home in the afternoon for lunch and then went back to the hospital for Dr. Sanjeev’s appointment at 2:00 pm. He was stuck in a traffic and reached hospital only at 3:00 pm.

Nothing much from Dr. Guna. She asked me to walk and try to squat and stand up. She said that I have a lot of improvement but I have not regained my balance yet. She asked me to stand on one foot and I could not balance well. I told her that I still feel numbness in my legs and arms. She prescribed ALAnerv to me and asked me to try. It is to repair my nerve.

She also said I would need to have another brain and neck MRI to check on my nerve. I will need to be admitted again on Sep 19 for a night. Some of the test results are not available yet. She said it would take weeks. What bacteria or virus, it’s not known yet. Hopefully, it will be available by Sep 19.

Next was Dr. Loh and Juliana. They were surprised that I can talk smoothly now. Dr Loh brought porridge and blended food while Juliana brought a plate of a normal meal with rice, grilled fish, and vegetable. It was used to assess my swallowing ability. She also said that I have a lot of improvement and I doesn’t seem to have any problem swallowing but she suggested to take things slowly. I can now take soft food. Yay, no more blended food! She said I need to start chewing food to work out my jaw muscle.

We went home a lunch and picked up Jasper and Anabelle from school before heading back to the hospital for Dr. Sanjeev’s appointment. We were waiting since 1:30 pm until Dr. Sanjeev came at 3:00 pm due to traffic congestion. He was surprised as well that I can talk normally now. He told his assistance that they need to do a test case on me.I told him that I am no longer seeing double but everything I see now seems brighter than usual and it gets tired quickly. H ordered a Hess Chart to test if I still have double vision. He told me that although the result was off a little but it was nothing to be concerned about. He suggested to do another test in a month time and asked me when will I have my next follow up with other doctors. I told him that I will need to be admitted on Aug 19 for a MRI. He said he will do it the same day.

He was being told by his assistant that I was in the hospital since morning. He smiled and told me that he will keep things short and sweet. He told me that although the result was off a little but it was nothing to be concerned about. He suggested to do another test in a month time and asked me when will I have my next follow up with other doctors. I told him that I will need to be admitted on Aug 19 for a MRI. He said he will do it the same day.

Anabelle and Jasper were sleeping on the couch when I came out from Dr. Sanjeev’s clinic. We went home at around 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm and all of us were extremely tired and exhausted.