I was chatting with a friend the day before my MRI appointment. She’d done an MRI before, so I asked her what it was like.
“Make sure you empty your pockets of everything, as well as jewellery.”
“Ok. What happens if I don’t?”
“The magnet is super powerful. It’ll get stuck.”
“I wonder what’ll happen if I forget to take off my earrings.”
“Ooooh might rip out the earlobe.”
She was probably joking, but I wasn’t going to take any chances. I didn’t want to come out of the appointment with two bloody holes on the sides of my head. An injured leg and no ears. I might as well be a seal. Besides, without any ears, how would I wear my sunglasses?
The next day, as I was sitting in the waiting room, I carefully removed all my jewellery and kept them in my bag. After a few minutes, a smiling radiographer stuck her head out of the room and called my name.
She introduced herself and showed me to the dressing room.
“You’ll have to change into this.”
She handed me a stiff white cotton hospital gown.
“Make sure you take off everything; the entire room is magnetised.”
My earlier nightmare where my ears were at risk of being ripped off my head transmogrified into one where I was a Mr Potato Head, limbs and body parts stuck to the walls of the room.
“What about this? It’s plastic.” I pointed to my hairband.
The radiographer looked at it and scrunched up her face.
“Yeah just remove that as well, to be safe.”
After I’d changed, the radiographer helped me settle into the machine.
“The entire procedure will take 15 minutes. During that time, I’ll check in with you twice; once after the first three minutes, and then again after the last ten minutes.”
“Make sure you stay absolutely still the entire time. If you even twitch your toes, the images will come out blurry.”
“I’ll give you earplugs and headphones to wear, because the machine is very loud.”
“Ok.” My vocabulary had evidently shrunk drastically.
“If you feel any form of discomfort at any point in time, press this emergency button.”
She handed me a grey button attached to the end of a cord and asked me to test it. I pressed the button and heard a loud sound which was a cross between a buzz and a beep.
I put in the earplugs and wore the headphones.
“Are you ready?” she asked, with a smile on her face.
“Ok, here we go.”
She positioned me so that just the lower half of my body was in the tunnel, and switched it on. There was a loud buzzing/humming sound and at the same time, I heard music through the headphones. I stared at the opening of the tunnel and concentrated on staying still. I could feel my thigh and calf muscles involuntarily twitch and I fought the urge to move my toes.
Through the buzz-hum of the machine, I listened to Coldplay, Justin Timberlake, and Phil Collins.
…two hearts… buzzz hummmm …living in just one mind… you know we’re two hearts… buzzz hummm …living in just one mind… buzzzzzzz hummmmmm
I forgot what other songs came on after that, as I was busy thinking about the emergency button I held in my hand. What did she mean by “discomfort”? What could possibly happen?
Maybe the machine might malfunction, I thought.
I’d become a mutant, a real-life Magneto!
That would actually be pretty awesome. Personally, I prefer Professor X’s telepathic powers, but Magneto’s pretty cool, too.
But wait… what if I can’t control my powers? What if I can’t part a sea of cars with a wave of my hand? What if instead, objects come hurtling through the air towards me?
I don’t think I’d be too comfortable walking around town with a tram stuck onto my back.
And oh gosh walking into the kitchen would be a nightmare. Knives flying everwhere.
Yeah maybe life as a mutant isn’t for me. I should just stick to being a normal human being.
The buzz-hum of the machine stopped. So did the music. The procedure was over. I took off the headphones and earplugs, and handed them to the radiographer. No malfunction, no emergency button, no Magneto. No ripped ears, and no Mr. Potato Head body parts stuck to the walls of the room, thankfully.
I climbed off the machine and changed back into my clothes. When I stepped out of the changing room, the radiographer handed me a large plastic bag.
“These are the images. Bring them with you to your doctor’s appointment. We’ll also email him the report tomorrow morning.”
“Have a good evening, and good luck with your knee!”
walked limped out of the radiology centre and to a nearby restaurant, where I was supposed to have dinner with The Mister. As I waited for him, I looked through the images of my knee. There were about a hundred or so images, all of which were incomprehensible to me.
As I tried to make sense of the photos, I realised that it had been quite a while since I last had sup tulang. Mmmm I miss sup tulang.