Author Topic: Taming the tunnel. Plus the flying jeans. Mysterious forces were afoot.  (Read 716 times)

Offline Gyppo

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Taming the tunnel.  Plus the flying jeans.

   I may be somewhat partisan about this, but when I discovered the hospital I was going to for my scan was called the Lymington New Forest Hospital I got a good feeling about the place.

   The reason I was sent there, rather than a nearer one, was they have a shorter MRI scanner so they could leave my head outside the claustrophobic tunnel.  Being only four feet long my head was sticking out one end and my feet out the other  which must have looked quite comical.  Just a pity I couldn't see it myself.   A hairy bearded head at one end, a pair of big waggling bare feet at the other.  Like a conjuror's assistant waiting to be sawn in half.  (I'm glad I never thought of that metaphor at the time though.)

   Perfectly adequate seeing as they were only scanning the pelvic/prostate area.   I'll give you a few more technical bits, for those who may have to go through this yourselves some day, and then tell the funny side of things.  There were several of these.

   They gave me a shot of some kind of dye, which makes the bits they want to study show up even more.  This isn't the radio-active 'hot-shot' you get when they're doing a bone scan with the gamma camera.  "Will this make me pee a funny colour?  I'd like to know in advance if it will."

   "No, sorry.  We keep things simple here, we don't do fancy technicolor urine.  We're also going to give you something to stop your bowels wriggling around for a while, so we get a nice clear picture."

   Both of these came in via a cannula in my arm.

   The whole process takes about forty minutes, which was a surprise, because the whole body scan at the other hospital took the same time.

   "We're capturing a lot of images."

   Right, now onto the fun bit...

   My jacket, various plastic cards and loose coins from my shirt pockets were locked away in a little box.  If you put your cards through there they'll be wiped, because basically it's one big mother of a magnet.

   There were two nurses in the room, both cheerful lasses.  They got me to sit on the sliding bit and asked me take off my belt.  "We can't have that big buckle getting near our scanner."  One of the nurses took it and put it outside the room.

   Then I had to lie down again, and they told me if I just slipped my trousers down around my knees the zipper wouldn't cause a problem.  So I did as they asked and the smaller nurse came across with a little blanket.  As I lifted my bum to wriggle my jeans down they were suddenly snatched from my hands by an invisible force and made a break for the opening of the tunnel, which at this point was just beyond my feet..

   The older nurse made some kind of exclamation and grabbed them just as they reached my ankles.   The jeans had turned themselves inside out.  "You didn't empty your pockets.  You must have keys and stuff in there."  So I had to get off the slider, move across to a bench near the door, and take my jeans right off.  "It should be alright if you sit right over there by the door. "

   Then it was back onto the slider where they spent a little while finding a vein, and chatted away cheerfully whilst doing so.  It had the feeling of awell practiced double act, designed to put the patient at ease.  Once they found one of my elusive wriggly veins the eldest made the usual dumb-arse comment about it just feeling like a sharp scratch.

   "That has to be one of the biggest misnomers ever.  Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it doesn't, but it's never felt like a scratch."

   "Well, they don't let us say what we always used to say."

   "What!  They've banned the classic 'just a small prick, Sir."

   "That's the one.  They don't let us have any fun anymore.  Apparently it offended some people."

   "Maybe the truth hurts the more sensitive souls."

   The  older one fed the cannula into my arm and said to the other, "I like this one."

   Then they connected the needle in my arm to something which looked like an albino octopus made of almost clear plastic tubing, and explained that the dye and bowel settler would be pumped in automatically when the procedure started.  "Because we won't be in the room while the machine's running."

   They stuck some sort of gizmo across my stomach, tucked my arms in tight against my sides with a Velcro strap, and gave me a buzzer to push in case I freaked out or needed their attention.  "Because we won't be able to hear you from outside.  It really is noisy."

   Then they ran me into the tunnel and left, after reminding me the 'bowel calmer' would give me a very dry mouth, which it did, almost instantly, and that my vision might go blurry for the first twenty minutes or so.  "But this is normal, so don't panic."

   "I'll just close my eyes and pretend it isn't happening."  But of course, being a writer, I had to do a spot of research and open my eyes a couple of times.  Yes, it was blurry, so after checking my head was still outside of the tunnel I closed my eyes again.

   I heard the door close as they left the room, and all the banging  and clanking noises started up, and a deep humming which sounded like giant capacitors charging up.  Power station noises

   I heard the door open and close again briefly and then I was left alone with the noises and my thoughts, except for one point where the nurse spoke through a speaker and warned me the net ten minutes would be particularly loud.  She was right.  This was the point where it felt as if the slider was moving me further into the tunnel, so I opened my eyes, checked the edge against a seam in the wall panels of the room, and found it was an illusion.

   Then it was all over.  They came back in and unhooked the albino octopus and the gizmo across my stomach, withdrew the cannula (very smoothly), and invited me to sit up.

   No problem, apart from a numb arse from keeping still for so long.  Unlike the previous tunnel scan I still felt like me, not totally disorientated.  But the first thing I noticed was my jeans were missing.

   "Ah yes," the little blonde one scurried out and brought them in.  "We saw them through the camera, starting to move as the scanner powered up.  So I dived in and removed them."

   I wish I could have seen that.  The keys and 'stuff' trapped in my pockets waving around like a cobra's mesmeric dance, desperately wanting to dive into the tunnel, and only the weight of the legs holding them back.

   Just as well they didn't make it.  I would have probably totally freaked out if I suddenly found my head wrapped in flying denim.

   A few minutes later I was fully dressed, thanked the two ladies for a 'much more civilised experience than last time', and was released back into the wild.

   After a big mug of hot chocolate did something to alleviate the dry mouth  I called a taxi and headed for the train station.

   If they ever need to scan me again, I'll willingly go back there.  But for now, join me in singing this ragged chorus, to the tune of ELO's Hold On Tight To Your Dream...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz5YKTq82rE

"Hold on tight to your jeans,
  hold on tight to your jeans.
  When you feel that magnet calling,
  grab the waist, no time for bawling...
  Hold on tight, to your jeans."


   ===
« Last Edit: November 26, 2017, 06:52:52 AM by Gyppo »
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Lin

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Re: Taming the tunnel. Plus the flying jeans. Mysterious forces were afoot.
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2017, 11:27:14 AM »
You certainly have a way with words, Gyp.  I fell about laughing as I've just had a scan too.

Lovely :D piece of writing.  Thanks for this.

Lin x

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Taming the tunnel. Plus the flying jeans. Mysterious forces were afoot.
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2017, 12:47:30 PM »
Glad you enjoyed it, Lin.  I hope some others do too.

The reason behind the scan is scary, I don't deny that, but I still can't help noticing what goes on around me.  By now my mental tape recorder is hard-wired to work regardless of circumstances.  Then, being a writer, I hit replay when I can and tip the words out onto the paper/screen.

It's my safety valve.  But it's much more than that.  I can do 'serious', but I don't think I could write 'misery lit' if I tried.

I would never have said 'give me prostate cancer so I can do some hands on research', but now the bastard's there we can have an eyeball to eyeball staring contest.

You can't let a small patch of cancerous cells define who or what you are.  Well, I can't.

I'm Gyppo with a nasty intruder, I'm not Cancer with a terrified older man being dragged along for the ride.

You can't be frightened 24/7.  It's exhausting and self defeating.  I'm not being heroic here, but just as my Yorkshire Gran would have said, "I can't be doing with that."

The fact that I nearly broke my fist punching hell, (privately, of course), out of the toilet wall at the hospital when I received the early diagnosis about five years ago, suggests that my initial response to bad news is more 'fight back anger' than 'woe is me'.

Maybe in a low moment, now and then, the 'what if' looms a bit bigger, but there's a lot more to life than sitting around feeling sorry for yourself.  Humour, especially the sort which you see around you, is a powerful medicine.

[Steps down from his occasional soapbox  to get on with fixing dinner.]

Gyppo
« Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 12:49:44 PM by Gyppo »
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

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Artemis Quark

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Re: Taming the tunnel. Plus the flying jeans. Mysterious forces were afoot.
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2017, 04:13:11 PM »
Thanks for sharing, Gyppo.

This quote should be written on a wall in large print: “You can't let a small patch of cancerous cells define who or what you are.”

Cheers,

AQ

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Taming the tunnel. Plus the flying jeans. Mysterious forces were afoot.
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2017, 04:49:14 PM »
There's a poster campaign currently going on over here which says "A Dad with cancer is still a Dad."   There are different versions for Wife, Husband, Mum, and probably Grandparents although I've not seen one of them yet.

My family aren't afraid to talk about it.  We don't brood over it, but it's not a taboo subject either.  This was a conscious decision.  I suspect the tale about the scanner trying to steal my jeans will crop up more than once at family gatherings.

Taboo subjects don't go away.  They feed on silence.

My two girls had a discussion about this when I had the early diagnosis, and the eldest was nominated to ask the awkward question.  "How do you want us to deal with this, Dad?  Obviously we're worried, but we'll go along with however you want to handle it."

I told Mum but I think she's forgotten since the dementia took hold.  (Or maybe she's just being war-generation stoic.)  So we don't talk about it in front of her.  Just as we never discussed the hassle with the housing association until it was all resolved.

There's a time and a place for everything.
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Artemis Quark

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Re: Taming the tunnel. Plus the flying jeans. Mysterious forces were afoot.
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2017, 11:46:52 AM »
There's a time and a place for everything.

True. Sending good, healing karma in your direction.

AQ

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Taming the tunnel. Plus the flying jeans. Mysterious forces were afoot.
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2017, 03:47:35 PM »
True. Sending good, healing karma in your direction.

AQ

Always appreciated.
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1