Thursday 6 September 2018

take a picture, what's inside

I don't want to sound dramatic, but my first MRI scan was in a kind-of Eastern Bloc-era iron lung in a pitch black room.

So my MS diagnosis came from a machine which was (in my mind) similar to this image of Agent Jeffries (David Bowie) from Twin Peaks: The Return.

I don't think my brother has ever forgiven me for using a mix CD he'd made for me as the soundtrack to this (genuinely traumatic) experience. I haven't played it since.

The scans I've had ever since have been perfectly lovely, however.

Rooms filled with light, with fresh air pumped into the MRI chambers and absolutely charming staff.

Like all things MS, I get that I'm insanely lucky with this postcode lottery. But again say I - GOD BLESS THE NHS.

It's probably a good job that the MRIs are easier to manage. Because after having one scan in 2005 and not having another one until ten years later, I'm know having them multiple times a year - particularly since starting Tysabri. This is to check for physical signs of Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).

Incidentally, my latest JC virus test came back positive but slightly less so than before. Even though I'll always be considered positive for the JC virus now, it's good to know that it can go up and down.

Not that I can do a damn thing to influence the direction of the count, mind.

I had my latest MRI scan earlier this week. It was pretty brief - around 15 minutes - as I only needed my head doing. I asked if they could play some music into the room to help pass the time - the metronomic soundtrack of 10 loud clangs followed by 14 less emphatic beats gets pretty wearying.

(Yes, I counted them. I said it was a lovely experience, I didn't say it wasn't tedious)

They popped on XFM which happened to be playing "Heart-Shaped Box" by Nirvana. I don't think I've heard that properly since I was researching my dissertation, which was all about the semiotics of alternative music in the mid-1990s.

It might sound like a Mickey Mouse dissertation but I got my degree from a proper University, I'll have you know.

Anyway, it was loud (quiet-loud) enough to cover the MRI. So that worked.

Even though this is inspired by her own experiences of an MRI (IRM in French), Charlotte Gainsbourg's song probably wouldn't have helped all that much.

But this live version is pretty great. And the video is way better than the 1990s MTV monstrosity which accompanied "Heart-Shaped Box".