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Fun With The MRI

May 2, 2002

"We never talk about the future
We never talk about the past anymore
We never ask ourselves the questions to the answers that nobody even wants to know..."
-Everclear "So Much For The Afterglow"

"Keep your head still, I'll be your thrill"
-Blink 182 "Say It Ain't So"

This will have to be written quickly. Sleep is a must at this point. Yesterday I got maybe three hours of sleep, and today I've had maybe an hour and a half's worth. I had an appointment for 12:30 to have an MRI done, so that threw things for a bit of a loop.

Now this wasn't my first time to have an MRI. In February 2001, I had one in Huntington, WV. It was at an "Open MRI" clinic, which gives you more room than the conventional MRI setup. That helps for people with fear of tight spaces.

But today, my MRI was held in this huge truck that they had pulled up next to the clinic. It almost seemed like something that belonged on The Simpsons, like their lawyer parody "I Can't Believe It's A Lawfirm". All I needed was Nelson saying "HA HA!" and pointing when they couldn't find a vein (more on that in a bit). They clamped me down on the table, and told me how I needed to stay as still as possible etc. In particular my head area was kept as immobile as possible. I was told not even to swallow while the machine was doing its thing. That can be tougher than you might think. So that went on for awhile, then they pulled me out and gave me an injection to help show some differences in the MRI pictures. That was something they didn't do in Huntington.

That's when the real fun began. The tech guy tried to give me the injection in my right arm, but he had what he said was a "flashback". I dunno what that means, except that it meant he had to try my other arm. Now I like to think I'm somewhat tough, but having someone dig around in your arm with a needle trying to find a vein is not my idea of fun. He thought he had a vein in my left arm... but no dice. Another "flashback". I was not amused.

They had to have a nurse from the clinic come out to help. This cute receptionist came out first to see what was up, and flirting with her helped raise my spirits a little. Though it's hard to flirt when your head is strapped down to the table (did I mention that I had to keep my head in place while they played "Digging For A Vein" in my arms??). The nurse then came out and managed to finally hit a vein. Lovely. Then with both arms bandaged up like a junkie, they sent me back in for 12 more minutes of fun inside the MRI machine.

Fortunately I don't freak out in tight spaces, so it wasn't a big deal that it wasn't an open MRI. Those machines are loud though, and it's strange but you get the oddest sensations being in there. Granted, there is a super-powerful magnet involved, but it's difficult to explain in words. It's a little creepy, actually, in a way that's tough to quantify.

Finally the MRI was done. The result -- some really interesting pictures. It's amazing that they're able to take pictures of your brain like that. It was nice to see that the left side of my brain in fact wasn't replaced by an agitated squirrel with a hammer. We'll see on Monday what it all means.

Time for sleep now. More tomorrow.

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