Every 3 months, it’s the same routine. Get the IV started. Flush the saline in, giving that nauseating, mildly reminiscent smell through my bones of a salty day on the Gulf. Surrender myself on the table again, offering my body up to the God of Science Experiments. Stare at the ceiling, contemplating the results that haven’t even been rendered yet, even though my fate is sealed regardless. Count the Hail Mary’s on my knuckles with my arms dutifully above my head as I silently say my rosary with my eyes closed because I can’t stand to look at the machine, diligently falling back on my elementary school teachings of the rosary just in case my fate isn’t entirely sealed yet and this may sway the verdict in my favor.
Except this time, it was a bit different.
You have to hold your breath in the machine at various times so, as I’ve learned, your chest doesn’t move and the machine can capture your organs more easily. It makes it easier for the radiologist to see what’s going on, or, hopefully, what’s not going on. It’s usually a woman’s voice instructing you when to hold your breath and when to breathe again. It took me a few scans to realize it was a recording. I’ve had my scans done at literally every radiology group in Vegas, and at UCLA. Same machine, same recording.
But this time, it was a new office, and this time, it was a British man’s voice. The instructions were the same, but worded a bit differently. I got tickled by what he said when the torturous seconds of holding my breath were over.
“Carry on breathing.”
Seems like such a British thing to say. “Chin up, soldier. Pip pip, cheerio, carry on breathing, you!”
Look, I guess it’s not really that funny. But I have to find my humor somewhere, y’all.
It struck me as I lay in the machine – carry on breathing. Seems to apply to more than just finally being able to release my breath in the machine.
Hold your breath and wait for your scan results. Carry on breathing because there’s nothing you can do but to ride the wave.
Hold your breath and see what the doctor has to say this time. Carry on breathing because all you can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Hold your breath and wait for your life to stop falling apart. Carry on breathing because what more can you do?
Carry on breathing. Alright, Mr. CT Scan Man. Point taken.
PS – My scans were fine. Another clean scan. Thank God.