Saturday, April 19, 2008


Yesterday, the Matron went to hear this monk:

He gave a very fine presentation on happiness and the mind-body connection. Turns out he volunteered his brain for this:

Scientists were able to follow the brain changes in monks that meditated. Matthieu Ricard? He once spent 22 hours in the course of 3 days in an MRI capsule. Once, he was in that machine for 9 hours, straight.

Here is what happens to your head:

And then they insert you.

Ricard had science to back up his home run point (all of them). Meditate, practicing loving kindness and compassion and not only will you be happy (and the world a better place), but your immune system beefs up while your stem-cells just party, they're that much more powerful.

The Matron left the conference chalk stalk and barrel-full of loving kindness! Meditation R Us! Compassion? Radiating off that van!

Until the Matron felt a bit funny. Was that a rain drop on the windshield? Why were letters unreadable - -while traveling at 60 miles an hour? Within minutes, the visual aura was steering that wheel, not the Matron.

She's had migraines before, but this aura lasted nearly an hour! For the uninitiated, disruptive streams of white light shimmer and shine, rendering vision jagged and highly inaccurate.

Then, her left hand started tingling. As in, quite a bit. Now, the Matron had received a chiropractic adjustment just that morning and she was pretty sure that the hand was vertebra related.

Still, the aura persisted and the hand throbbed and burned. But she pulled into the driveway and was steady in her step -- if not her vision.

Coming from a long line of people who drop dead without warning, the Matron wondered if this was one. So she called her clinic.

M: "So. . . ideas?"


M: "Do you think I should make an appointment?"

Nurse: "Oh no! I was trying to decide if you should call 911 or have someone drive you. Like now."

M: "Well, I can drive myself."

Nurse: "No, I really can't let you. You may not drive yourself. It's forbidden."

M: "Okay, then."

Of course we all know who wins that battle and the Matron drove to the Emergency Room. Sharp thing, she brought along everything she needed to prepare for her 8:30 am Saturday morning creative writing course.

The Matron was actually not unhappy to leave the house right before she was expected to start cooking dinner. In fact, she had badly procrastinated and had half of this left to read!

And a test and lecture to prepare! So she didn't mind (secretly) the departure. She hoped that she got plenty of time to wait!

During her two and a half hour wait, the Matron realized she was not stroking out. The tingling ceased and desisted. The eyes worked quite well. They could track the hand of that clock as it made its slooooooooooooooow round. Twice. Then half again.

But! She was a docile, compliant and uncomplaining patient . . . until exactly 21 seconds after she finished every last little bit of her work.

After inquiry and small fit that included her immediate intention to depart, somehow a room magically opened its doors for her!

Her very fine doctor convinced her that she had made the right decision! Why, she could be having TIA's, little tiny stroke precursors even as they spoke! That chiropractor (an intern even!) could've scrambled some big artery.

So she agreed to the MRI and CT scan.

And muttered and paced and swore at the gods while waiting another 45 minutes before either of those began.

And when it was her turn to get shot into that MRI bullet - and to BE Matthieu Ricard, all synchronictiy and challenge and Zen --- the moment to have your head buckled up all unavailable for your personal use, and it was 11:10 pm and the technician smiled and offered:

"Since this is a 50 minute test, I hope you'll be able to sleep."

The formerly beatific Queen of all things meditative did this:

She eventually agreed to the 20 minute shortcut to the brain.

She is fine. The Matronly brain is a lesson in perfection. All is well. But that whole loving-kindness, compassion and calm state of being?

Work in progress.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm glad it's nothing serious.

As a veteran of many child-related trips to E.R.'s I know the importance of going prepared to wait.

Mrs. G. said...

I'm glad you made it through and it's nothing seriously scary. My husband has tried to have an MRI six times and he never even makes it halfway in. He's claustrophobic big time.

Jennifer H said...

50 minutes...I would have needed a sedative.

I'm glad it was nothing serious, but how scary.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I am terrified of those MRI capsules.

And...did you mean "lock, stock, and barrel"?

Patti said...

Oh my goodness! I still can't believe you were driving yourself. You are definitely not a wimp.

Minnesota Matron said...

Here you go, Suburban --

Just sorta implies the 'whole package'.

Lisa Milton said...

I'm stuck on the 9 hours in the MRI. I have one annually and I'm thinking one hour is plenty.

Guess I need to beef up on my lovingkindness.

So glad you are ok; hope the aura doesn't return, sneaky little bastard.

Cheri said...

MM, I'm glad you're okay. Seriously, that is scary stuff.

But back to the monk, nine hours in an MRI thingie? Wearing Depends? WTH?

MamaBird said...

Holy smokes, that is one heck of a day. I remember my mom getting migraines when we were little. She would drape a wet washcloth over her face and we'd have to play quietly while she moaned in a dark room. I *cannot* believe you drove yourself! Love that you got your work done! Also I am obviously so very glad that you are ok. There's some drama in your world, missy.

Heather said...

How scary. Glad you're okay.

Melissa said...

Oh no! That sounds terrifying. Is it just a stress thing? If that's the case, I think you have the medical excuse needed to finally send Satan's Familiar to that nice farm family in the country...

Katie said...

Wow. I have those migraine aura light flashy things too. Mine seem to be triggered often while driving...I think from the sun reflecting suddenly off someone's shiny clean car (why can't they all drive dust covered heaps like me? My car reflects NO light.) They suck. I'm glad your brain is fine and I loved the connection to the monk and his brain scan stuff. Too ironic!

Jocelyn said...

I wish they could've stuff the monk in there with you.

At least you could've told each other knock-knock jokes.

BipolarLawyerCook said...

See, my doctors' office knows to pat me down for nunchucks and throwing stars. I don't wait gracefully. In fact, I sent the doctor a bill, once.