Diagnosis

It takes a split second for your tomorrow to be completely different than your yesterday.

The suspicion

It's around March 2010. I am winding my watch. The watch that my father gave me for my 35th birthday. He gave me his own watch. I notice slight tremor in my right thumb. I should go see a neurologist. After all the last time I went to see a doctor on a whim, I was diagnosed with TB.

The neurologist

April 6th, 2010. After a very pleasant lunch, I head on to Maçka EMAR. My brother-in-law, a medical doctor himself, recommended a neurologist there. I walk in with the confidence that whatever it is, the worst case scenario he will prescribe me some pills and I will take them and this will be nothing. The neurologist is polite, talkative, in his sixties. He looks smart. Whatever that means. I tell him why I am there.

The examination

He asks me some basic questions then leads me to an alcove where there is chair and I sit down. He asks me to do funny movements with my hands, fingers. I swear this is what all this reminds me of:

But there is something wrong with my right hand! I can feel it. His look is very serious. This is not going to be good news.

The diagnosis

"You are a brilliant young man, but what you have is Parkinson's disease" he tells me. What? You got this from the 'Danse des canards'? I am tempted to ask him but I don't.

me: What now?

him: Nothing. All you have to do is to take couple of pills everyday, for the rest of your life.

inner me: Wtf. Are you kidding me? What kind of a stupid answer is that?

me: Is that all?

him: It could also be a brain tumor, or copper poisoning. Let's get you in a brain scan right now.

inner me: Brain tumor, Parkinson's. Parkinson's, brain tumor. Which one should I hope to have? It's like Belgium playing with Bulgaria in World Cup finals. I don't want either one of them to win.

me: Let's.

So we go to the room where the MR equipment is. I am numb at this stage. I always hated the coffin like MR tube. The first time they put me inside one and told me I shouldn't move at all, my nose started to itch. I thought I could fool the operator and made swift and quick movements to scratch it. Several times. A session that was supposed to take 15 minutes had lasted close to an hour.

I am inside the tube once again. The annoying noise the machine makes doesn't seem to annoy me this time. I have bigger problems.

In half an hour or so I am out. They tell me to wait in the waiting room. My phone rings. It is my wife calling. She is calling to see whether I am done. She is around the corner, and if I come outside, she can pick me up and we can drive home together. I tell her "darling I think you'd better come here". She says 'oh'.

Ride back home

So it's not a brain tumor. I don't mean to be insensitive to those who have suffered it or lost a loved one to it but at one point I wished it was that. There was a chance I thought someone would open up my head and remove it from my system.

It will turn out not to be copper poisoning either.

My wife comes in, I tell her what the doctor told me. She looks at me trying to gauge whether I am joking. We both have doubts therefore hope that this is a misdiagnosis.

The neurologist tells me not to worry. According to him I shouldn't spend time on Internet trying to research the thing.

Who, I wonder, would not seek out more information in a similar situation? I have a brain too, it may have dopamine problems, but it is still curious.

We don't talk much with each other on the way home. I can't wait to be alone in front of my computer.