Well that was weird


SO I TURN UP for an MRI this afternoon, trying to get to the bottom of the chronic neck pain I’ve had for about a year now. It’s right at the base of the skull. Every day, the road bumps I hit make for exquisitely sharp pain, the kind where you involuntarily give a shout-out to the supernatural figure of your choice.

I don’t know if it was just the confined space of the MRI gizmo that started pinging my fight-or-flight receptors, or if it was also anticipating the need to stay perfectly still for 45 minutes while hurting. But I broke out in a sweat and said No, no, thank you, not gonna do it. The test operator said it happens all the time, your doc will trank you and send you back and you won’t care about pain or being in a tube, and well, yes, I can see that, I’ve been to la la land, if things are as peachy as I remember them, I’ll go.

But does this happen all the time? They’d trank everybody from the get-go if that were the case. Maybe she was just being polite.

She said to make sure I get a ride over next time, don’t ride the motorcycle because you can’t ride it home drugged. (Who says?)

That’s the mystifying thing, the motorcycle. I pretty much live in a full-face helmet. Lots of riders can’t, it’s too much like sticking your head in a goldfish bowl. So I’ve never thought of myself as claustrophobic. Not afraid of crowds, mobbed elevators, subway cars that are so jammed it blurs the line between traveling and dating. Been in severely tight spaces in caverns and was okay with it, so…  what gives?

Is this an after-60 thing nobody told me about? Do we get jumpy as we inch closer to getting boxed up and freight-forwarded all of six feet?

Anyway, my neck will stop hurting then, so that’s good.

Dig it, ol’ CCjon overcame all obstacles in Nova Scotia. He rode across Newfoundland, then Labrador, and was in Quebec the last I heard. Hats off to him. He’s 10 years closer to pain-free status than I and is still out there making his adventure miles. An inspiration to me. Ride on, brother!

Click here for the latest pics he posted and here for the ones before that. They really made me miss riding all that seemingly endless gravel of the Trans-Labrador Highway.

I’m going back someday. And to a hundred other places.

I close with one of our Phantom panels published in newspapers around the world today, drawn by the great Mike Manley. Everybody knows you can’t blow up the Phantom with a hand grenade. He’ll body surf the blast wave to safety, then come back and put you in an MRI machine for way longer than 45 minutes.

Tony DePaul, August 16, 2017, Cranston, Rhode Island, USA








About Tony

The occasional scribblings of Tony DePaul, 63, father, grandfather, husband, freelance writer in many forms, ex-journalist, long-distance motorcycle rider, motorcycle wrecker, motorcycle rebuilder, collector of surgical hardware, blue routes wanderer, outdoorsman, topo map bushwhacker, handy with a wrench, hammer, chainsaw, rifle, former photographer, printer, logger, truck driver, truck mechanic, jet fueler… blah blah...
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6 Responses to Well that was weird

  1. Chris Whitney says:

    It’s not a post 60 thing AFAIK. At least not for me. I don’t feel I’m developing new fears or worsening existing ones. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said if you went in the tube you couldn’t move for 45 minutes. When I tweak my back now and then I have to be able to move to try and get to a position where it doesn’t hurt as much. It would be psychologically tough to know I couldn’t move for that long.

    • Tony says:

      Strangest thing ever, Chris. I was just telling a friend in Kansas that I had a brain MRI some years ago, and you’re really constrained in that case, your head is immobilized against the table by a “mask” type of thing that clamps down over you, then they slide you in the tube. It’s not a pleasant experience but I could do it, no meds, no sweaty palms. But maybe the subconscious says I didn’t like that at all, let’s not do that anymore… Who knows?

  2. Jon Brush says:

    When I had an MRI for my back I hallucinated that Anita was in there with me. Not bad if you have to lose it hehehe.
    Good to see that Phantom is rolling

  3. Vincent Ogutu says:

    I’m actually wondering if it isn’t something about the helmet – now that you mention it – that could be causing the pain in the first place? Maybe it’s a new helmet, or you’re wearing it differently? Something’s changed for sure, but what exactly?

    • Tony says:

      Hey, Vincent. I think it’s mostly decades of collapsing into a computer screen for 10+ hours a day but, yes, the helmet’s a part of it. It’s well-broken-in and a perfect fit but I tend to ride in a forward posture even on a touring bike, a little bit on the aggressive side, so you have the weight of the helmet plus yer coconut bobbing up and down over the gas tank. And just about everybody’s got arthritis in their cervical spine after 60 so… lots of things catching up with me, I guess. Will give the MRI another whirl on Friday!

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