Today was my first follow-up MRI scan. I was back in the Royal Marsden, Chelsea, which was reassuring for two reasons:
- It is much easier to get to for me than Sutton;
- The special magnetic fishing scan only happens in Sutton.
As ever, everybody there was extremely friendly and welcoming, instantly putting me at ease. Psychologically, even though I’ve been back in the Marsden various times since my surgery (in fact I was there not three days ago), it is still slightly nerve-wracking revisiting these sorts of tests. I was very grateful for all the warm smiles and kind words. It reminded me yet again how wonderful nurses – and all hospital staff for that matter – are.
This scan was a straightforward abdominal one. Before it was tube time, I got a shot of buscopan in the arm (stops your bowel from moving so they can get a clearer picture). Then I was strapped down like a sandwich, awarded ear plugs and headphones and slid inside the machine.
It must have started earlier than the start of my last scan, as Grimmy was still on Radio 1, though as it turned out we were well into Fearne by the time I was finished. I lay as still as possible, alternately listening to people winning tickets to the Big Weekend and playing a game I like to call “What’s that sound?”. It’s very straightforward.
What’s that sound? (1 player)
- You must be lying inside an MRI scanner.
- Listen carefully to each sound the machine makes.
- Link the sound to something it reminds you of.
- A microwave.
- “This Securicor van is reversing.”
- A sewing machine.
- “Set phasers to stun!”
- The Hogwarts Express.
- A dalek.
- Triple-time supermarket checkout.
I’m sure that anyone else who has spent inside one of these magnificent beasts will recognise these sounds immediately.
Eyes closed, tightly tucked in, I was drifting through visions of William Shatner armed with a sewing machine when Fearne’s voice was suddenly replaced by another, louder female voice in my headphones.
“Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.”
I obeyed. An unwanted memory tugged at the corners of my mouth. Remember a few years back, when derogatory blonde jokes were all the rage? I was reminded of the one about a blonde who meets her untimely death at the hairdresser (just Google “blonde hairdresser joke” if you’re not familiar with it). Anyway, I fended off the giggle and blindly followed the instructions.
“Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in and stop breathing ………………….
…………………. and breathe away.”
We repeated this performance several times, though only for one or two particular scans. Presumably so they can get a really clear image of some part of my abdomen without my breathing interfering with it. I came out of the machine after slightly over an hour feeling a little bit weird.
The bus journey home wasn’t the most fun (for me or for my boyfriend). But I have been managing to remember to breathe all on my own for the rest of the day, which is something.
Captain, set breathing to normal.
Caroline Crimson x