In truth, I’m rather dreading today.
I’m writing this blog on the train heading up to Imperial College where, in the name of scientific research, I’m due to have a couple of brain scans. One is a regular CT jobby, which will be fine. It will last about half an hour in all but they do it in short blasts – ten minutes at the most – so you can wriggle in between. There are pretty good headphones and cleverly placed mirrors so that it’s not claustrophobic. I’ll adopt Ma’s trick of trying to think of people with a particular first name. In honour of Wolf Hall, I’m going to start with famous Anns; and then Henrys.
The other is a vastly expensive PET scan which involves being injected with some radioactive stuff and then having to lie still for an hour and a half while they attempt to locate your brain. I’ve done it once before, you might remember, and attempted to make the time pass by listening to an Agatha Christie, though I did drift off to sleep in the middle and woke up as Hercule was revealing who had dunnit, though what they had dunn is a mystery to this day.
I did eventually get sent a photo of my brain with all the radioactive bits glowing. InfantPhenomenon suggested I took it into school and asked my class for suggestions about how to fix it, as a D and T project. I can’t say I’m actually looking forward to the PET scan but I guess this, too, will pass.
No, the thing that is making me anxious about today is being given levodopa – that’s the dopamine substitute – which is going to happen part way through the day, as they need to measure some things before and after taking the drug. Until recently, I took a small dose of levodopa three times a day, in the form of a drug called Sinemet. It stopped my tremor but at the expense of feeling a bit grotty during the period when the drug kicks in. So I decided to see how I was without it, and found that – at the moment, at least –the symptoms are less troublesome than the side-effects.
However, as part of last week’s assessment for this trial, I was given a substantial dose of the stuff and it hit me hard, especially on the journey home. I’ll spare you the details but if you’ve ever felt nauseous on the Central Line in the rush hour, you’ll share my pain. Just to say that I am in mourning for my hat. I loved that hat.
Everyone ignored me, of course. It reminded me a bit of the time when, sitting in a rather hot Quaker Meeting House, I saw the elderly lady opposite gently slide to the floor. Her neighbour rested her head on a nearby hassock and we all continued to seek the Inner Light.
I’m at East Acton now. Deep breaths. Ann of Cleeves. My Aunty Ann. Ann Widdecombe…
I am now on my way home, pecking out this paragraph with one hand; the other being rather dramatically bandaged up where I had an arterial cannula put in it. The remaining wound will, I am assured, be no trouble at all. Unless the clot gets knocked, in which case I’m under instructions to raise it in the air whilst pushing down hard on the wound and getting myself to A and E.
ActorLaddie came up to meet me and has brought with him a plastic bag, as a hat substitute. It’s a little loose round the ears.
Good luck. You are very brave!