Age of machines

Originally published at idle musings. Please leave any comments there.

I had an MRI on Tuesday. It was really less of an adventure than I’d hoped – in fact, at one point, I was staring at the ceiling, wondering how I was going to blog about such an uneventful event. The answer is that I’m going to bore you. Be prepared.

It cost me $875 but it was either that or wait, at best, 4 months for one that would be covered. Since the whole point is that I don’t know if I ripped something and therefore might need surgery, waiting seemed to be a stupid thing to do. I can’t plan anything in my life until I know if I need surgery, and when that will be, and waiting an extra couple months just wasn’t cutting it. So, $875 later, I was ushered into the private clinic.

First I had to have my head x-rayed because last year I got a tiny fragment of iron in my eye which had to be plucked out, while I was awake and watching, and it left a stain on my eyeball. The techs needed to know that there was no metal left because the magnets are so strong in the MRI machine that they could pull out my eyeball! No, I dunno, but it’s more interesting to imagine an eyeball flying out of someone’s head and smacking into the side of the MRI machine.

I lay down on the table, was told to close my eyes so that the laser wouldn’t blind me, and then ten seconds later the guy was all, “You can open your eyes now, dummy!” And I was all, “I didn’t know! I didn’t want to go blind, dummy!” Only he had an English accent, so it wasn’t rude.

Next, down the hallway and into the MRI section. I had been warned to not wear anything metal, so all that money I have given to Lululemon through the years paid off. I was allowed to wear shorts instead of a gown, so that was nice. My purse and everything got left behind in a small changeroom with a lock on the door, and the key stayed in the room with me and the MRI machine.

I walked into the room and immediately thought about my glasses! Whoops! Are they going to fly off my head and smash into the side of the MRI machine, ala the eyeballs? Ha, no, glasses aren’t magnetic! Dummy! This tech did not have an English accent and so therefore was not so not rude.

I lay down on the table with my right knee (that’s the buggered one) lying in a half-circle of plastic. They wrapped some sheet-like material around my knee and then clicked the other half-circle of plastic into place, so my knee was cocooned in its own little plastic tube. I lay back on the table with the headphones on, listening to the Tragically Hip “Live Between Us”, and they turned on the machine.

I should mention that the MRI is made by General Electric. I don’t know why I thought that was amusing, but it had the giant GE symbol on the front. Washing machines and MRIs – who knew? Anyway…

There was a display that I could see on the front of the machine, as my head was always poking out of the tube. I don’t know what it all meant, but I am guessing that it took images at 1, 5, and 9 mm and each segment took about 3 and a half minutes. The rest might as well have been Greek.

There wasn’t any discomfort or, well, anything, really. I just lay there, tried to not think about wiggling my toes, and listened to my music. I didn’t pay that much attention to the banging sounds but I do know that they went at different tempos. Each tempo would go for the 3 minutes or so, then there would be a pause of about 30 seconds, and then another tempo would start up. The only time I felt anything was when the tempo of the bangs was really fast, and I felt a vibration running through my heel to the same tempo.

When the tech told me I was done, I was honestly surprised. It didn’t feel like 30 minutes – more like 10. I do have the ability to disassociate myself from my body and just relax when things are being done to me which only works if I don’t have to participate in a conversation. I always want to be able to do this at the dentist but they always try to ask me questions when my mouth is full of instruments.

My doctor’s office called today to let me know the results are in, but I’ve made an appointment for next Tuesday to go see her. I have the feeling that she will still want me to see a specialist which will mean the choice again between waiting and paying. But at least I am one step closer to getting fixed and getting on with things.

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