Recently I spent some time in hospital for a series of tests and examinations. These included an MRI scan. When I was told that I was to have this scan, I immediately started to panic.

I knew what an MRI scan entailed. The patient, lying on a stretcher, is fed into a narrow tunnel in a very large machine. He or she must remain immobile throughout the scan which may last from fifteen to thirty minutes and during which a series of unpleasant loud noises is heard.

My apprehension did not concern these loud noises, but simply the fact of being fed into the narrow tunnel. I was terrified that I might have a fit of claustrophobia and be carried away screaming, and that was only one of the worst-case scenarios that I imagined.

So the day before the scan, I asked the nurse if it would be possible to give me some sort of anxiolytic. She seemed to find my request very normal and the following day I was presented with a small pill to be taken half an hour before the scan. This I did; but without feeling entirely convinced of its effectiveness.

After that I remember only being taken down a corridor in a wheelchair. The rest is a black hole

No memory of going into the MRI room.

No memory of seeing the big machine with its tunnel.

No memory of entering the tunnel on a stretcher.

No memory of the loud noises.

No memory of being taken out of the tunnel and back to my room; where I regained consciousness some time later.
How long had it all taken?

I had no idea. It was all a complete blank.

A slice of my life which I should never know.

They certainly have some powerful tranquilisers at the hospital !!!

August 2021


Beverly Barbey

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