Today was all about the MRI. We started the day in a relaxed enough way; a leisurely breakfast in the morning room of the hotel where we were lucky enough to meet the administrative director of the EuroMedic clinic; a fantastically competent and energetic 43 year-old we call “Greg” as that seems to be as close as we can ge to the pronunciation of his name, at least with only a coffee break’s worth of practice.
After Andrew got some park-side footage of us ruminating on life, love, and multiple sclerosis, we parted from him for a few hours while we toured the downtown, changing money and delighting in the old-world atmosphere of Katowice, a city the Poles call “not attractive”. We beg to differ! Very atmospheric old streets and squares– your footsteps echo off the old stone buildings with the kind of portent and mystery Orson Welles captured so well a few hundred miles away in Vienna, for the his amazing “Third Man” film of the early 50s. Last night I half expected some zither music to break out as I strode through the expressionistic shadows the statues outside Silesian National Threatre were throwing on the adjacent cobblestone alley under a fog-shrouded half-moon.
At 3,45 we were picked up and driven down yet another velvet-smooth Polish motorway in some super-fast Mercedes SUV to the town about 30 KM away where the MRI clinic is located. Once there, and some basic paperwork completed, it was decided I would go first into the long tube of the scanner , for a procedure described by others as the “longest loudest MRI ever”. It was pretty loud, and the vibrations were intense – my abdomen was throbbing like Homer Simpson’s in full hot-dog withdrawal, and I felt sure I was moving so much I would throw off the scan and we’d have to start again. But then my Lorezepam seemed to kick in and the machine seemed to get quieter and a lot more polite. I actually fell asleep at one point, I was so mellow. Sooner than I would have thought, it was all over.
Then, instead of being told “your scans will be examined in due course and you physician will be sent the results”, a few minutes later they hand you a CD of the scan to take home for yourself. “Open data” is the practice here; they have expert radiologists that do not feel threatened by putting their data in your hands. I really like that.
So what is next? After having a bite at the restaurant in the adjacent shopping mall we are getting ready to turn in for the night, and nothing more to eat or drink until the 8.00 am blood tests are over. After that, we’ll meet with the specialist who will tell us whether our MRIs showed positive for CCSVI. For once we want the tests to say “Yes! Yes, you have the condition”
Because if we don’t, no surgery for us…
We’ll know in 12 hours!