My neurologist is in the process of booking me in for another MRI to see what’s happening with that brain-stem and spinal cord of mine. I’ve been having a few extra symptoms recently so it will be nice to make sure there is nothing dodgy going on, and it’ll be nice to be reversed into a tube not much bigger than myself, a tube that can rip metal from your insides and SEE INSIDE YOUR BRAIN.
I’ve had two MRI scans. I only remember one. It was 4am on a Sunday and I apologised profusely to the on-call radiologist for dragging her out of bed. I’m pleased that I can remain impeccably polite while going blind and becoming paralysed – my mother would be proud. The radiologist just laughed. I wasn’t scared of the scanner, I just fell asleep and was woken every now and then by someone telling me they’d move me a bit further in or out of the machine. After about 45 minutes the machine spat me out, someone injected something into me and I was sucked back into the tube for another stint of bangs and clicks and whizzes, and another nap.
This time, however, my body won’t be poisoned, my spine won’t be massively inflamed and I’ll be fully conscious. So I’m a little apprehensive. I’m not claustrophobic, I’m not scared of hospitals or procedures and tests – I just know what I’m like. It’ll probably be like when I went abseiling. I shimmied off the top of the cliff like a pro, exhilarated by the breeze on my bare legs. I focused on my feet stepping and bouncing over the ledges and rocks, I made sure not to look down. About halfway down it dawned on me what I was actually doing – dangling from rope off the edge of a cliff face. Why on earth had I chosen to do this? PAID to do this? Panic. Without a doubt I was absolutely certain to die. My hands became clammy inside of the over-sized gloves we’d been provided with. Sweat poured from beneath my helmet and into my eyes. I couldn’t remember if my travel insurance covered me for abseiling – how would my parents get my body home?
That will be me in the MRI machine. Cool as a cucumber until about halfway through when I convince myself I’m going to die. What happens if there’s a power cut? A fire? I’m aware there will be protocol for such situations, a manual override of the scanner etc – but none of this matters mid-panic, when that rational part of your brain buggers off somewhere and leaves the nonsensical bit in charge.
I’m relying on my incredible ability to fall asleep whenever I lay down to see me through (I have a feeling this is the result of a concoction of pain meds more than anything). I’ve fallen asleep on several ambulance journeys which has been useful, because being transferred between hospitals repeatedly gets a bit boring. I’m also wondering if the doctors might be kind enough to send a bit of diazepam in my direction, to calm my spasms down and knock me out slightly as a bonus. And then the results will come back saying everything is fine and my near-death MRI experience was entirely pointless – I hope.