Now that neurologist did not initiate that conversation while wearing any of the available vampire or Dracula costumes. In fact, it is doubtful that either he or his patient has ever even thought about dressing in one of the vampire or Dracula costumes. On that one summer day the neurologist at Hahnemann had noted the creation of a possible added touch to Dracula costumes.
The possible adaptation to the existing costumes lay before that neurologist on a hospital bed. The neurologist was looking at a patient who had recently had an angiogram. That is a test during which an X-ray is taken of a particular artery. The artery that is to be examined must first receive an injection of iodine.
The neurologist had wanted to examine the flow of blood to the patient’s brain. He had therefore asked for the injection of iodine into an artery in the patient’s neck. That injection had left two distinct puncture marks on the young female’s neck. Looking at his patient, the neurologist had jokingly said, “It looks like Dracula got you.”
Now although no screen writer was present in the hospital room where those words were spoken, some screen writer did happen to learn the procedure for an angiogram. He apparently felt that it was a rather scary procedure. Although he did not write about people in Dracula costumes, he did inject a scene, where a patient received an angiogram, into one rather scary movie.
It so happens that millions of people saw that movie, The Exorcist. One afternoon that girl who had had an angiogram at Hahnemann Hospital also saw that movie. She was surprised to see an angiogram in a movie that could invoke visions of people in Dracula costumes.
That young woman had been told that The Exorcist contained a scene in which the patient was given a medical test. Yet that woman had expected the writer to choose a different test. It was not a test that brought to mind visions of vampires, Dracula and Frankenstein, but one which that young woman felt ready to label as “the world’s most frightening test.”
Three years before being given an angiogram, that young woman had had a test that is now seldom given to patients. The invention of the CT scan has eliminated the need for that test. During that test, a pneumoencephalogram, the doctors inject air into the patient’s spine. The X-ray technicians then take pictures of the skull, a skull that has been filled with air.
During the course of that test, and for two weeks after that test, the young woman had had a constant headache. In fact, it had been so bad, that she had had trouble keeping food down, and she had lost a great deal of weight. It had not been a pleasant experience. It had been the sort of experience that one might expect to find in a movie like The Exorcist. It had been the sort of experience that one might associate with people dressed in real Dracula costumes.