Friday, September 29, 2017

Remarks on an Unremarkable Brain

I had an MRI last week, to diagnose a partial hearing loss, nothing horrible, especially at this stage of my life. My ENT gave me a copy of the report, and I'm drawn to this sentence: "The enhanced and unenhanced MR appearance of the brain is unremarkable."

I know that were Mom still alive, she would disagree. Mom was all about the brain, and she was sure that each of her sons had a remarkable cerebrum. She raised us to be smart. I don't know how many timed math and spelling tests she gave me after school, right in the door, before homework or play time or anything else. Mom even wrote and self-published a book about how to raise scholars, Hey, Grandmaa source of much embarrassment. I was a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist--I always tested well. But a scholar, no.

Mom would be chagrined to learn that the family ear trouble has touched me. Mom's side of the family had a history of ear problems, some of which have trickled down to my sibs and me. Mom had Meniere's disease, and besides nearly total hearing loss, she suffered from balance problems and vertigo. Tough Nordic farm girl that she was, she insisted on her independence, pulling her arm away from an offered hand and weaving her way over uneven sidewalks like a drunken sailor.

While I am relieved that the MRI report tells me that "Ventricles are appropriate size" and "The orbits, sella, and vascular structures appear within normal limits," I still come back to "appearance of the brain is unremarkable." Mom would take umbrage. Sorry, Mom.

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