'The left.' I want nothing upsetting that right arm. 'Good luck with that. You may have some trouble finding a productive one.'
He does have trouble. After some time he says, 'Do you mind if I use a vein in the wrist? I can see a couple of reasonable ones there.'
'What's the difference?'
'It may sting a bit longer and be more uncomfortable while I'm injecting the dye that's to go up into your brain.'
Ma-a-a-ate. I have injections every day into my stomach and sometimes they're painless and at others when the Clexane has to pass through an over-used, scarred area of tissue, it's like a bull-ant's got me. Do your worst.
'No problem. Just dig around anywhere you can find a likely spot.' I'm brave.
He does, and he's right. It does sting more and longer, but I've had green-ant stings worse as a kid. The dye is in, racing up to my brain, and I'm soon back in the machine. I have no false expectations this time. It's going to be shorter.
Still, you'd be amazed at just how long ten or fifteen minutes can be. Suddenly it's over, and they help me back off the table. I stand there, gingerly checking that I can balance on my feet, and walk. It turns out to be quite a challenge.
I put my shoes on again, with remarkably little trouble tying the laces, and go back to the waiting room. I sit beside Tracey and we wait for the scans. Ten minutes, they said.
He comes out shortly after, but we face disappointment. There's no large envelope of scans.
'Would you believe, the printer's just kacked itself. No chance of giving you the images right now. I can burn you a CD if you like.'
'OK. We don't want to leave here without something useful.'
We can cope with a CD. Off he goes, and comes back shortly after, with the CD and the packet of films.
'It's going again. Miracles do happen.'
We go to pay, and there's another large envelope of scans there with my name on it. Duplicates because the printer went crazy? She goes to give it to us and then sees we already have a packet. Unsurprisingly, a look of concern crosses her face and she quickly takes them both into the scanning room to query this anomaly.
'It's OK. These are yours,' she says, handing Tracey one of the envelopes.
She looks embarrassed, but not half as embarrassed as they would have been if some other person opened their scan of what was supposed to be a complicated pelvic fracture and thought they'd acquired a bonus brain tumour.
We walk to the car and get in.
'I know we've got this unspoken rule that we don't open these scans till we get back to Armidale, but I'm going to open it and look at just one scan. I want to be certain we have the right ones. I don't want us to get back to Armidale and find they're someone else's.'
The top image shows clearly by name and shape that it's definitely mine.
|Yes. It is.|
'So am I.'
But to go to a café in the busier part of town would cause endless difficulty.
'You know where we're going, don't you?'
I have not the slightest doubt. We haven't been together for thirteen years and my not know exactly what she's getting at. A place that's easy to park, coffee of indifferent quality but coffee nonetheless, on the way home, generally fast service, clean restrooms, far too many kids, and too many adults who do not have sylph-like figures.
Just don't tell anybody – right? You can afford to be choosier about your lattés or mochas maybe. Well, bully for you. We're desperate.
Even the chicken-salad-wrap-thing doesn't look that bad. We haven't eaten since 8 AM and it well past lunchtime now.
O, the Glorious Golden Arches. SHHHHHH!!! Just bugger off if you're going to act superior about it. Don't tell me you've never drunk their coffee, or sampled a cardboard thingie of 'fries' that look like flaccid refugees from a matchstick factory. You don't fool me.