10) The Anvil

I arranged the MRI at a different place to the USS.  I needed a special 3T scanner, that is only available in a few places.  Once I had booked my appointment, I started researching MRI.  I had a fair knowledge of what may happen, but forewarned is forearmed as they say.  Imagine my horror when I read that in order to get a really good picture, they may use a device called a coil, that you guessed it, goes up your arse. It’s OK, though, because it’s well lubricated apparently  (Note to self- buy shares in J&J, or whoever owns KY jelly). Of course, being a man, I could not possibly even think about telephoning the scanning provider to ask such a question. I would get the young lady on the desk, it would be awkward. Imagine this….

“Good morning, Superscans Limited, how can I help you?” Says beautiful, well made up young reception worker.

“Er, hello. I have a scan booked in 3 days and I want to know how intimate it is.”


“Well, I read that a well lubricated magnetic coil is going to be inserted 6 to 8 inches up my rectum in order that the technician can get a high definition picture of my gland. Is that going to happen?”

I mean, how does one build up to that?  What if they didn’t do that.  I would sound like a complete weirdo.  So I didn’t.

Obviously, I chose three days of sleepless nights wondering how big this bloody coil is going to be and will it have a condom on, bearing in mind where it’s been in the past. Does it swing both ways, or is it just for men? Will I catch anything?  Can I…..er…… accommodate it?  Does it vibrate?  Is it smooth, or ribbed. You would imagine a coil to be kind of bumpy, like a spring. OMG!  In my mind, it was turning into a very niche pornographers break into the big time.  Middle aged white man, strapped to a scanner with a 10 inch vibrating magnetic coil thrust up his ass, his cries of protest drowned out by the booming of the machine, voyeurs watching his displeasure from the cosseted comfort of the control station, behind the glass, in the dark.  I shared my concerns with my wife.  Ever the womanly voice of reason, she suggested I telephone ahead and ask, but that could make it worse….they may actually confirm that is going to happen.  At least at the moment, I have a chance, a modicum of hope.  It may happen, it may not.

It did not.

Again, I polished my ring-piece prior to the procedure, and ensured it stayed that way with the cunning application of an invisible roll- deodorant, just in case.  Upon arrival, I saw beautiful well made up reception worker.  I am glad that I spared her the moment of realisation when she matched my face to the potentially perverted telephone voice of the dirty middle aged man who enquired about the intimacy of his procedure.  I was processed and shunted through to the back area.  I was given a gown. A white paper gown.  I undressed, and proceeded to the scanner, like a ghost in the Stygian gloom of the MRI lab.  Chilled out, relaxed, but competent technician introduced himself, and briefly told me what was about to occur.  No mention of arses or lube.  I broached the subject of coils, and was told they don’t need to do that any more.  Hallelujah!  Technology rocks!

I did need a cannula, as they squirt a bit of super contrast in there.  It apparently has its own magic place on the periodic table, sounded like it was named after a character from Lord of the Rings, and had the potential to turn me to stone from the inside out, anything up to 10 years after administration.  Which could actually be a bonus, given my forthcoming floppy future.

I had to lie still. On a hard bed.  I got headphones, and music. The scanner makes lots of noise in bursts of a couple of minutes, and drowns out the music, which makes for some interesting mixes when one song ends and another starts.

“I’m on my way, driving at 90, down these country lanes, BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, like a virgin, touched for the very first time”.

“This is gonna be the best day of my life, my li-I-I-I-I-I-fe, BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, mama, I just killed a man……”


Scan was done.  No worries.

I was able to get the blood test done at the same time as the scan, as they happened to a pathology section in the same building.  The test in question was a Prostate Health Index.   A PHI is a superduper PSA test (1).  PSA being about 55% accurate and PHI being 75%.  There is really not much to say about having a blood test, and so I had it done and away I went.

The scanning/pathology place was fairly close to where I work and I called in on my way to work one morning the week after, and picked up my MRI results.  I enquired about the blood test, and there was an initial shock, when I  found out it was not covered by Medicare, and they wanted a couple of hundred dollars for the test.  The flip side being they gave me my results, which doesn’t usually happen, but I guess as I paid for it, it was different.

My results were:

PHI 53.4 (lower the better)

% free PSA 11.8% (higher the better)

With the comment:

“The PHI result is consistent with a high risk of prostate cancer

The MRI results identified a possible area of concern, but graded it a 2 out of 5 in probability of cancer.

Wile E Coyote having an anvil dropped on him probably summed up how I felt.


  1. http://www.mps.com.au/media/3292835/phi_a4_information_sheet_final_1_feb_2012.pdf

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