Relax. You won’t feel a thing …

The scene of today's high drama.

The scene of today’s high drama.

‘You’re just a blog hater,’ I said. ‘This is a valid media. You’re refusing to embrace the future.’

‘Actually,’ he said, ‘I just can’t do it.’

I was lying on my back, half in and half out of the big white tube that is an MRI machine. All I’d asked was that he grab my iPhone and take a quick photo, for the blog.

The MRI technician shrugged apologetically. ‘The thing is,’ he said, ‘if I brought your phone in here, it would be sucked straight into the heart of the machine. Which, you might remember from the pre-scan briefing, is a giant motherfucking magnet.’

Actually he didn’t say that last sentence but he didn’t have to. I did remember I was lying in a massive magnetic core, so the photo became a lost dream. Science versus creativity: will that battle ever end?

So I finally got around to having my knee scanned. ‘Just lie still for 20 minutes,’ the technician had said. ‘Don’t move your left leg at all, if you can manage it. The machine is incredibly loud so here are some headphones. Would you like some music?’

‘Sure,’ I said.

‘What sort?’

“Dunno … classical, Triple J. Anything but easy listening because then I’d have to kill myself.’

He settled it by forgetting to turn on the music. So I lay there, for an endless age, listening to the whirring and pulsing and grinding of this massive machine; feeling strange tingling and currents in my knee. Giving the joint a little talking to inside my head: ‘Well, whose fault is this? Don’t start blaming me for gamma rays coursing through you, stupid knee.’

I’d spent a few schoolboy minutes sniggering at how the brand of the machine, Siemens, sounds like something else, but even that distraction wore off by the second half of the journey. Buzz. Whir. Clank. Grrrrrrr … Of course, all I wanted in the whole world was to move my fricking leg. But tried not to.

Lying there, it occurred to me that this entire moment was actually a minor miracle; that for the first time in two and a half years of playing hockey, I was undergoing something more medical than a Magic Enzo osteo session. I really can’t complain to have gotten this far without a major injury or wound. And I’m still not even sure if it was hockey or a 38 degree Bang footy session that blew the knee out late last year.

It was worth it just for the adventure of an MRI. Luckily it was my legs being examined so my head was outside the machine. I’ve heard that it can be claustrophobic if you have to be fully inside it.

The whole thing runs on magnets moving the atoms in your body around while radio frequencies pick the movement up as images. Or something. Its full name is Magnetic Resonance Imaging and it raises your body temperature and basically pushes and pulls the nuclei of the atoms around as you lie still.

‘If my head is in there, I can feel my hair ties lifting off my head,’ said the MRI department’s registrar, a blonde chick with tied back hair.

‘Do you do that at lunchtime, just for kicks?’ I’d asked her.

An MRI machine. Riddle me this: how did this camera not get sucked into the machine? Shenanigans.

An MRI machine. Riddle me this: how did this camera not get sucked into the machine? Shenanigans.

‘No’, she said. ‘It’s actually weird and freaks me out.’

Sadly, my hair was untied and so I felt nothing. But I wouldn’t want to attempt an MRI after a joint. It could be amazing or terrible.

But anyway, it’s done. And so now what? I wait at least five working days for the results to go to my doctor, the Christmas hepcat who I saw at Lorne. When I last saw him, he looked up ‘knee’ on Wikipedia.

But I rang a top knee specialist recommended by a hockey buddy, Tony Sheng, and was told I needed a doctor reference even to get an initial appointment. This doctor reference thing is the biggest legal lurk going around; fifty bucks or so to be allowed to just get in the diary of a specialist so he or she can start fleecing you in creative new ways.

I’m going to do it though. I just signed up for the Nite Owls winter Sunday comp (for old bastard skaters only) and am about to sign for dev league and maybe the Icehouse Academy. Plus I can’t kick at the Bang while the knee stops me running.

Time to get it fixed. Hang the expense.

And to see if I developed any super powers while those gamma rays were flying around. That’s what happens, right?


  1. I can confirm that an MRI on yer neck is less than fun.

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