Dignity

If Deacon Blue were right about the value of building a ship called Dignity, they’d have been upset with me this week. My dignity sank with all hands on deck,

blown out of the water by a great big tube which resembled a hollowed out torpedo. The enemy who fired it? Doctors.

Before your mind wanders and you start to imagine  where they could possibly have inserted this wonderful tube, let me tell you it’s wide enough to accommodate a person inside, and this treat is so in demand it has a waiting list on the NHS. It’s called an MRI scan. Ever had one?

It’s horrible. Imagine being stuck underground inside an empty utility pipe, lying flat and wearing headphones to stop yourself being deafened by the traffic noise from the M25 above your head, while a soothing voice says things like “hold your breath” but forgets to say “let it go now.” I turned purple.

The reason for this treat is that I’ve been having tummy pains - nothing bad or sinister - so I thought I might be allergic to something I was eating. I’d made my mind up that if it was chocolate I’d just put up with the pain and think of the walnut whips as medicine. Surely a chocoholic dietician would sort me out. “Stop eating rubbish and eat more chocolate and fibre instead.” That sort of thing. But my GP referred me to a kind specialist who likes to check everything – just in case. Hence the scan.

I turned up an hour before my appointment with the torpedo to be given a huge jug of clear liquid. It was large enough to wash my feet in, with masses left over to bathe the toes of the Scottish rugby team, the reserves, both sets of opponents and all their supporters. I could have bathed in it’s depths, but they wanted me to drink it.  

The first few gulps were pleasant enough, and then it becomes a game. Could I drink this heavy wallpaper paste that smelled of cheap Poundland pick ‘n’ mix and keep it down? It was touch and go.

I then had to strip off and put on one of those hospital gowns that fasten up the wrong way, exposing your backside while making you feel you’ve been straight jacketed. Fortunately I have a perfect behind, one I like to think of as peachy and pert, the envy of everyone who sees it. (Admittedly that’s not a huge number.) That’s followed by a questionnaire. Do You Have A Pacemaker? No! Any shrapnel in your body? Eh? Dentures? No! Stents? Don’t be daft! Any metal pins or plates, artificial knees or hips? Oi, how old do you think I am?

All jewellery is then removed – I’d love to be a fly on the wall when someone goes for a scan with  Prince Albert And the Nipple Rings – and then you lie down to have a canula put in your arm. Apparently the litre of gunk isn’t enough. They now want to put in three separate coloured dies.

And then a button is pressed and like a tray at the Marks And Spencer bakery I was transported on a conveyor belt in to the tube for a deafening twenty minutes. It was the noise the Tardis makes when the good Doctor has pressed the wrong buttons and the spaceship cries out in agony. This ship had obviously had enough. Dignity was fatally holed.

I got dressed and was told not to leave until after sitting for ten minutes in case of double vision. Just what I needed. Two of those blasted tubes.

As Newton nearly said, “what goes in must come out.” I went in the tube and I came out again, so the stuff I drank and then had injected in to me had to do the same. All I’ll say is don’t make plans for 24 hours after having one of these lovely procedures.

So now I wait on the results. If they come back positive for pregnancy I’m asking for a second opinion, but not a second scan. Ever!