and back to the rambling. Again, I am writing this to get it out of my head (the temptation to say 'off my chest' is quite strong here) so the tl;dr version is above, basically. And the story of the first one is here, which deals with the mechanics of the experience in case anyone else out there is claustrophobic and getting ready to have one.
I remembered everything, which is good - previous dossier, the contrast solution, rainbow socks because they cheer me up. We had a slight difficult second album moment as the woman putting the line in couldn't find a vein at the first attempt, which meant switching to the other arm (not ideal, as that's the one that's a mess, but bless her she didn't even blink, and mostly just seemed mortified that she hadn't got in first time and that she might be hurting me). As a result of this she was extremely solicitous in the machine room, when I refused the headphones, and the alternative offer of earplugs, saying "but Madame, it will destroy your ears!". I finally convinced her that it was fine, that it was fine last time, that it was fine, and away we went.
This time my elbows scraped the inside of the tunnel. This wasn't as scary as I would have imagined. When I opened my eyes, I could vaguely (no glasses, natch) see outside the tunnel, or at least that the outside of the tunnel was there. This was also comforting. As was the blanket that they put over my legs because it is damn chilly in one of those things.
I got three songs this time. Being mildly less stressed than last time, I was able to discern more from the noise. Not just chunk-chunk-chunk but definite tone changes and the occasional top-end industrial guitar-type noise. Again it was quite hypnotic, and not having frozen legs this time certainly helped in the drifting-off department.
They seem to have changed their procedure slightly, perhaps connected to last time when I got sent back out into the waiting room to await the verdict, where they promptly forgot about me, and, being British, I just sat there. This time, I was stationed in a chair just outside the techs' office - and the machine room - to speak to the doctor. This meant, as one woman left the machine room and they left the door open before the next woman went in, that I was able to get a look at this thing - with glasses - for the first time. Siemens do a lot of good stuff, don't they? When my washing machine packs up I'm definitely buying one of theirs. It's like something from a sci-fi film. A room that felt small when I walked in must be pretty big in reality. You can also hear the chunk-chunk-chunk from outside in the corridor, without the nuances of what you can hear in the tunnel. I wonder if the techs are occasionally driven mad by the noise and have to take personal time.
Anyway. Doctor - different from last time - says I have a fibro-something, but this is nothing to worry about, that it is both 'benign' and 'stable', ironically the absolute opposite of my mood over the last week or so, so the next check-up in six months will not involve an MRI. Just a mammogram / sonogram. Bleah. Weirdly, the trip to that clinic was more claustrophobic than being slid into a big tunnel, as they left me in a windowless changing cabin for what felt like ages and I had to distract myself from hyperventilating with the available reading material (a guidance poster in a dozen languages) so I now know how to say 'bra' in Vietnamese. But this is clearly a good thing overall so I will just deal with that when it comes.
My utter thanks again to Caroline for coming with me, and showing me a fabulous new shop on the way back into town, and Gareth and Felix for joining us for lunch.
So, again - friends, be it tits or balls, check yourselves. And if something seems weird, get checked out.