Thursday, 16 April 2009

Part 28 - PETrifying


It’s been two weeks since The Sun debacle now. Two weeks in which I’ve physically attacked countless strangers who I’ve seen reading The Sun, screamed abuse at anyone who I’ve seen outside in sunlight and ceremoniously set fire to a packet of sunflower seeds every night which I then proceed to dance around whilst cackling. They’ve still not actually paid me or even replied to my emails since I wrote the last blog, but it will hopefully be taken care of soon. Thank you to anyone who offered advice, but I imagine that taking legal action against News International would result in me being the unwitting subject of an unrelenting kiss-and-tell smear campaign.

Anyway, away with such showbiz matters. Yesterday was the day of my almighty, country-spanning voyage to Aberdeen for the second phase of my tediously drawn-out scanning. After travelling for a full two hours, an epic journey probably only rivalled by Moses and Israelites, we arrived at the forebodingly-titled Nuclear Medicine Unit. This was only momentarily worrying however, as we were soon led through to the more heart-warmingly named Aberdeen PET Centre. It was unlike any pet centre I had ever seen before though as, instead of being welcomed by a fleet of tiny kittens, I found myself surrounded by massive, framed images of disembodied lungs that were riddled with cancer.

A few minutes transpired before a nurse beckoned me into the scanning area, so I gave my book and my MP3 player to my Dad to look after. She led me through a dark corridor to some double-doors with the reassuring words of ‘DANGER!’ and ‘RADIOACTIVE!’ plastered all over them, I don’t know why they didn’t put my mind completely at ease by having a man follow me with a sword of fire. Half-expecting to see everyone in full biochemical regalia, I found two friendly-faced nurses there instead. “Don’t you have a MP3 player or a book? You’ll be lying about for over an hour.” one of them infuriatingly informed me. I bolted back through the corridors of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, exactly like George Clooney in ER, to try and recapture my MP3 player from my inexplicably fleet-footed Father. I must have ran for at least half-a-mile before accepting defeat and returning, only to discover him emerging from the toilets three sodding metres from where I had set off. Ho ho ho. My life is exactly like Scrubs, excluding the fact that my life can sometimes be quite funny.

Clasping my headphones and barely able to breathe, I was taken to a tiny room containing a bed, a needle, a massive painting of a horse and a CCTV camera nestled in the top corner. The nurse reached for the needle and casually informed me that I was about to be injected with a “radioactive solution” to help the scan, as if this was the single most normal occurrence in the world. I would have questioned whether this action had been thought through sufficiently, but my run had rendered me entirely incapable of speech and I was slightly curious to see whether or not I would morph into The Hulk and kill a man the next time I saw someone reading The Sun.

She told me to lie down for an hour to let my “big muscles” relax, barely able to stifle her sarcastic snort, and said that I was to “stay still and chill out” as she switched off the lights and left the room. Apparently, it wouldn’t work properly if I moved at all and the camera was there so they could be certain that I wasn’t secretly performing ribbon gymnastics to spite them. I don’t know how you personally choose to relax, but I’d wager it doesn’t involve being pumped full of radioactive waste whilst being under constant surveillance, running the risk of a nurse bursting in to beat you with a giant stick if you so much as sneeze. I lay completely rigid for an hour, under the leering gaze of a stranger and the massive painting of a horse which appeared to grow increasingly sinister as time went on.

The hour came and went and I was fetched to finally undergo the PET scan. It was going to take about half an hour so I was given a selection of CDs to choose from which were, without exception, mind-sappingly shit. There were seven obscure classical albums and, even worse, one ‘Songs From The Shows’. I had little desire to undergo the procedure to the sound of the razmataztical soundtrack from Chicago, so I chose an assortment of classical music from a few films which I recognised. My head was put in a big vice and my body was tightly strapped to the table as I was mechanically inched through a big hoop, much like a disabled performing dolphin. I used that line in a past blog but it made me laugh so much I had little option not to shoehorn it into a blog any time it’s even remotely appropriate.

For a less cool customer than me, this scan could easily be quite stressful and claustrophobic - I couldn’t move at all and the roof of the machine was only about an inch above my head. I presume this is why they give the option of having some music, to act as a lovely, serene escape from what you’re experiencing. This worked quite well for a few tracks, but it all went disastrously wrong when I found myself trapped inside this machine with the main theme from The Omen blaring out behind my head. If you haven’t heard this, click here and wait for roughly forty seconds. It’s absolutely terrifying. The kind of booming, climactic, biblically evil music that you’d expect to hear during a film scene of the devil himself cackling atop a flaming mountain of corpses. I was in a dark room, alone, physically bound to a piece of machinery, my head trapped in a vice, unable to move whatsoever, inside a tiny pitch-black tunnel, with Lucifer’s fucking orchestra screeching directly into my ears. It was as if I was on a stairlift leading directly to the seventh layer of hell.

What seemed like thirty-six years passed when, finally, the traumatised patient was cajoled off his perch and set off on the long journey home. Waking nightmares ensued for twenty-four hours.

Results next Thursday.

In the meantime, here's an article that I did for Hecklerspray this week which infuriated many Oasis fans. You can see my writing being lambasted here.