Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Had the MRI and CAT scan today.

The MRI was first. If you have any metal in you, formerly in you, or anywhere near you, they want to know!!! They did each hip separately and each side took over half an hour, although the second side was shorter (not sure why). This is the one you've seen on all those TV doctor shows where you go into a giant cylinder and then the too-handsome doctor gasps at the giant tumor in your brain, or something.

Depending on how you feel about being enclosed and not able to move for an hour, this is either kind of comforting or not at all cool. Also it's the noisiest thing you've ever been so close to, so if you're offered earplugs, take them. They gave me headphones and my choice of music but once the machine started I couldn't hear anything else. My feet were taped together so that I couldn't move my legs and I was wedged in all the way up my body and wrapped in a sheet. It kind of reminded me of being tucked into bed as a little kid, but then again I'm not claustrophobic...

I went in feet first and since I'm tall, my head stuck out a little bit so I didn't have the completely enclosed experience, although after a while when my arms fell asleep I started to get a little impatient for it to be over. It comes in blasts of different time lengths and slightly different sounds, which the technician compared to a jackhammer, but I would say only sounded like a jackhammer if the jackhammer in question was from the Jetsons. You are also warned about any part of your body getting hot as a signal to stop. The room was freezing and I didn't understand why they kept it so cold until the machine came on and I started to get really warm from it, and then entertained myself wondering what the line between warm and hot was and if I was doing irreparable damage to my body by not speaking up about the fact that I was warm all over...

They take you out and move you around in between sides and the second side got a little easier. As I got used to what was going on I actually started to drift off a little bit, but if you're at all uncomfortable with small spaces you probably won't be so comfy. It's not the greatest experience, but I've had worse.

The CAT scan was next and was a total piece of cake in comparison. This machine is more like a donut so you're not enclosed at all, and makes no noise. It took less than 10 minutes for the whole thing.

So now, sit and wait, and send out cartilage prayers that sound like binary code: 0 or 1, 0 or 1, 0 or 1.

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