In all the time that I have been trying to cope with the onslaught of Endometriosis and its painful symptoms, I had never had an MRI. Heard about them, wondered why I was never offered one, but never actually had one. I know, shocker.
Well that changed.
I was sent to see a bowel specialist at the request of my gynaecologist after he found my bowel had fused to my womb and my Pouch of Douglas (Google it) had been completely obliterated by adhesions.
My Bowel Guy ordered an MRI scan. He also put me on a list for a sigmoidoscopy – which is just code for Colonoscopy but they don’t want you to get all freaked out in the room, so you just freak out at home in front of your laptop screen.
Anyway- an MRI. I’d seen them on tele and I had spoken to people who have had them in the past. Isn’t it funny? As soon as you mention a medical thing, people (sometimes I don’t even know them!) are like “Yes, I had one of them for my hip/liver/pelvis” or “it was no problem, it’ll be alright!” I know their hearts are in the right place and they have the best intentions but it can be incredibly overwhelming.
My MRI was scheduled for a Sunday evening at 19:40pm. I thought this was a bizarre time, on a Sunday. But as I was going to a city hospital I just assumed they ran things differently in the Big City.
As my husband and I meandered through the hospital corridors following (and sometimes losing) the blue line, we finally found the radiology department. The radiology suites were up a few flights upstairs; something I wasn’t quite prepared for and was glad for the long sit down when I reached the summit.
My letter said to report to the radiology reception desk when I arrived. So, there I stood, letter in hand, a blank expression on my face as I stared at a dark, closed reception area. The waiting area looked like it needed a lick of paint and boasted some pretty sad rows of seating, the plastic kind that you had at primary school.
Taking our cue from the only other couple in the waiting area, I gingerly took a seat next to my husband and listened to the random, mechanical sounds of a hospital. No one else in sight.
It was at this time, that my overactive imagination decided to kick in. Anxiety, nervous laughter. The image of that scene in Walking Dead or Resident Evil or Dawn of the Dead where the building is deserted and a lone zombie just strolls though. Attempting to lighten my mood; I made the mistake of voicing this and won a ton of laughs, and some bizarre looks, from the other 3 people in the room.
I’d only just finished telling my anecdote, when a very angry-looking feller walked through the doors. He looked flustered and outraged. Mr Cranky-Pants started to march up and down the corridor asking random people, orderlies, other patients, a cleaner, where the reception was! We didn’t see him again.
I was taken around to a second waiting area where I was asked to take a seat (again). I watched quietly as the other lady was taken into a cubicle, like the ones at the swimming baths, to discuss consent and instructions. She came out looking relieved, but no different. I began to relax, I mentally chastised myself for worrying.
A nice young woman in blue scrubs asked me to follow her to discuss the ‘procedure’. I began nodding along to her routine questions. I almost choked when she handed me a couple of hospital gowns (you know the ones- with a gap in the back!)
Cue ‘internal whinge-voice’: “BUT that other woman didn’t have to wear one!! I haven’t shaved my legs, the floor is cold and I’ll have to go sit back out in the waiting room in this hideous friggin’ gown!!”
As I undressed I began chucking my clothes in the locker, resounding bangs only served to fuel my darkening mood, gritting my teeth and muttering to myself; a few choice swear words. I then heard my husband say aloud “Someone doesn’t sound very happy…”
Taking a deep breath, I opened the cubicle door, owning it. “Why is it always me?” The other couple giggled and looked at each other, I answered only with a blushing smile.
When I eventually got into the prep room, the nurse was unable to get a cannula fitted as my veins collapse under pressure. I ended up with 5 holes as he tried again and again, stabbing me with the needle. He even filled up a rubber glove with warm water to try warming my arm to coax the vein to the surface of my skin! I ended up leaving with 5 holes; 3 in my left arm and 2 in my right!
The whole experience was eye opening, but not overly traumatising. It felt like I was laid in that machine for an age, inwardly rocking to the dum-dum-dum-dum. As I listened through the ear defenders I couldn’t help but notice the similarity between the mechanical noise and the beginning of a well-known Queen song.
I was just waiting for the “Flash ah-ahhhh…” to kick in… turn it up LOUD!