Apologies for length
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
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.