It was a beautiful day last Friday. Gone was the mucky weather of the previous days. It was a typical gardening day and, coming after a few wet ones, I was itching to get out. Instead, I was scheduled for an MRI scan in Cork University Hospital. The manner in which these are carried out now is quite amazing. You do not even see, never mind meet, another patient.

Guidelines and safety protocols are exercised perfectly. My signature was required. The girl came from behind her screen. She wiped down the counter (which I could hardly have contaminated) while masked and standing two metres back. She wiped the pen and the pad while describing what she was doing. I wrote my name on the mini-screen. At least, I think I did, as nothing appeared on the screen.