Have you ever had an MRI scan?
It's the most amazing experience.
Would you indulge me and let me talk about it for a while?
I had been warned about the noise, but still wasn't prepared for the all consuming manner of it. even with the earplugs provided it was a mix of a ship's foghorn, a jackhammer, a rapid fire machine gun and a pneumatic drill all competing for dominance, interspersed with almighty clicks, bonks and thumps. it felt as if the giant magnets were revolving around me, moving heaven and earth in the process, threatening to tear me limb from limb before flinging me into the heart of a black hole.
The machine looks like a tunnel into the depths of oblivion just waiting to eat you and spit you out the other side. as the bed slid in to the waiting maw i was tempted to ask if it was carnivorous, but was afraid they'd turn the power up to 11 in revenge and i'd be smeared all over it's walls, never to be seen again.
The hardest part was not moving an inch for twenty minutes. i forgot to ask if that included breathing but made an assumption, on the lack of evidence of homicide charges brought by the families of previous victims, that maybe shallow breathing was a good idea.
Have you ever been told to be totally still for a length of time on fear of having to re-sit an uncomfortable experience? take my word for it, the more you try not to move.......yep.......the more you just have to ......HAVE TO...... scratch, twitch, shrug, wriggle, squirm ANYTHING but stillness. i didn't know it was possible to itch in so many places at the same time. my chin itched, my feet itched, my nose itched, my chest itched, my feet itched, my hands itched, my armpits itched....... MY ARMPITS ITCHED !!! i'm itching all over sitting here remembering it......agghhhhhh I HAVE TO S C R A T C H !!!!!!
Claustrophobia was my biggest uncertainty, the thought of sliding into darkness with no means of escape, or sitting up suddenly and bumping my head on the inside of the tube, arms flailing, was a feature of my dreams for a day or two beforehand. as always, the reality is never as scary as the anticipation. the far end of the machine isn't enclosed, so as the bed came, very gently, to a stop i could tip my head back a little and see blue skies with doves flying over the rainbow, way up high......ok......maybe not....but i COULD see the white wall of the room, and there WAS a cool breeze blowing over my face from a strategically placed fan.
It reminded me of light at the end of the tunnel days. you know, when you can't even see the tunnel let alone the light, and you just want to close your eyes and make it all go away so you can walk out the other side, or wake up and find yourself snug in bed, wrapped up in a soft, soft duvet to find the nastiness had all been a bad dream. i wish i could make those times as easy for you as my MRI experience. i wish i could make it possible for you to walk away and use your experience to raise a laugh and entertain your friends. i wish i could exorcise the black hole at the centre of your universe. i would if i could......