I Went to Florida to be Probed by Space Aliens – Day One

When I booked my tickets to Florida to take care of my Paralysis, I thought I was superman. As a matter of fact, the day before I went to Florida, I opened a new checking account and ordered superman checks. In my mind, I thought the trip was going to be mostly fun. My Doctor had already seen the x- rays of my spine and they were rough. He advised against a simple adjustment and said I should get a MRI and a professional evaluation by a spine specialist and let them worry about any adjustments. (To start at the beginning of my Alien Encounter Go Here.)

Seems that Dr. Scott Webb of the Florida Spine Institute was a personal friend of Dr. Bishop and had a great reputation. After a parathyroid operation 15 years ago, I had no reluctance in accepting Dr. Bishop’s advice.  Parathyroid is tough to diagnose with symptoms of pretty general pain and a need to sleep 24 hours a day. Just before the operation, the only way I could stay awake for 4 hours was by taking massive amounts of steroids which would have qualified me for the Olympics if I worked out instead of sleeping 20 hours a day.

I decided to second guess his suggestion of getting my parathyroid operation done right away (September ) at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and tried to find my own expert at the University Hospital which was close to my children. Just in case I died, they would be stuck with the mess, and I had no family in Florida. Well when October and November passed and I had not heard back, I booked my operation in Miami in January and had all my kids home for Christmas for one of the most loving Holidays ever.

In March, the University Hospital called me and confirmed that I had the operation elsewhere. Seems they misplaced my file and when they found it six months later they called to see if I was dead or had the operation elsewhere. At this point I figured I might have cut that adventure a little close but what the heck, I survived and had a great Christmas as a bonus. But that’s a whole different story.

The Florida Spine institute turned out to be a truly amazing place, it is big and highly efficient. As a matter of fact, I was totally impressed with the friendly efficient help of every organization I touched except for the airport car rental. Somehow they pushed the rate up to $200 per day for two drivers (my traveling companion was under 25) and since she is moving back to Florida, it became cheaper to purchase a car and insure it so we returned the rental car on Day 2 without a drop fee. The neck brace convinced them that I was too great a risk so they waved the drop charge even though we were 30 miles from the airport.

La Quinta Inn was a friendly, safe, clean, place and no one seemed to notice the 40 year difference in the age of my traveling companion and myself. They offered a complete breakfast that you could gain weight on even if it was the only meal you ate for the day. The Tilted Kilt restaurant next door offered good food, drinks, and service and the waitresses in their skimpy outfits were easy on an old mans eyes.

I was at the clinic at 8:30 am on Thursday and before I finished filling out their entry forms, they were moving me to be x-rayed. The x ray team was a young woman and man who were pleasantly bantering with each other and myself as they went about their work. Some how with their equipment, they were trained enough to assess if the pictures were good enough or they should do them over although they expressed no opinions to me, medical or otherwise.

I went back to the waiting area and before I had read very much of my book I was called to see Dr. Joe who was substituting for Dr. Webb who was out sick. He had read my x-rays and agreed with Dr. Bishop that my spine looked like hell, and before any decisions were made, they also wanted a three dimensional MRI so they could see the complete picture.

The waiting room at the Imaging Center appeared full but they said they would slip me in about 10:15 and they did. Being in an MRI for a short test is a unique but not terrifying experience. All metal must be shed from your body along with wallets, credit cards, hotel keys, and anything else with a magnetic strip.

For this MRI lite, I was allowed to wear street clothes and when they say all metal they mean it. The stapled laundry tag on my shirt was enough to invalidate the first test so they had to start over and since I had left my belt on it was a constant distraction to me as it vibrated and jumped around every time they turned up the power. For those who have never had this unique experience, they shove you in a tube about 1” wider than my greatly reduced current body size and blast you with loud magnetic waves. The original time I did it at 260 pounds, I actually had to fold up my shoulders to fit inside. They now provide non metallic headphones to pipe in some music and distract you from the sound.

The other unique aspect was I felt my neck getting warm in the ½ hour test and when I got freed from the machine felt the temperature of the bed in my neck area and it was not hot. When the technician asked what I was doing, I told him I felt my neck getting warm, and he explained that it was internally generated. In other words, I was being cooked like a piece of meat in a microwave.

Before noon, I was in a patient room and visited by Drs. Joe and Webb. Seems Dr. Webb came in sick so he could be part off the evaluation process. As they explained it, my neck was bad and dangerous. If I didn’t get a neck operation, I could end up paralyzed permanently. I told him I knew the cure for paralysis and my daughter, Dagny agreed. The hint is 357.

They wanted me to schedule the operation for the following Wednesday and stay a week longer for recuperation. I didn’t see a real choice so I agreed to change my accommodations.

The other little item was that while the neck was bad, they were not sure it was the cause of my paralysis so they wanted me to see a neurologist that afternoon at 2:30. Dr. Figuroa put me though those standard tests of stand on one leg, touch your nose; stand on the other leg and touch your nose with your other hand; stand on both feet and touch your nose with both fingers. He also wanted all the gory details of the event as outlined in the first post. At the end of his examination, he wanted to run an MRI on my brain and veins to determine if I had a stroke and one was scheduled for Friday at 6 pm sharp and don’t be late as the lab would be closed for other business.

At the end of Day 1, I had filled out forms describing my complete medical history, I had filled out a form describing my ability to walk talk, run swim, bicycle, climb stairs, wash and wax my car, mow my lawn and have sex. I left some of the areas blank as I believe it is a personal decision to hire someone to mow your lawn or wash and wax your car.

The 7 hours of probing which included completely read x-rays and MRI’s would have taken a week in St. Croix and with scheduling problems and limited equipment, possibly longer. So at the end of Day 1, I was amazed at the Clearwater Florida Medical Industry and all of the industry related services like cabs, restaurants, motels, shops etc.

Oh yeah, they fitted me with the horse collar to stabilize my neck.

Go to Day Two

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2 Responses to “I Went to Florida to be Probed by Space Aliens – Day One”

  1. travelling tips Says:

    How imaginative article, I have never seen such a good article.

  2. Frattejak Says:

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian

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