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Now I know how 80s music was made

21 May 2021

Wednesday morning; the ground was still wet from overnight rain.

The skies were still dark when I set out on my trip to Midland MRI for a brain scan.

It's usually just an hour's travel-time from Tokoroa to Hamilton but last time I visited the neurology folk it took over two hours to make the journey due to the incredible amount of road-works in place along the way. Having learned from this I set out at 6:15am for my 8am appointment, figuring there'd be little traffic for most of the journey.

As the skies began to glow on the Eastern horizon I realised that, despite my early start, I would be cutting it fine to arrive at the allocated time.

How the hell can it take so long to travel such a short distance?

Grumbling about the state of the roads aside, I was interested to see just what effect the ransomware attack on Waikato Hospital might have had.

Well the place was pretty quiet, even for 8am on a Wednesday morning. It was clear that much of the normal routine was cancelled due to the failure of IT systems.

The first indication that the systems were down was at the point where you're invited to sign in via a tablet in the hallway.

The tablet was blank. In fact they'd simply turned it off.

There was no other way to sign in so I walked past, just like everyone else.

Eventually I found the place where the MRIs are done, with just seconds to spare, and sat quietly to await my scan.

Fortunately for me, Midland health's IT system was not affected by the ransomware so things were operating normally there.

I was led into a waiting room and told to remove my belt, wallet, my numerous body piercings, the lock on my chastity belt and any other metal items I may have on my person.

Then I was ushered into "the room".

Plonked right in the middle of the room was the diagnostic doughnut that is the magnetic resonance imaging device. A very impressive bit of kit... and so it should be, given the enormous price of these things.

I was told to lay on the table and whack some earplugs because this was going to be loud. A set of muffs was then also placed over my ears to further reduce the noise levels and finally a cage that reminded me of "The Man in the Iron Mask" was fitted over my head so as to ensure I didn't move around.

So far so good. I had been worried that I may get claustrophobic but no worries, it was all too interesting to be concerned about the close confines involved.

Then the staff all ran for cover and I was alone as my head was slowly swallowed by the machine.

So cool!

A few moments later the banging, clattering, beeping, howling and shrieking began.

No, it wasn't me making all those noises... it was the MIR machine.

I'd been told that there would be some noise but I really wasn't prepared for the level and variety of noises that echoed around my head for the next 15 minutes or so.

Obviously the electromagnets generate quite a bit of noise when energised and it was most interesting to note how the frequency, duty cycle and pulsing of the field was varied throughout the whole process.

From time to time I'd be inserted just a little deeper into the bowels of the machine and the whole sequence of beeps, bangs, crashes, rattles and booms would repeat.

After 10 minutes of this I started to notice a strange similarity between the sound of this MRI machine and some of my favourite bits of 80's electro-synth pop music. If I could have moved, I'd have been jigging along to the beat!

It was a bit of a disappointment when all the noise subsided and the giant donut spat me out again.

Job done... and within 10 minutes my fillings had cooled down to body temperature so I had a pie and went home.

Ain't technology wonderful?

Apparently I'll be getting an 8x10 framed print for my wall sometime next week. Of course I'll share here if anone's interested.

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