Friday, was a Test Day. For the first time in what seemed like a long time, I made my way to UCLH and let people prod me.
The first test of the day, and one that came later than scheduled due to the snow, was the much anticipated MRI scan. In the week leading to my scan, I had managed to get myself into quite a panic, based on the fact that my first MRI scan was so horrible. I did not think that I was capable of enduring the same level of pain. The second test was a straight forward ECG. The only challenge I anticipated with that one was the walk in the snow from the Macmillan Cancer Centre to the main hospital.
Last week, I had been going back and forth in my mind whether to do the deed with the aid of drugs or without it. I went as far as requesting the drugs, but then within a few hours, I had changed my mind again. Cancer related issues really are magnified. My Big Sister rightly pointed out that if I did take breakthrough pain medication for my scan, I would always wonder whether I could do it without. So, like removing a plaster, I opted for no drugs. It would appear that I like a challenge. I chose wisely.
Once I had managed to actually get to the hospital, after a wait of two hours, I selected the really cool and edgy tunes I was going to listen to in the coffin, before stripping. Despite having to have worn quite a few now, I still find it marginally exciting when I have to put on a hospital gown. I personally think they are beyond sexy. Nothing says attractive like a patterned gown covered in stains that opens down the back to reveal ones cellulite and lace knickers. The fact I was wearing them, was not a coincidence.
Some of you may not know what an MRI scan is. I am still not sure what sort of imagining it provides, but I do know that you have to fill out and sign a questionnaire to confirm that you are not pregnant and that you have not swallowed anything metal, there are more questions, but you get the gist. I also removed all my jewellery, just in case it is cheaper than I believe it to be. My friend asked me last week whether it is the machine that looks like a donut. I responded with a “no, that’s more like a CT scan”, but as it turned out, my memory of what an MRI scanner was like, was thankfully, flawed. There was literally light at the end of the tunnel. The machine before me eyes on Friday, did indeed look like a donut. An incredibly dense. I swear the first machine, did not have a hole at both ends, like this one. The room also seemed brighter, perhaps that is because I was not on any medication and thus, I was not as high as a kite.
Nervous, I got on the slab and was relieved to feel foam and not metal. I informed the technicians of my album of choice and that I may have difficulty getting up at the end. They put the panic button in my hand and the headphones on my ears and in I went. It was much better than last time, instead of resembling a coffin, I saw The Light. It was beyond bright in there. The Greatest Hits: Volume 1 by Queen attempted to drown out the noise, but failed miserably. At least it made the 40 minutes pass quickly enough. There is nothing like listening to ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, while being greeted by a bright light and loud banging, to make you think about the meaning of life.
Halfway through the scan, I realised that I would be able to get up at the end by myself, and that I did without the aid of the two people (one had changed to a man, I believe to help with my weight). I was more than pleased with myself that I could do it and I braved the situation without the aid of Oramorph. Now, I have to blank out what the test will find, because it would be just my luck, if it picked up a tumour…
After that, I collected my drugs, after a half hour delay due to a clerical error and walked the short distance to the main hospital. It turns out that that was the scariest point of my day. I am not a fan of the snow. I hate My Myeloma for that.
The ECG was better than my first ECG which was a firm reality check on my first night at UCLH back in August. That test involved a lot of palaver with my pyjamas, bra and boobies, that my pride would not want to see repeated. My first impression on Friday, was that the lady taking the test did not have a considerable amount of job satisfaction. She was, actually, down right rude. “Naked from the top half please”, was her greeting. I complied with her request and hopped onto the bed. She told me off twice for not relaxing my shoulders, and then put the stickers on my naked torso with a fair amount of force. I asked her if she could not press onto my ribs quite so strongly because of the fractures and her response to that was to tut. Her care was amazing. Perhaps she had see me eat a Twix, okay two, whilst I was waiting and that sort of gluttony is frowned upon in Cardiology Outpatients. Once the test was done, she said “your nurse will get the results”, and with that she walked out the cubical into the next one and said the same things all over again. I must say that my favourite part of my ECG was when she picked up my left boob to put a sticker underneath it. That’s right, I said picked up. They are that saggy. In case you were wondering what an ECG looks like, I took a photo. It is a heart test.
And then I went home and reminded myself that tests are so much easier than treatment. It’s just my overreactive brain that makes them worse.