The MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) was
another new experience for me. Being in an MRI is like being in a
plumbing pipe—except it makes these incredibly loud buzzing and beeping
noises. So loud, in fact, that the nurse gave me earplugs before I
started. It was even louder than our brass section, and that’s saying a
lot! (Apologies to Bob Lauver here)
You have to stay absolutely still during the MRI, which in my case, lasted about 30-40 minutes. The
MRI is so loud, they don’t even try to distract you with any radio or
music, because you wouldn’t be able to hear it, anyway. In fact, when
the nurse wants to talk to you, she does so over a little intercom. I
didn’t mind the confinement part so much—I’m not claustrophobic, and
there was plenty of air circulating—but confinement combined with the
fact I couldn’t communicate with anybody unless they felt like turning
on the intercom, plus the extremely loud noises (think jackhammer
here), plus the fact that I kept feeling different parts of my back,
upper arm, and even my face get hot in turns was very, very unsettling. I
could see why the man whose turn was before mine had left after just a
couple of minutes (which was not exactly confidence-boosting).
normally, I could pass 30-40 minutes of confinement by practicing the
week’s orchestra music in my head, but it had been over a month since I
had played a concert. But I had been playing Suzuki violin and cello CD”s (book 1!) for my kids for a couple of months now. So
I got through what might have been a very uncomfortable time by playing
through them in my mind, starting with “Twinkle” and all the
variations, and ending with “Gavotte.” Thank you (again), Dr. Suzuki!
the next day, the orthopedist saw me, and told me that the MRI showed
tears to the rotator cuff, and that fact coupled with my shoulder
popping out, led him to recommend surgery, and that I should stop PT
until after surgery so as not to use up all my allotted PT sessions.
The morning after seeing the orthopedist, I woke up in the middle of a good back-stretch—and suddenly realized that I was rolling both shoulders forward at the top of the stretch. Just as I realized this, I felt a small “pop!” and felt the by-now all-too familiar pain in my shoulder. After
I put my shoulder back where it belonged, I ran downstairs to call the
orthopedist—I finally figured out why my shoulder was popping out, and
I was hoping that, if I could teach myself not to stretch in my sleep,
maybe I might not need surgery after all.
I’ve got to give the orthopedist credit for being flexible. The
nurse called me back to tell me that, yes, I could resume PT for a
couple of weeks, and that the orthopedist wanted me to remember that
those 3 tears are still there, so I shouldn’t get too excited. He’ll reassess me next week.
now I have two MAJOR motivations to make progress in PT. One has to do
with getting my arm–and career—back. The other has to do with avoiding
surgery if at all possible.