5 Ways To Distract Yourself At Scan Time

It’s that time of year again, ladies and gents. It’s scan season. In just a couple of days I will be having my first MRI in almost a year, the first imaging I will have since learning that oral chemo killed my desmoid tumor.  And I am FUH-REEK-ING the hell out.

I’m not freaking out about the tube. I don’t really mind it. They put some headphones on you and tuck you in with a few warm blankets. It’s not so bad. You could almost take a nice little nap if not for the industrial dubstep noises the machine makes and that odd taste the contrast solution leaves in your mouth when they shoot you up. Why it’s practically a day at the spa.

Now the results, they are a different matter. That’s the part where it gets a little hairy. While I’m fairly certain I’ll get good news, there’s always a chance I won’t. That minuscule chance is all my neurotic brain needs to go into hyperdrive and convince me that certain doom awaits. Do not ever let me on WebMD or I will turn a paper cut into a MRSA diagnosis in under a minute.

If you were around me, you probably wouldn’t even be able to tell that I’m nervous. I tend to hide these things well, even from myself. It wasn’t until I caught myself eating almost an entire pint of ice cream for breakfast, binge listening to Jeff Buckley, and crying in a used book store after finding a dogeared copy of Bridge to Terabithia that I realized I was maybe just a tad anxious about things.

After figuring out that my coping mechanisms were on the not so healthy side, I set out to create some better ways to deal with the stress of waiting to find out if this beast has sprung to life again or not. I don’t know how healthy they are, but they have distracted me fairly well and I only almost puked that one time, so they must be at least almost decent ideas. If there’s one thing I’m known for, it’s my almost decent ideas.

1.) Never, ever stop doing laundry – I can’t say there is a household chore I love doing, but one that I hate the least is laundry. Firstly, I love the smell of Tide. It’s like a pheromone to me. I only tell you this so you won’t be surprised if my husband and I ever invite the washer into a polyamorous relationship with us. Secondly, laundry makes me feel productive and, as far as I’m concerned, it can be counted as aerobic exercise. 

The problem is, we all have pretty minimalist wardrobes and I keep running out of things to wash. I strip the beds. I grab towels when people are mid-shower. I’m making everyone change at least three times a day so I have more clothes to wash. My water bill is going to be higher than my rent, but my mind is occupied and the house smells intoxicating, so it’s not all bad.

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2.) Discover the horror of beeswax – I bought a jar of the most glorious honey made from special North Carolina mountain bees that must be angels handpicked from the heavens. When my daughter was recently visiting I showed her the almost empty jar and inquired about the chunk of honeycomb inside. She told me I could eat it and I was like, I know you’re in college and probably way smarter than me, but hell no I can’t eat this. I googled and, lo and behold, you can eat the honeycomb. In fact, people chew on the beeswax like gum and it’s supposedly cures allergies.

I have discovered upon moving to my new state that I am completely allergic to all of North Carolina. My nose hasn’t stopped running since we hit the state line. So, hell, I’ll eat some bee vomit stored in an undigestible larvae repository if it’ll help. The first bite is like eating one of those Gushers things your kid begs you to get when you’re grocery shopping. Honey is going everywhere. Then, you chew and you’re like, huh? But you just keep chewing because the people on the internet said it would change your life. Then, you take it a little too far and realize you’re eating a candle and you just spit and gag and cough until it’s all over. It was awful, but never once did I think of my MRI.

3.) Buy three more books before you complete the one you’re already reading – I am a lover of books. If you’re wondering how much, when I first moved here I found two bookstores before I even started looking for an oncologist. Priorities, people. I began reading The Handmaid’s Tale awhile back. I love it. It’s a great book, very well written, but given the political climate these days it feels frighteningly possible. It started to depress me when I pondered what life could be like in that world for a lady like me, way past her baby making days. So, I bought another book and another one and another one. I am currently reading none of them because, according to my logic, I have to finish The Handmaid’s Tale or else I’m committing adultery against it with Russell Brand and David Sedaris. That’s some healthy coping right there, I tell ya. img_7048

4.) Passive aggressively plot against your spouse or partner – I can’t see shit. I’ve been wearing glasses since I was a teenager so I could correct an astigmatism and see far away and now I can’t even see close up. As any 40something knows, one day out of the blue you go to check your phone and it’s just a smear of colors and light. I want it noted, always noted, forever noted that my husband is older than me by almost a decade and has needed reading glasses for sometime now.

My need is a relatively new one and I have a cheap pair of readers that I keep on my bedside table. They’re just a nondescript, gender neutral pair with black frames. Amazingly, every single time I reach over to use them they are never there. They are either on my husband’s face or in some godforsaken corner of the house where he has placed them after taking them off his face. So, I went out and bought a pair with pink frames and threatened to put his picture on Instagram if I ever caught him wearing them. They are always where I left them last and now I can actually see if I decide to read one of those books.

5.) Freak out about the spider that seems poised to take over your home – We have another Derek, you guys. Only this Derek is bigger, like he’s doing ‘roids or something, and badder and possibly a member of the spider mafia. My husband first noticed him hanging around the gutter just outside of our porch. He was a safe distance away, but my husband was certain he was making his way for the house. I promised to keep my eye on him. He did seem to be moving closer each day, but I let him be. Then, he was just gone.

VANISHED.

Then today, I just happened to look up in the corner of the porch and there he was! I’m almost certain he had a gun and was holding it against the head of a smaller spider and shaking him down. The great part about Giant Derek is that he’s probably going to kill me before I even have the MRI. The beauty of that is when you’ve been killed by a juicehead spider you are no longer alive and can’t worry anymore. Problem solved. 

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30 thoughts on “5 Ways To Distract Yourself At Scan Time

  1. Good luck with the MRI. Or should I say “Break a leg”? I’m not sure of the proper etiquette regarding annual scans. I’d ask Derek but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know plus he might use me as fly bait. The Dereks of the world are why I refuse to live in a hospitable climate. Who needs those assholes showing up on your doorstep every time you turn around? Sorry to focus on Derek. I don’t share your love of laundry and I haven’t finished a book in 8 years because I start a new one every day or two. But steroid pumping, gun-toting, leather-wearing spiders? That’s a distraction I can relate to.

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  2. My thoughts are with you, fingers crossed. I admire, once again, your honesty and your ability to articulate something we all can relate to. Sounds like this is a good time to pick up “The Handmaid’s Tale” again. The writing is mesmerizing in itself. And the story/symbolism/implications may take your mind off the MRI. A little homeopathic therapy for anxiety- like cures like- they say. Sort of like hitting your thumb with a hammer to forget about a headache. The bonus is that you would then be free to distract yourself with other books.

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  3. Okay, so you need to go for a walk and find a horse chestnut tree. Collect some conkers and leave them in the room where Derek lives. For some reason spiders hate conkers, so he’ll leave. It’s the perfect time of year because I saw some conkers on the road on my cycle home last night. 😀

    I told a Canadian about this last week, and she didn’t know what a conker is (I’m still shocked that people don’t have conker tournaments in North America!.) But I’ve seen the trees now, so they do exist on this side of the pond!! Just look out for the spiky green pods. Inside is the round conker that spiders hate.

    Plus a nice walk will take your mind of the scan results too…

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    1. Wait-I don’t know what conkers are either. What kind of tree? Does Home Depot sell them? Do all spiders hate them or just the Derek kinds? Did you know that 100% of homes have spiders? And that if all the spiders of the world joined forces, they could consume the human race? I heard it on NPR so I know it’s true. Is it wrong to worship a conker tree?

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  4. That post was so funny that I forgot the MRI! I love the Derek stories. Maybe you need to get an ancient tiki to protect you from the spiders. We all know how well that worked out for Greg Brady. (If you don’t get that reference, we can’t be friends anymore)

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  5. Favorite line from this post: “I am currently reading none of them because, according to my logic, I have to finish The Handmaid’s Tale or else I’m committing adultery against it with Russell Brand and David Seders.” I feel exactly the same way when I ‘stray’ from the book I’m ‘supposed’ to be reading. I just wasn’t clever enough to put it the way you so insightfully do. There! Have I distracted you from the MRI? Maybe just a little? xoxoxo

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  6. Though the reference to … Derek startled me somewhat, (each room has a handfull of conkers behind the door). My brain can’t forget the ‘S’ word, if heard spoken aloud, even if I hum over that word, once my brain registered it, Dereks will take up my dreams/ nightmares all night. I am hoping the written word doesn’t have the same effect.
    Despite that, the thing that stuck with me most was the thought of the honeycomb in my mouth. The husband says its wonderful *dry heaves*. Your dstraction techniques in themselves are good, as is your mindset. Maybe you can publish a booklet of tried and tested distractions, just think a money making distraction in its self. I enjoy your posts ( Dereks not included ) and admire your ‘Balls.’ The best of luck with the results. P.S. If you email your address I will post you some Conkers to ward off Dereks, a butterfly net for the capture and a brown bag to deal with controlled breathing. Happy Autumn Christine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I never really cared much about those pesky s words until I moved here. They are large and everywhere and constantly fighting to be in the house. Maybe my next distraction is having everyone send me their extra conkers and me distributing them out to other arachnophobes for a small fee.

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      1. Good thinking only the USA apparently will confiscate them as foreign bodies form the UK. 😲 Conkers are contraband . I have been told cinnamon sticks stroked once a month with cinnamon oil also works. I hope there aren’t any in Pooler Georgia when we go in tje spring 😔

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