I am no stranger to “the tube”. That’s the pet name I’ve given to the MRI scanner. After 15 years or more (I hate to count, really) I’ve visited every ‘tube’ in the area, except for the open MRI that my doctors refuse to use. Some have been comfy enough that I could doze off. Some have been narrower than the run-of-the-mill machine; some have had ceilings that were as close as I imagine a coffin lid to be. WARNING: That coffin thought is NEVER, ever to be dwelled on when in the tube! I had only one panic situation when I had to be pulled out. That was early on in my tubing career, and it was only because my Aunt M, who accompanied me that day, kept repeating encouraging things like, “I wouldn’t be able to breathe in there. I would feel like I was suffocating….bla bla coffin…bla bla crypt…casket….etc.”
Today, as stated before, was at the Syracuse VA Hospital. The technician was friendly and gave me a gown to change into, a dark grey gown with three sleeves. I am not kidding when I say that I had to try that on half a dozen times! In case you run across a gown like that, my advice is to put your arms in the sleeves like a surgeon puts on a gown and then wrap the extra sleeveless sleeve around you. No flapping or drafts!
I was taken to the monstrous scanner and given some flimsy earplugs to wear. As I lay down on the scanning bed ‘tray’ I began to think that maybe I was in a sci-fi experiment; I don’t know why I get those kind of imaginations, but they were running wild by the time my Hannibal Lechter hood was put in place. A comfy pillow wedge for my legs, two blankets over me (it was super cold in there) and then the nice technicians tucked me in with a bulb to squeeze for security. I felt ready to take a nap. But THEN—-the machine started up and earplugs be damned, the banging and jackhammering was so strong and loud, the table shook! It was the first time I’ve ever been shaken to the beat! The sounds were different this time, not the usual ones. I heard rat-a-tat-tat, boom boom boom, knock, knock, knock, and sounds like grating bells, gigantic drills, and a headhunter’s drum in the distance……couldn’t help but wonder if this test would make my brain light up from the sheer agony of its trash metal sounds. Here’s a little sample of one sound from the MRI, and it’s relatively soothing, don’t you think? Compared to today’s trauma, it’s a lullaby.