Well, yesterday featured the dreaded MRI (IRM) check-up. Yes. The day they lock your head in a cage and blast it full of magnetic things, and somehow manage to put pictures on computers that other people look at.
The hour-long repetitive booming noise has a definite rock-concert edge to it. My head being full of Aretha Franklin tribute tunes, at one point I found myself humming R-E-S-P-E-C-T, but I don’t think anyone except the technician heard.
Anyway, I am pleased to report some startling changes at the main Geneva Hospital.
First of all, they don’t like patients coming early and sitting in waiting rooms anymore. This might be explained as an attempt to avoid getting ill by breathing killer hospital germs, but really it is because there is a lot of loose staff that don’t have chairs behind counters to sit on, so they like to sit in the little waiting rooms and chat.
The friendly receptionist sends you, the patient, up to the Hospital Garden on the first floor, extolling its pleasant atmosphere and shady, breezy spaces. You are warned not to fall asleep and to back on the dot of your allotted machine-tube torture time.
Well, there were some little trees in the garden, but there was also a definite California forest-fire edge to things: The entire hospital staff was out there smoking. There was no wind to blow off the thick, stinking, grey cigarette-smoke cloud.
Unfortunately, conversations carried razor-sharp through the tobacco fug, and my innocent, apprehensive ears heard about intubations, operations, and the hideous medical surprises that had enriched everyone’s morning.
When some rather poorly patients arrived in wheelchairs with oxygen bottles attached, and pulled out their cigarette packs, I felt it was really time to go.
Another great change is that you get to see your specialist on the exact same day as your examination. For this, you are allowed to sit in the waiting room, but only because HE is late and you are NOT early.
To keep you entertained and informed there are video images of nice, clean, young, happy people being put into MRI tubes by other nice clean, young, happy people. Even the lady who got not only a cage, but what looked like a mesh net over her head, was grinning like it was the biggest joke in the whole world.
Unfortunately, the neurologist arrived before I could finish watching the bit about how, these days, there are medical interventions (operations with real scalpels) while you are inside the machine. I did, though, catch the bit about there being no anaesthetic and their huge success rate.
These medical information videos replace the old nature documentaries where you could see lions jumping on wildebeest and eating them alive before the hyena and vultures came in to finish off their brains and eyeballs.
I hope to be able to report future hospital entertainment improvements in exactly five years’ time. All suggestions welcome.