Radiation Music

I have been a diehard country music fan as long as I can remember. The song “I was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” (Barbara Mandrel) could easily be my theme song.

When my girls were much younger, we had a local radio station that you could call in a pair of songs during the lunch hour to be played back to back. They wanted to send that one paired with “Blame it on Mama (the Jenkins).

Consequently, every time I’ve gone for an MRI or other treatment that they offered music for I would request country.

After the first meningioma surgery, I ended up in ICU. ICU is actually fantastic if you have to spend days in the hospital, so much quieter and the ratio of staff to patients is phenomenal. After that first surgery, every time I moved, I’d be in intense pain. Based on what I had done the pain didn’t make any sense. After several days of trying different things, we decided a brain and spine MRI was in order. The level of pain I was feeling was indicative of a slow leak.

I was scheduled for 4 am for the scan, which is when I typically wake. This was my favorite time slot as typically they would call down; confirm I was good to go and I’d be back in my room before most folks were waking. This particular scan would take about two hours and require lying on an immobilization backboard. For the MRIs to be meaningful, there could be no movement in the images.

As is customary they asked what kind of music I would like and I indicated country. I’m still a huge country music fan but there ought to be a hospital filter on the playlist that keeps to happy songs. Instead what I got was:

If Tomorrow Never Comes (Garth Brookes)

If I Die Young (The Band Perry)

Live Like You Were Dying (Tim McGraw)

How do I Help You Say Goodbye? (Patty Loveless)

Holes in the Floor of Heaven (Steve Wariner)

One More Day (Diamond Rio)

Believe (Brooks & Dunn)

And more songs like that.

Since then I have started asking for Pop Music. I don’t recognize most of what is played and don’t try to follow the words so I’m not sure the playlist is better.

A couple of weeks back, the oncologist let me know during a regular follow-up, one of the other meningiomas was growing. Because they were so small, I qualified for Gamma Knife. Gamma Knife is a one and done radiation treatment. Between MRI and radiation, it is many hours in the tube.  In preparation for this, I opted to work on my meditation skills. This turned out to be a very relaxing playlist. Had it not been for the clanging of the MRI and the slightly uncomfortable position my head was in for the Gamma Knife I likely would have slept most of the day.

The legacy moments of singing (and dancing – particularly dancing in the hall) fill me every time I hear one of those songs.

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