I am going through the full IRF4 myeloma study for the umptieth time, but it has been sizzling hot in Florence today,Peekaboo, July 2008 and I confess that I have not felt inspired (to revise my IRF4 draft etc.). Today the heat wave that has been plaguing Florence for way too long reached the level of Red Alert or Stage 3 (again!). Ah yes, it’s HOT. Hot and damp. We are lucky to live in a green area of Florence, but even so we are not happy campers. My cats are even less happy, even though Peekaboo looks quite perky in this photo that I took of her yesterday.


Well, life goes on…in spite of the heat.


Yesterday afternoon I went to a downtown clinic to have an MRI of my spine. Unlike last time (2005), though, I didn’t fall asleep only to be startled awake at a certain point by a rather loud snort…well, ok, by my very own loud snort, hehe! I mean, REALLY, Margaret…snoring inside the MRI machine…! wink smiley


No, this time I was slid inside a different machine. Unlike the 2005 MRI machine that was open at the sides, this was a closed machine that looked like a slender and long space capsule (I have read that the results from an open MRI are less accurate, by the way).


I didn’t mind the fact that it was closed. What I did mind was the tremendous NOISE: it was like being right on the stage of a very loud punk rock/heavy metal concert…not my favourite kind of music, either…boomboomboom! I wore ear mufflers provided by the very considerate MRI technician who also put a cushion under my legs so I would be more comfortable. But even with the mufflers, the noise was deafening.


When the noise began, I thought I might have to keep calm by doing some deep abdominal breathing but, as it turned out, I was quite relaxed through the entire procedure, which took about 40 minutes. To distract myself from being bored to bits, from the noise and also from the heat that I started feeling under my back (heat generated by the machine, not the weather this time…), I visited a few of the “happy places” in my mind. In other words, I meditated.


At the top of my “happy place” list is definitely Farne Island, Northumberland, UK. That’s where Stefano and I went last April mainly to see the puffins (see my blog header photo of a puffin; I took that photo, btw). That is where I experienced something that I can only attempt to portray as pure happiness…standing in the middle of the island with puffins whizzing all around and above me. Yes, pure bliss. The feelings I experienced on Farne Island were and are beyond description. And ever since then, whenever I meditate and decide to “visit” a happy place in my mind, that happy place is always Farne Island.


Anyway, mainly thanks to the powers of meditation, the MRI was no big deal. As I mentioned, perhaps a bit on the boring side (now, why can’t DVD players be installed inside those things? I wouldn’t have minded watching a bit of the BBC “Pride and Prejudice” series again…or of “Chocolat”…or even listening to some soothing classical music…). Smiley face


MRI results next week. No worries!


  1. I took my own music…..Bobby Brown…… And that helped alot! the clanking in there was hard to take, so I just had them turn up the volume! Sorry it is so hot there with no AC! try rubbing ice cubes on your neck and wrists and hydrate!

  2. Snort away,Margaret; better than quaking.

    You take an expert photograph,too.Did you know that the puffin’s
    Latin name is Fratercula Arctica, meaning little brother of the
    North (or Arctica)?
    Arctica is obvious but little brother?It’s because their plumage
    resembled the garb of the monks (the brethren) of the Abbey.
    Nice to think that ornithologists have a sense of humour.

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