“You’re causing havoc young lady!” Oh joy, my favourite thing to hear about myself when in a hospital. This, I guess, will be the story of the MRI that never was.
It took us almost two hours to get to central London, to the specialist heart hospital that deals with Skippy and his “bad habits” as I call them. I was wary about being at the hospital with my dad because his moods change like the wind and me breathing seems to get on his nerve some days (we don’t get on most of the time). I was sort of on edge already as a result of this, watching his mood, waiting for frustration to emerge and for him to get all aggressive and humiliate me (or ignore me, which is by far my preferred response). Instead, he bought a cup of coffee and a cookie and after that he was pretty chill.
We arrived at the cardiac imaging department at 10:00. The appointment was rescheduled, and specifically rearranged to occur in the morning as I have another appointment to get to this afternoon back in Kent. The letter I received told me my MRI would be at 10:15. I don’t mind MRI scanners. I do mind cardiac MRIs, because I get all funny about being stuck in that stupid tube thing. It is ridiculous, but I freak out a little. Anyway, I was dreading the entire scan thing as it was, let alone when the receptionist looked up at me and said, “Your appointment is at 2pm. You’re very early.” This was, everyone told me, their screw up, not mine, and so they took me through then anyway and said they would fit me in.
I wandered around and reluctantly changed into the standard hospital chic – a gown and the trousers from a set of scrubs. In the process, I painted everything red. Seriously. The (totally benign) growth up my nose (that I really should probably tell someone about already) has a mass of blood vessels all over its surface, and bleeds fairly frequently. However, I’ve never had a nosebleed like this one. It poured before I even had time to figure out what was going on. It splashed onto the gown and pooled in the hand I raised to catch it and went everywhere. I went out and put my stuff in the locker, then attempted to clean myself up in a bathroom and sat down next to another person waiting for an MRI. He was alarmed at all the blood and told me to go and tell someone. I did. They freaked out. I found this a little hilarious, and also highly unnecessary. I ended up with the senior radiographer and a nurse both bringing me water and bits of gauze and trying to stem the flow. When I washed my hands again afterwards, I reminded myself of Lady MacBeth washing her hands after she’s murdered that guy (the English Literature student in me couldn’t help but be reminded of Shakespeare, forgive me).
I went and sat back down, cannula in situ (took multiple attempts, ended up having to have a size they usually use for children, but hey, for once someone got a line in me!). I was the youngest person there by a mile. I love observing people and I sat in a corridor with other people all gowned up watching them hold cannulated limbs up in the air and act as though they had been fatally wounded. They wouldn’t use the arms with their cannulas in, they walked holding them like they’d broken an arm. One woman took a lot of selfies making sure she held up the cannula to be in all of them. People who haven’t been in hospital before really amuse me when they end up cannulated or whatever. Everything was such a big deal to them. It was kind of sweet. The staff kept checking up on me as some 73 year old man told anyone and everyone his life story, and over the two hours that I sat there I met some lovely and amazing people with the crappiest health I’ve ever heard of. We all talked and laughed.
But yeah, I sat there for two hours in total. After just over an hour they came to take me through to the MRI scanner, and I was all “by the way I have this line in me can I have an MRI with that?” The answer was no, I could not. Bob Jr. had been disconnected for an hour so my blood sugar levels were going all haywire. The nurse woman poked her head into the big dark room with a two-way mirror that looked into the MRI suite. It was full of computer screens and a few doctors analysing MRI scans. A youngish (early 30s?), good looking, and amazingly kind and friendly doctor came and spoke to me. He understood the complexity of my health hiccups just from the stuff I’d been given to deal with them all. He said he didn’t want to endanger my health or make things worse just for the sake of an MRI, and that I needed Bob Jr. back, ideally as soon as possible. But in order to have the MRI, I had to take Bob Jr.’s needle thing out, and I didn’t have a spare because I was told I was fine to go in an MRI scanner with it (which was WRONG).
“How quickly do you usually deteriorate… Tell me honestly.” It was almost like the guy knew I was going to trie and feed him some vague answer to throw him off the subject. He was friendly that he didn’t feel like a doctor, so I worked with him. I went and sat back in the corridor after we discussed health hiccups and how my diabetes can very quickly effect them.
“You’re causing havoc young lady!” He walked over to find me back in the corridor a few minutes later, crouched down next to me so he was lower down than I was (which, for all you doctors out there, goes a long way in making you feel less intimidating, it was like this guy knew I had PTSD and was terrified of him). He had a chat about the shenanigan and how the complexities of me were complicating everything. They phones specialist nurses and called another doctor to the imaging suite who they thought may have more knowledge in other areas (bad time to be in a specifically heart hospital). He came back and forth updating me and chatting to me, holding up all the people who were meant to be scanned after me by an additional half an hour.
When he found out how far I had travelled he became determined that he was finding a way to do the scan. I had spent the entire time shaking because that’s what hospitals do to me, and I think he noticed that. My heart was annoyed at the chronic presence of adrenaline, and I’d started to get dizzy and my shoulder hurt. My heart was beating at around 160bpm while I sat in a chair, which would be fine if it was also not being a poop and making my ankles swell wildly as a result of its inability to shift my blood. Eventually we aborted this attempt at the MRI. Everyone else had to wait ages for a nurse to take their cannula out, but the awesome doctor took me into the MRI room and took my cannula out himself (or rather, while he got his gloves on I mostly removed it myself and he tried to persuade me to wait, eventually succeeding by pointing out that I would “spring a leak” if he wasn’t ready with the gauze). The senior radiographer felt really sorry about everything. Dr Awesome kept apologising over and over too and when I said sorry he told me it definitely was nothing to do with me and apologised instead. Every time he spoke to me he crouched down so that he was looking up at me, which was actually really… Calming. It made him less scary. Plus he had a nice voice, sounds weird I know but some people just have nice voices.
Anyway, they wanted me back as soon as possible as it was meant to be an urgent MRI and had taken a month or two already due to administrative errors which completely skipped over the “urgent” part. So… I have to be back in the MRI department at 7:45 tomorrow morning… That means we have to leave home at 6. When, after three hours, I wandered back out and explained this to my dad, he was far from impressed. I think he wanted to march round and argue with them, but I persuaded him to leave. Dr Awesome thought he was going to see me tomorrow, and said that things would be alright and he’d see me soon, then realised that he’s in a different department tomorrow. He said his colleague is really nice and he will hand over to her so that she knows I’m now first on tomorrow’s list and knows all the health hiccup stuff which I guess he magically knew from my notes.
So the terror is stretched out for another day. I slept the entire way home involuntarily, occasionally waking for a few seconds to see a different traffic jam in a different part of London, or to hear my dad shouting rude things at cars that had cut us off. It was an involuntary sleep. The adrenaline rush I’d been riding for hours was so exhausting, and I slept so little last night, that when the immediate fear was finally out of the way for today, I crashed.
I got home and my dog flew at me and gave me ALL THE CUDDLES…
And now… On to the next appointment (seriously, I have to go).
I’m dreading this one. Dreading it. I’m going to hear things about my body that I don’t want to hear and I’m done with different appointments right now.
No way but through though. I’m lucky as hell.