Monday, January 28, 2008

Apologies for length

I had an MRI scan this morning.

I have a dodgy knee, you see. I crashed a motorbike *cough*thirteenyearsago*cough* and spanged my left knee rather comprehensively. I didn’t get it checked at the time as the waiting time in Saarrfend Hostipal’s A&E department was really long and besides, I had an appointment with the body piercer.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

I am currently lumbered with a knee that functions at the level of an arthritic door hinge. It gives out on me, it creaks and it pings and if I crouch down to get anything from the fridge at work I have to then clutch at the worktop like a drowning Labrador and haul myself bodily upwards, which is always attractive. Oh yes.

I had Physio. It made it worse. So I was referred to the sinister-sounding Musculoskeletal Clinic, where I was told I would need x-rays and an MRI to see if surgery will be needed. X-rays? That’s fine by me. MRI? Um….

It started badly, to be fair. The nurse-lady called me through, sat me down and stared in horror at my piercings. I rang the clinic last week, you see, to ask them how far in the machine I would have to go. What with the claustrophobia and the panic attacks and all. I was assured that only my legs would go in so I didn’t bother removing any of my jewellery. Well, there’s seventeen of the buggers, and most of them need pliers to undo the rings. Plus, I am lazy. So I left them in.

The nurse-lady asked if I could remove my jewellery. I asked if she had any pliers. She asked if there were any more that she couldn’t see. I lifted my hair to show her my ears. She went pale.

It turned out that I would be going into the scanner up to my chest. Sweet.

It all got a bit weird from there on in. I was informed that the machine-operating-lady would have to decide if I was allowed to go ahead. Which struck me as odd – either you have to remove jewellery so that bits of surgical steel don’t go flying around the room like little silver bullets, or it’s fine. It doesn’t strike me as a discretionary matter.

As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. Although I had to take my boots off (metal zips, you see), when I told the nurse-lady that I had a metal zip in my trousers and an underwire in my bra, she just sort of shrugged sullenly and told me it would be fine. Oh, really? What the hell was all the drama about my piercings for then? Gah.

After answering a succession of increasingly bizarre questions (ranging from how-much-do-you-weigh to the distinctly unscientific-sounding have-you-ever-had-a-bit-of-metal-in-your-eye; um, no, but I once cut my ear open falling off a bottle bank, if that counts?) I was led through to the torture chamber scanning room.

Jesus H Baldheaded Christ on a Bike.

Giant washing machine thingy? Check. Worrying bed-thing with a knee holder on it? Check. Incipient panic attack? Check. How long will it take? I quavered in Piglet’s voice. Oh, only about twenty minutes, breezed the machine-operator-lady. I was invited to lie down, had my leg immobilised, was given a panic button and some earphones and was shoved into the scanner. Good lord. Because I had to go in up to my chest, the front of the machine was directly in front of my face. Like, an inch away. From a worrying looking slot-thing labelled “Laser Aperture”. Um. Help? Now, although this was better for me than having to go all the way in (a procedure that for me would necessitate sedation, restraints and a scuba tank), it was far from ideal. Far. From. Ideal.

There then followed an endless twenty minutes of staring at the ceiling, trying to keep breathing, and being subjected to the sort of noises that would have confessions from every last inmate of Guantanamo Bay after three minutes. I mean, the noises!! So loud!! Big clangy ones. Horrible headfuck buzzing ones. Weird oh-my-god-what-was-that ones. It was as much as I could do to stop myself blurting “Madeleine McCann has been in my understairs cupboard all along!” in an effort to make them stop.

By the time I got out of there I was shaking so much that I couldn’t get the key in the locker to retrieve my belongings. I had to go home and watch Homes Under the Hammer until I felt better.

Still, it’s done now. Now all I have to worry about is the holiday in two weeks, the flight there, the being in America, the crowds, the heat and the flight home, the possibility of surgery which means I have to worry about dying under anaesthetic or them doing the wrong knee or me catching Ebola from my bedside cabinet. And then there’s the wedding….

Does anyone have a spare Valium? Kthx.

13 Comments:

Blogger rockmother chimed in with...

Oh my god - there is so much going on - scan, holiday, wedding. I feel anxious just thinking about it! One thing at a time Surly. And one thing out of the way - well done - you've got through the scan. Sounds dreadful. Didn't anyone warn you it would be noisy and weird? I hope you don't have to have surgery and I am sure you won't. I will concentrate my witchy powers so you avoid surgery, have a fantastic holiday and have the best day of your life ever at the wedding. Congratulations - I am so slow and rubbish - I didn't know you were getting married - that's great news. X

28 January, 2008 21:32  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

9th august, kids. watch the tension rise over the next however-many months.

assuming we survive the holiday flights, that is.

28 January, 2008 21:36  
Anonymous belladona chimed in with...

Thank you. The Madeline joke made me laugh much. I'm quite stressed and ill at the mo and reading about your 20 mins of misery has cheered me up no end. Sorry about that! I hope you have a great holiday.

28 January, 2008 21:52  
Blogger Arabella chimed in with...

If sleeping the deep sleep of the drunk isn't part of your flight plan, then I suggest you take any edible treat with you that you can smuggle on, and things like puzzles.
Florida is a doddle. Unless you're going to Miami the place is full of ancient New Yorkers behind zimmer frames; you'll feel vital and alive!

28 January, 2008 22:58  
Blogger Betty chimed in with...

Well I'm currently experiencing waves of panic because I've got to go to a new dentist in a couple of weeks (!) so am not really in a position to advise you about what to do, but I would guess that it's the anticipation of what could happen that's the worst thing.

Sure the holiday will be great though, best of luck.

29 January, 2008 10:39  
Blogger Rob Clack chimed in with...

I've had a couple of MRI scans having slipped a disc 10 years ago. Curiously it was the second one that got me going. I'm not normally prone to claustrophobia, but for some reason being right inside the thing, and, as you say, with my nose about an inch from the inside of the tunnel, I suddenly came over all strange and WANTED OUT RIGHT NOW! Fortunately, another bit of my brain said "Don't be daft, Rob, you don't do panic attacks" and I managed to listen to it long enough to regain control. I do realise that's not an option open to everyone.

Hope the hols and all is brilliant. I've been to the States several times and always loved it.

29 January, 2008 13:38  
Blogger FirstNations chimed in with...

Modern technology is supposed to be SILENT, not sound like a garbage truck rolling down a bumpy hill. I always weird right out inside those things.

I know that your first stop in America is certain to be Sumas, vacation hotspot of the Western coast. We are medicating the dogs' rash in anticipation of your stay!



XX

29 January, 2008 21:29  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

FN, don't tempt me. one of these days there'll be a knock at your door and there i'll be, in all my neurotic glory.

i may never leave. can OH and small person come too?

29 January, 2008 21:32  
Anonymous Anna chimed in with...

I had to have a head scan once, because they thought I had a brain tumour, or no brain at all, or something like that - I don't know if it was an MRI scan I was only 14 and can't remember, but I do remember having to go ALL THE WAY IN THE TUNNEL WITH MY HEAD CLAMPED!! I was never claustrophobic until that!

29 January, 2008 22:11  
Anonymous Beth chimed in with...

Why, WHY is it that the people who answer the phone never give out the correct information?

I will tell you: All information desks, everywhere, are manned by 19-year-olds or Those-Who-Don't-Give-A-Damn (the Venn diagram of these two groups overlaps quite a bit, btw.

I worked at a help desk at the university when I was 19. I considered it my job to give anyone ANY answer so long as they would go away.

Oh, and hi! Sorry about the wonky knee!

29 January, 2008 23:36  
Blogger Cheezy chimed in with...

Just make sure the knee doesn't give way while you're actually in the States (unless your insurance covers this)... and have a great time!

31 January, 2008 07:58  
Anonymous Bill Door chimed in with...

Homes under the hammer...

it's a plot to get the unemployed back to work - just like bargin-hunt-car-boot-in-the-attic and similar. I had to watch these things for three months following the Cardiac Event and boy, did I want to return to work...

04 February, 2008 21:18  
Blogger Kyahgirl chimed in with...

Hey sg, I haven't been keeping up well enough to know you're getting married! That's great news. I'm glad you're going to finally make an honest man of the other half. I'm sure its been terribly embarrassing for him :-)


good luck with the knee.

11 February, 2008 00:17  

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