Thursday, November 6, 2008

An election hangover....

What a night last night....Watching history... I was vibrating... humming with emotion... a little choked up.... but maybe it was the 1000 mgs of steroids that had just been IV'd into a vein of my left forearm....(back to that in a minute).
Last week I was in the hospital at Vanderbilt University, and a male nurse took me to the private room, wrapped my arm in that blood pressure velcro thing and started pumping the balloon at the end of it. "So you're a musician?" (he must have read my employment status on my admission sheet). "Yep." "122 over 60, that's good."
"Oh good!"
"So what do you play?"
"I'm the singer in a band called Last Train Home. We do a kind of country rock, roots rock, american thingy." (I never know what to say)
"Do you know Hank Cochran?"
(Do I know Hank Cochran.... I love Hank Cochran. If you're a songwriter in Nashville and you don't know Hank, you really shouldn't be here..... 'I Fall to Pieces' is his best known perhaps... LTH has performed "She's Got You" when brother Alan Brace was playing with us... man he could sing the bejeebers out of it. Almost better than Patsy. No really.)
"Oh sure"
"Well he's not doing to well with his cancer right now, but he's such a wonderful man, we're good friends.. he's always been so good to me."
"Really? How did you meet?"
"Well I came to town managing a young artist, and we got him a record deal. One of the things I wanted to do was record a Hank Cochran song. And we did, we recorded an album, but my guy was dropped before it came out."
"Oh man, that's too bad."
"You want to hear an unreleased Hank Cochran song?"
Hell. Yes.
So the nurse pulls out his Blackberry... punches some buttons....
"Now I warn you, this one'll tug aatcher heartstrings."
He looks at me hard. He knows the doctor is about to come in and tell me some news that could be bad.
"It's called 'Afraid'...." He hits the button.
A fine steel lick slides by...
A fine voice starts singing. It's right dab in Merle-George-Keith territory. Maybe a little too much '90s slick in it, but coming from the right place.
The song plays... all the way through... it's a little emotional. The guy's watching me listening as he holds his Blackberry closer to me.
"Man... that's a good one... you were right."
And it was. Not A+, but solid and real.
(oh, the steel player on the song was Jim Vest... 20 years of A-list pedal steel session calls. He's something else...)
"What happened?"
"Well, he didn't get the deal.. .kind of got put on the shelf... and I got out of the business and went to nursing school."
'Well I'm glad you did. It's the only way I guess i would have gotten to hear that song!"
.... Ahhhhh.. Nashville... My nurse is playing me a never-released tune by one of my all-time songwriting heroes... on his Blackberry... as I sit in my robe, wondering if I'm ever going to feel anything in my legs again...
Yes, a couple of weeks ago after a cup of coffee with horn player Scotty Huff I was walking to my car and I couldn't lift my arms and they went numb.... I made it home hunkered over the steering wheel, steering with my shoulders, basically...
A few hours later my legs went numb.... I waited.. not panicking about possible heart attack or whatever, since it was happening on both sides and arms and legs...
But finally I got scared and we went to the emergency room.
Tests... days go by... numbness continues....
I go in for a few days to get slammed with sleroids to make the inflammation of the nerves go down.
MRI shows lesions in the myelin around the spine.. where the nerve endings reside....
apparently some viral condition is eating away at the myelin and causing numbness....
Spinal tap: is it MS? Doesn't look like it. But doesn't NOT look like it...
Tests.. tests... test..... nice folks at Vandy...
More ambiguous tests.... Lyme disease? No. B-12 deficiency? No? Strange tropical auto-immune disease from monkeys? (no kidding) No. Mono? Nope? etc. etc. etc.
Scary, but what can you do.
Two weeks into it.... more weakness... but feeling kinda better... Mostly been lying on the couch...
Now, another MRI shows no new lesions, and shows drastic reduction in preciously spotted lesions.
Okay that's GOOD: means i'm repairing myself. I'm visualizing microscopic repair crews with tiny hard hats coursing up and down my spine with patching asphalt and getting on it.
They say this happens... many people have just one strange numbness episode that knocks them for a loop. It goes away, and in 3 to 5 months, they're back to normal. Well okay. But for now, a few more doses of steroids to help get the nerve swelling in check.
So more steroids yesterday and today.... Have you *had* 1000 mgs pumped into for days at a time? I was warned of depression and aggression... didn't happen... but I'm buzzing... inside my skin... humming... I can almost hear the note..... vibrating... but it's in a good way... no really .. even if it doesn't do good things for sleep.....
Of course, it could be Obama I'm buzzing for.
I'm feeling lots better tonight.... thanks Barack. And thanks, 63 million americans (no thanks to 61% ot Tennessee voter who went for McCain) for giving me a big old shot in the arm...