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A brain scan... and then the long wait

I hate going for scans, but most of all I hate going for brain scans. The very thought of it is enough to bring on a headache.

I underwent the scan because I had lost hearing in my right ear and there was no sign of it coming back. The only good thing about a brain scan is you can keep your clothes on and don't have to wear one of those awful hospital gowns that gape where they shouldn't.

Once you enter the darkened MRI room you might as well be on another planet.



The silence feels physical as the radiologist hooks you up and then there is that sense of isolation when they depart the room, leaving you lying on your back cocooned in the middle of a massive machine that suddenly starts to make loud and truly frightening noises. So loud, in fact, that you are given ear muffs to help deflect the sound.

In this machine, a mirror has been placed just above my head and angled so that I can see the radiologist in the next room and so lessen the chance that I might have a panic attack.

I'm not sure whether this is a good idea or a bad one. All I do is watch his face as the machine cracks on and does its job.

He frowns a little and I wonder, has he spotted a tumour. He turns and laughs with a colleague and I feel a little better. Then he frowns again. Oh no, what has he spotted now?

The whole process takes about 20 minutes as every part of the brain is scrutinised and then you have to wait until your next appointment with the consultant to get the results.



Having had many scans, you would think that I would be used to them by now, but I'm not. It's exhausting and terrifying sitting in that vacuum of not knowing.

And then there is that enormous sense of relief to be told the scan is clear and what he thinks has happened is that the nerve endings in my ear have been permanently damaged, probably due to a virus.

"Did they count your marbles and see if you had lost any?" asked Patsy. This is a new one because all the previous week she had been wondering if they would find a brain at all.

A subsequent hearing test confirms what the consultant thought.

The nerve ending for transmitting low sounds is totalled which is playing hell with my ear functionality.

"You will need a hearing aid," he says.

"You should get one of those big old- fashioned ear horns," says Patsy.

I'm feeling a distinct lack of sympathy here!