I went to the Hospital last week for an EMG. That is an Electromysomethingorothergram, for the uninitiated. The doctor bore more than a passing resemblance to Matt Lucas in looks, mannerisms and voice. All of which I have to say I found a little disconcerting.
‘Hi. My name’s Steve.’ He said by way of introduction
‘And you’re …’ He glanced at his notes. ‘… Andrew. Lovely! Now let’s have a look at this arm shall we?’ and took me through to a room, where sitting next to a bed was a computer attached to lots of little wires.
It just so happens that I have had one of these nasty little tests before, so I knew what was coming. I remember the jolts of electricity from electrodes placed on the skin going down my arm, causing individual muscles to fire and jumping about like a cat on a hot tin roof in response. Then the needles which were stuck into the muscles which are stimulated by movement of the arm or by wiggling the needle in its site and readings taken. Not neccesarily painful, but extremely uncomfortable.
‘The test is designed to check muscle and nerve connectivity and shouldn’t take too long. All right?’ He said in his Matt Lucas voice. Yeah right, let’s get it over and done with, I thought. Now needles I can take. I mean I wouldn’t jab them into myself for laughs, but since having had to self-inject every day for four months, I don’t have a problem with them. So he stuck the needle into eight or ten sites, and the electrical activity in the muscle was recorded. It was the part of the test designed to measure general muscle activity which is done via the electrodes which caused the trouble. It reminds me of when we were kids and used to hold on to farmers’ electric fences (as you do)
Each time Doctor Steve presses a little button – barely concealed in his chubby hand: I hit the roof. He begins to show signs of frustration, as I am hopping about so much he is finding it difficult to get a reading. In fact during the course of one particularly extended series of shocks, he definitely gives me a glare. As if to say: ‘Come on, get a grip’. What neither he nor I realise is that this is because he hasn’t switched it off while he is taking his readings. So I am rewarded by the sight of him jumping about three feet into the air as he goes to peel the electrode off my hand and completes the circuit. He looked flustered. More by his own discomfort than mine I suspect.
I am minded to say something about Health and Safety, but decide to let it lie.
Copyright 2013 Andy Daly