Musical Chairs

The beginnings of a blog! Quite proud of myself, I must say. Although it took 3 dangerously strong mojitos from the Taj Lands End lounge and free wi-fi, I finally made it.

The intial stages of my Stem Cell treatment involved several prep tests, standard procedure for the folks at NG. I arrived early Saturday morning, slept for 4 hours, and awoke at 8 AM to begin what would be a long day of test runs. I was nervous to enter a medical facility in India. Yes, even after spending the better part of 3 years here, this place can still feel very foreign to me, especially in a clinical setting.

My first instinct upon entering the hospital was to shield my mouth with my shawl for fear of catching airborne germs from nearby patients with ‘who-the-hell-knows-what’ sort of diseases. To my surprise, I looked down and could see my reflection in the shiny white marble floors. There was no noticeable odor present, no pushing or shoving… is this real??? The front desk staff was extremely helpful, responsive, even efficient… (Again, I couldn’t help but ask myself if this ‘India’ only existed in this particular hospital in Mumbai).  The receptionist led me to a chair in the waiting area and I pulled out my Kindle, hoping the hilarity of Tina Fey’s Bossypants would soothe any leftover anxiety I had built up for my EMG (electromyogram). I was called in and immediately asked a host of questions. The technicians sensed my nervousness. I propped myself up on the table, ready and willing for whatever came my way… or so I thought. Technician #1 was gentle and prompted me before inserting shock waves of electricity into my muscles. ‘How kind‘, I sneered. I looked over at my Dad and shouted,

“I should have brought those damn headphones”.

Technician # 2 said, “You want music? I have music.”


“Only Hindi tunes though….what do you like?”

“Lady, if only you had the time and I had the patience…Hindi music will do. Anything will at this point, please.”

The technicians continued to shock, poke, inject and test my muscles or (lack thereof), which all in all was not as bad as I had anticipated. It was painful, but the music helped. T2 and I started chatting about Bollywood actors and actresses

“Amir Khan, haaan, very intelligent man”

I told her I preferred him to SRK, who’s just silly (my words) . My father and I left, I thanked them for the music and was on to the next appointment. Testing continued like this till late afternoon, but it wherever I was greeted there was always some form of a musical distraction. Whether it was the high & lows of the MRI machine or the cheesy Vodafone ringtones, having a beat to follow helped make the game of medical testing less painful.