Tag Archives: tom petty

A Zombie Goes Down the MRI Tube

Are you an MS zombie too?

Earlier this week, someone posted the above picture in one of my Facebook MS groups.

(Sorry, fellow MS’er and poster.  I didn’t want to steal your pic but I really liked it and was desperate for a blog post idea.)

I laughed out loud at the picture and immediately commented that I loved it.  Some of my fellow MS friends agreed.

Some did not.

They respectfully brought up the fact that images like this one can diminish MS, appear to make fun of MS or give people a false sense of what we go through.

I had never thought of it this way and since I respect all opinions, and have a tendency to ponder, I sat with the opposing opinions for a while.  I sat with them right into the next afternoon as I was about to get my 25th MRI.


(Kidding- I haven’t had that many MRIs although it often feels like it.  If it really was my 25th I would be expecting a big present from the technologists.  I think the 25th anniversary is silver which the technologists could NOT give me as no metal is allowed in the MRI room.  Damn, MS got me again!)

Anyway, I did get a little surprise at my MRI place-I have no idea what the official name is- as they have added music to the MRI experience.

People had told me over and over that they have been able to listen to music during their MRIs but I didn’t believe them.  I figured they were just trying to make me jealous.


But apparently it’s true as I was able to listen to music during both days this past week when I was stuck in the tube.

In the room where they have you change into scrubs- mine were a pretty blue, I would have taken them for a present but they wouldn’t let me-there’s a list of the artists you can listen to amid the knocking and whirring of the machine.  They had about 30 artists to choose from including Johnny Cash, Andrea Bocelli, Abba, Beyonce and John Cougar Mellancamp.

I do have one complaint amid the musical praise- there was no Rolling Stones!  How could that be? A selection of music not including the Stones is like leaving a huge gaping hole in the list, like a missing puzzle piece.  Like a puzzle of the United States with the Texas piece lost. It just isn’t complete!


Anyway, I chose Tom Petty.  The technologists got me all settled and scrunched into the machine and then started the music.  The first song was one I had completely forgotten about, Zombie Zoo.

How perfect since zombies were on my mind.

You can make a big impression or

Go through life unseen

You might wind up restricted and over seventeen

It’s so hard to be careful, so easy to be led

Somewhere beyond the pavement

You’ll find the living dead

Dancing at the zombie zoo

Painted in a corner and all you wanna do is dance down at the zombie zoo

Tom Petty

Perhaps you’re thinking that the above song has absolutely NOTHING to do with multiple sclerosis.  You would be right.  Unless you happen to be in an MRI tube already thinking about zombies.   Then it all makes perfect sense.

Maybe the zombie zoo is an MS mixer or fundraiser.


And we MS’ers really can make a big impression.

And it is so hard to be careful when you have MS.  Between fatigue, brain fog, diminished vision, and balance trouble it is very, very hard to be careful.   Sometimes you do want to be led.  Just sometimes.  Other times being led can annoy the crap out of you.

Zombie Zoo stayed in my head while other Tom Petty songs played.  Don’t even mention Free Fallin- that’s an MS song for sure.

Right about the time they rolled me out of the tube to add dye to my veins that would light up the MS activity in my body sharper than the Vegas strip- instead of flashing Penn and Teller, $9.99 buffet, Texas Hold’Em, these lights in your body scream- multiple sclerosis, t1 lesion, t2 lesion, and my favorite- MS was here….


To get my mind off zombies I asked them to change the music to Pink.  I forgot why I love Pink.  I love her because her music gives me energy and makes me want to dance like a crazy person- not a good idea when you are stuck in a tube and the technologists are yelling at you to stay still.

So what could I do? I went back to thinking about zombies and the Facebook zombie picture.

I decided that to each his own.  If some of my fellow MS’ers don’t like the picture, that’s ok.  But I do.  Here’s why.

Zombies are frightening but not real.  MS is frightening and it’s very real, frighteningly real.

If I want to compare the two by my shuffling gait, my extreme brain fog, or my incredible exhaustion, and if by comparing the two it makes me laugh, then so be it.  Life is too short and when we can grab a laugh, awesome.


I guess it’s like when I hear a joke about my Portuguese ancestry.   I will likely laugh out loud. Unless someone who’s not Portuguese is telling it.  Then I’ll probably get mad and pour a pot of Portuguese soup over their head.

(I would never actually do that.  It would be a waste of some good stuff.)

Back in my 20’s I went to a Halloween party dressed as a black magic woman.  The party was scary.  The house where it was thrown was scary.   This very scary guy came up to me and said “you really shouldn’t mess with things you don’t understand.”  Since he said it in a super creepy way, I grabbed my friends and we bolted to the nearest dive bar for safety.


So I don’t mean to tempt fate by talking about zombies.  If the zombie apocalypse ever does happen I will be the first one hiding and screaming.

But sometimes, just sometimes, comparing my frightening illness to a make believe zombie is funny.

And it makes me feel better too.

I hope it’s the same for you.

And if so, perhaps I’ll see you- dancing at the zombie zoo….