Day 11: An MRI Scan and a Clue

11 days since injury

I travelled back down to south Manchester for an MRI scan. I was here only yesterday seeing knee surgeon Mr. Barkatali; everything is moving fast.

It’s a Saturday, and the clinic was quiet. I filled out the short questionnaire and waited for my turn.

I thought back to the previous scans. The machines are loud and intimidating. They remind me of a portal from Stargate – if I went through to the other end could I reach a new world?

The MRI operators are friendly and cheerful. They must see the anxiety of patients every day, desperate to know what’s happened and uncertain of this large buzzing cylinder.

I put my things in a locker, and hopped onto the sliding bed. We joked about the in-scan entertainment, and I asked the technician to sing to me instead of putting on the radio. Finding a bit of humour is a way for me to settle nerves.

The machine holds no fear for me, but the outcome does. I am now one of those patients desparate to know what’s happened.

I had asked for BBC Radio 5 Live to play through my headphones for the football, but instead I hear a looping of “This broadcast is not available due to permissions….”.

I try to zone out as the machine starts working it’s magnetic magic. Then I remember the previous times and how you’re told to hold absolutely still. Now I am very conscious of every movement of my leg.

It felt different this time. I remember my physio talking about this clinic having “Tesla 3” MRI scanners which give a more detailed image. This defintely felt stronger than before and it gave me a strange tingling.

As I lay there trying to keep still, the machine stops and starts. It buzzes, pulses, and it’s loud. The operator asks me if I am ok, and shortly after asks me to keep still.

It’s over after about 15 minutes. I quickly asked if I moved too much and if the images are ok, and he tells me it’s all fine. It’s normal to move and they repeat parts of the scan if needed.

I noticed something different. The MRI technician was friendly before, but now he seemed a touch more warm and caring.

Thinking quickly, I asked for a copy of the MRI scan. I expected him to maybe email it to me, but he put it onto a CD there and then, along with some contact details I needed.

It wasn’t until I left the building that I realised something. The technician had put his hand on my shoulder and said “Good luck with everything”. It was a small clue, but now it was obvious.

The MRI technician does not make the diagnosis or full report, but they see these images day in and day out. They know what the specialists are looking for and surely work with them to do the scan in the right way.

He had seen the damage and his subtle change in manner was my clue. I was now almost certain this would be my third ACL reconstruction.

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