MRI am Freaking Out

Tomorrow we are taking Leta to Primary Children’s Medical Center to get an MRI on her head. At her six month check-up her pediatrician was worried that her head had not grown enough since her previous check-up and that she refuses to put any weight on her legs. He told me that he wanted to order the MRI to calm my fears that anything might be wrong because he’s certain that Leta is perfectly healthy. But ordering an MRI for a child of someone in my postpartum, anxious condition was like throwing someone who can’t swim into a lake to assure them that not being able to swim is perfectly okay.

My mother the Avon World Sales Leader has postponed her weekly trip to LA to be with us, and Jon is taking time off work to be there as well. Leta will have to be sedated most likely through an IV so that she will be asleep and remain still throughout the MRI procedure. We also can’t feed her anything tomorrow in the hours leading up to the MRI, anything but clear liquids. I doubt she’ll take kindly to any clear liquid because she’s been fed nothing but non-clear liquid every single day of her life. I anticipate that when I give her a bottle of clear Pedialyte in the morning that she will gag, shove the bottle in an arc toward the wall, and look at me like, “You have tried to trick me and now I must scream.”

Several months ago Leta was diagnosed with a condition called Torticollis Plagiocephaly. To break that down into terms that make sense, she tilted her head in a certain direction that caused her head to grow in a misshapen form. We did rigorous physical therapy with her and cured the Torticollis (titling of the head) and the shape of her head has filled out nicely into the round shape of a normal human skull. But when Leta gets really tired or slightly sick she resorts to tilting her head again. This really worried me and so I took her back to the physical therapist last Wednesday.

I told her physical therapist about the upcoming MRI, and after several exercises her physical therapist assured me that Leta’s neck was perfectly okay, but that I should be much more worried about the fact that she refuses to put ANY WEIGHT WHATSOEVER on her legs. She determined that Leta hates the sensation of pressure on her feet, much like someone hates the sound of fingernails being scraped down a chalkboard. Now I have a list of exercises I have to put her through every day to get her used to pressure on her feet, and OH MY GOD SHE HATES IT.

After every diaper change I pick her up, hold her firmly against me with one arm, and with my other arm I force her legs to become straight underneath her. Then I lean forward and place all of her weight on her legs. And she screams. Like I’m cutting her with a knife. And then she screams more, like MAMA PLEASE STOP YOU’RE KILLING ME. I try not to cry.

In the middle of play time with the elephant that rattles and the soft yellow duck that quacks I straddle her on my leg and force her legs to stiffen on the floor. And she screams. Why must I disrupt play time with the elephant and the duck? The elephant and the duck are so much nicer that Mama, she who forces the chubby little feet to meet the floor. The chubby little feet HATE the floor, oh hard and flat surface! The floor is hard! And flat! And extends in all directions! There is no escape!

I am nervous about the MRI. I think any mother would be nervous. The act of taking one’s child to a hospital for any procedure is scary. But I will continue with the physical therapy, the torture that will hopefully work and make my child become friends with the ground beneath her. I am thankful that my family will be with me through this, and I’m sure that if they allowed pets in the hospital that Chuck would be right there buried in my armpit.