Tim Dowling: it’s my first MRI. Can I manage not to hit the panic button?

Telling myself that nothing terrible is happening, it’s just a bit snug in here, proves deeply counterproductive

Even though they sent me a map of the hospital with an arrow pointing to where I’m supposed to end up, nothing about where I’m heading looks right to me. I’ve gone round the back of the whole building, past lines of parked cars, towards a section of the complex that appears to be abandoned. There are no walkways. There aren’t any people either, but then it is early: not yet 7.30am.

Eventually I find a small sign that says Community MRI Hub, pointing towards two doors. Nothing happens when I ring the bell next to the first door, so I enter the second one, where I find a receptionist at a small table.

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