for an MRI scan

December 12, 2018

mri scan20181212_13251627-1


… was a pair of leggings, a soft wool sweater – it gets cold in that long white coffin – no bra (all that metal), my daughter’s sleep mask so I wouldn’t catch a glimpse of the scary underside of that long white coffin and the best,best-ever accessory for a forty minute scan in a long white coffin: 5 mg of diazepam.

I can’t recommend the last item highly enough.

It made me so relaxed, filled me with such a sense of well-being, even as I lay there with my head jammed into a don’t-move-an-inch clamp affair, that when the nurse cooed through the speaker, ‘You’re doing so well, do you mind if we inject you with dye and run a few more tests?’ I cooed back, ‘Go to town, honey.’

The diazepam, brand name, Valium, which I think is a lovely, soothing tag, was still doing its job when I floated home from the scan.  So much so that I barely flinched when the neurologist called me 30 minutes later –30 minutes later: we all know what that kind of prompt response means — to say they’d found a big wodge of calcified matter in the middle of my spinal column.

It was benign, the neurologist said. The surgeon would tell me more.

The surgeon?

You could say this was the moment the Valium stopped working.

A great deal flashes through your mind at such times.

The word calcified, that was one thought.

It made me think of fossils.

As in, I’m walking around with a fossil in my spine.

An ammonite or a trilobite.

At various points in my life I’ve grown, internally speaking, various entities – babies and ulcers, even a squishy thing shaped like a cigar on my clavicle– but I was having trouble getting a handle on this, the idea –the presence– of a calcified wodge.

The neurologist was still talking, reasonably citing medical details, appointment times.

I cut her off.

I know it was rude but I wanted to grab hold of something she’d said at the start of the conversation, something mildly encouraging.

‘It’s benign?’ I said. ‘You’re telling me it’s benign?’

‘It’s benign,’ she said.

‘Tell me again.’

‘It’s benign.’

I asked her to tell me again.

I asked her several times.

Okay, eleven times

By the eleventh time I believed her.

I decided to name it:

little dead alien.


Name it, own it.





3 Responses to “for an MRI scan”

  1. Linty Moffatt Says:

    What a relief! Lovely to see WIWW again. Maybe see you at Mike & Julia’s Party next week? If not a Very Merry Christmas. Linty & Keith.


  2. simonecas Says:

    Lovely writing. Good luck…

  3. rhollick Says:

    All best wishes as treatment moves forward. We are thinking of you.

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