Shades of (Soylent) Green…

“I thought this was part of making you well,” said my son. “I’m not sure pumping you full of dye is healthy.” I’m none too sure either, but an ‘MRI scan with contrast’ was what the doc had ordered, so off I trotted to the designated medical facility… not a hospital, but one of these outsourced places that have more money and better decor than the NHS… and shorter waiting lists. The time between appointment and scan needed to be minimal, as this has been going on for months, and while I am not expecting the worst, the doc wanted to make sure my optimism is well-founded.

The fact that said facility meant tackling two solid hours of rush hour traffic and travelling to a distant town was not great, but I remembered all the shortcuts and rat-runs from my white van driving days and managed the drive without too much hassle. Feeling quite pleased with how my memory of the roads had held up after fifteen years, I walked through the glass doors that opened silently before me.

Comfortable chairs, a smiling receptionist…barely a minute’s wait before I was called… I should have known this was all going too smoothly…

“Have you ever seen a film called Soylent Green?” I asked as they stuck the cannula in my arm and my head in a cradle that effectively prevented me from moving. The ceiling of the room held a beautiful photographic image of blue sky and wispy clouds, framed in silver birch and cherry blossom.  They answered that they had not. I recommended that they should…

Feeling that the situation looked far too much like the famous scene where Edward G Robinson’s ‘Sol’ met his demise, my ears were bunged with earplugs, headphones piped in soothing music and my knees were propped up, immobilising me even further.

“How long is this likely to take?” I squeaked from within the narrow, white tube that already felt like a coffin. Previous scans have not taken all that long… mind you, they did not require me to be shoved unceremoniously and head first into the scanner either.

“Not much more than half an hour or so…” was the all-too-vague reply…

Now, I am not generally claustrophobic. I had quite happily squeezed into a tiny play-tent with my granddaughters the night before, and believe me, that is enough for anyone to feel the need for space… But the moment you are enclosed in a white metal tube that seems too tight for movement, there is an inevitable moment of panic. Childhood nightmares return as flashbacks, born of reading Alan Garner’s account of squeezing through narrow caves  in search of the Wierdstone of Brisingamen. You are cut off from the world, there is no escape…

Then the head-cage comes down and a mirror allows you to see the illusion of your feet. And you know it is an illusion, created by a clever sequence of mirrors… but the illusion is comforting, even if it is disconcerting to have reality debunked quite so graphically.

For the next fifteen minutes or so, I contemplated that, as whirrs, bangs, buzzes and clicks overrode all else. Life itself is an illusion, painted upon perception by the senses, but we cling to it because it is all we have known from the moment of our birth. We cannot imagine a life that does not contain some vestige of ‘us’ within it, and how should we? We have never known a universe in which we were not present…

“Okay, time for the contrast…” The voice cut into my reverie. At least I’d get a break now. They could maybe cover my feet too, as the cold was creeping up… more shades of Soylent Green

But no… they had attached a long tube to the cannula so they did not need to remove me from the bigger tube, and, so they told me, so they did not come into contact with the stuff they were now pumping into my veins… This I found less than reassuring…

While they tell you why they are pumping this stuff in your veins, they don’t actually tell you what it may or may not do. You sign the consent form before they make these disquieting comments about not wanting to touch the stuff. And there is not much you can do if they mention the possible side-effects and when to seek urgent medical attention as the fluid is coursing through your veins…

The noise started again, drowning the pleasant music.

It is a trust thing. We trust those who ‘know’ to do the best for us. We make an informed decision, place ourselves in their hands and usually we are right to do so. But no human being knows everything, life is a series of infinite variables and we can all get it wrong. The only authority we can trust absolutely is that Higher Authority that knows what we need, not what we want, whether we see that Authority as being part of our own higher self or as an external intelligence.

“All done,” said the nurse, removing me from the tube and the tube from my arm. “Hmm.. just put some pressure on that would you?” as the bleeding failed to stop. Then, “Erm…” as we realised I couldn’t put pressure on anything as I could not move, being caught up in the sliding bed mechanism by the ties on my sweater.

Disentangled, oozing red beneath the third bandage and glad to be gone from beneath that Soylent ceiling, I made my escape. How long before my doc gets to be reassured?

“Ah, it may take a while to get all the way through to your doctor…” The ‘system’ apparently. “You should hear in two or three weeks…”


If I appear to be a little quiet at the moment, blame an interruption to my internet connection… normal service will be resumed as soon as possible…

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in Humour and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Shades of (Soylent) Green…

  1. Darlene says:

    Not sure I could handle this. I am very claustrophobic and wary of medical procedures. All the best for positive results. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ugh, that does not sound pleasant on many levels. I think I was holding my breath while reading about being in the tube. I do hope all turns out okay whenever you do get the results and I hope the powers that be will soon have you driving a new white van around the countryside. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rivrvlogr says:

    Positive thoughts for your results.
    Back in the stone ages, I had a mild allergic reaction to the contrast dye – throat constriction and labored breathing, until I realized throat constriction did not mean I couldn’t actually breathe. Years later – maybe 15 years ago – I had no reaction and I was told the formula had changed. Yeah! Too bad it din’t make the process any shorter.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Does not sound nice at all, music or not. Hope all is OK.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Charming, indeed. (and visualizing all sorts of charms including 4 leaf clovers to “assist” the results in being good)
    Oddly I do understand completely what you said about the relative “quiet” time without any demands able to be pestering.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. scifihammy says:

    It sounds like a thoroughly unpleasant experience; I bet you’re glad it’s over. I hope the results, when you finally get them, are good.
    And yes, I remember Soylent Green. Excellent movie. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mary Smith says:

    I’ve never seen the film. The clip you provided is intriguing. I don’t fancy having an MRI scan. I’m not particularly clautrophobic but hate the thought of not being able to move. Hope the result matched your own optimism.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jenanita01 says:

    This all sounded absolutely terrifying! And three weeks is far too long to wait!


  9. pvcann says:

    Daunting, but even more daunting is Soylent Green, a truly worrying film.


  10. Adele Marie says:

    Hope it’s a positive outcome, having to endure the torture of M.R.I. scans I sympathise with how you felt. Soylent Green scared the crap out of me when I saw it on T.V. probably too young to see it with my imagination. xxx


  11. Back when I didn’t have a metal implanted pacemaker, I used to fall asleep in the tube. They ran so many of them on me, all that pounding became sort of musical in a loud way and I would just drift off. Of course, they needed a pulley and a winch to get me to sit up afterward.


  12. Widdershins says:

    Having had a couple of those during my cancer diagnosis-and-treatment days, I can sooooo sympathise with you. The oddest thing about my first time was when they tied, very gently and carefully, my big toes together so that my feet would stay upright.
    It is a big question of trust though, isn’t it? … and more about trusting our Selves, that we made the right choice to agree to the procedure, that trust in the other, which we have no control over anyway. 🙂


  13. Jennie says:

    Ah, the pleasures of an MRI – not! Two to three weeks? That’s terrible. With a mask that came down, I assume the MRI was of your head. Hmm…


  14. noelleg44 says:

    I certainly hope all is well, Sue. I’ve been in that tube several times – with some hard work, I can ALMOST self-hypnotize myself into another place. It’s not a pleasant experience…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.