Sunday, January 02, 2005

Get your head checked!

One of the wonderful little surprises which is associated with PKD is aneurysms. I always thought an aneurysm was the event: i.e., when a blood vessel near your brain bursts. But it turns out that an aneurysm is actually a thing: a blood vessel which is stretched thin and enlarged like a balloon. An aneurysm can burst, but an aneurysm is the strained blood vessel, not the act of bursting.

Anyway, aneurysms are associated with PKD. About 1 in 10 people with PKD has an aneurysm. Although I've had blackouts now and then ever since I was a kid, those were apparently associated with a heart condition called AVNRT which I had fixed last year with a cathetera ablation procedure. So the doctor feels pretty sure I'm in the clear as far as aneurysms go, but he still ordered an MRI on my head to be absolutely sure.

On Thursday, Dec. 30th at 6:30 a.m. I went to the hospital and had the MRI done. It was a little different from the MRIs I've had done on my torso and kidneys. This time, I was put in head-first, with protective headphones on. Instead of the gentle "whoosh" I've heard in past MRIs, this time the machine screeched like a modem for uninterrupted minutes at a time, then alternately paused to make big "chunk chunk" noises and clicks. The MRI took about 25 minutes, during which I just closed my eyes and did some meditation exercises. It must have worked because not only did I emerge feeling very nice, but it seemed like it only took 10 minutes rather than 25.

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