So I had an MRI the other day. I know this sounds like a pick up line, but let me tell you about this experience. Whatever. It’s my blog, don’t read it if it sounds dumb.
I’m going to try to keep it brief, but there are many different aspects to the MRI experience that are just begging to be told. I’ll do them in steps.
There are many types of MRI machines and many parts of the body that can be imaged. My MRI required some very specific MRI technician instructions. Instructions that he must have repeated every day for the duration of his current career. The very first step is relatively easy. Get on the table and relax. It goes downhill quick from there. Since you have to stay still during the procedure they strap you to the table and put some headphones on you. Then they give you an alarm to press “just in case”. Let me tell you. Being strapped to a bed for any reason other than the one you just thought of isn’t fun. I thought they might give me a “safe word” also.
Speaking of many types of MRI machines, I got the one that looks like a giant iron lung. They roll you into the paper towel roll thingy where the top of it is inches from your nose. As soon as you notice this measurement, your nose immediately starts itching. I mentioned that I was strapped down right? There is no Zen, Buddha, yoga trick that will make an itch go away when you have nothing to think about other than that itch…that is until Step 3.
The type of MRI I was having required the technician to instruct me to hold my breath. How hard could that be is that what you are thinking? Take a moment right now and hold your breath. Count and let me know how long you held it. I’ll wait……30 seconds? 45 seconds? Longer? Well this guy started out by telling to hold my breath and then telling me to breathe again with a 12 second gap. I know this because I was counting the seconds in my head. After he did this about 5 times I got comfortable with the 12 seconds. That was, until, he changed it to 16 seconds. Then it was 21 seconds….then one time he forgot to tell me to breathe. I think I went 32 seconds before he realized my toes were twitching. At this point I started to get a little panicked. “What was it going to be this time?” What if I let out my breath early? Will I have to do more?” “Is he simply messing with me? Are they having a laugh in the MRI booth”? “I’ve never seen this on House M.D”. It was at this point that he screwed with me again.
“Stay still and try to breathe regularly Jon…the machine will be trying to synchronize your breathing for this scan” Are you kidding me? That was the kiss of death. The machine tried to synchronize my breathing while my brain said, “Faster, slower, deeper, more shallow…Damn it man get it together!”
This is the point in the test where all the troubles in your life seem small. I’m being re-born. Somewhat literally if you think about them removing me from the machine. I can move my limbs! I can scratch my nose! I can take a swing at the technician who was in charge of the breathing instructions.
Look…I know there are people who have much worse tests and health concerns. I feel for them. I consider myself pretty healthy and I would hate to do these tests feeling poorly, but I don’t think I’m doing one of these again until they get something like a Star Trek scanner. Forget it.