Friday, January 2, 2009

Another MRI

I've tried three times to struggle through the Wikipedia entry for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and each time I want to run away screaming.

The first sentence, which explains that an MRI "is primarily a medical imaging technique most commonly used in radiology to visualize the structure and function of the body" is straighforward enough, and gives me courage to move on. The second sentence, which declares that an MRI "provides detailed images of the body in any plane" is also within grasp of my intellect. But I start to get wobbly when I try to follow the third sentence, and by the middle of the fourth sentence I get completely wigged out and I check the URL to make sure I haven't landed on Wackypedia by mistake.

Luckily you don't have to understand the MRI process in order to experience it. I had my second MRI in a few weeks early this morning. I trust that the radiologists at Kaiser understand what MRIs are all about and got satisfactory images of my head during the hour I laid flat on my back inside a cylinder about two feet in diameter.

This MRI was different in several ways from the first one that was performed last month. For one, it was in a different location: the basement of the main hospital at Kaiser Sunset, rather than a stand-alone building further north on Edgemont Street. With a duration of more than one hour, it was also longer than the previous procedure. Finally I was partially restrained from movement by a device that was placed on my head, and the technician kind of tucked me in before I slid inside the cylinder, which was a nice touch. I haven't been tucked in for a good 40 years.

I'm sure that the MRI technology is very state-of-the-art but to me the MRI machine looks like something out of Woody Allen's "Sleeper." I try to not look at it, frankly. As soon as I feel the bed moving into the enclosed area, I close my eyes and keep them shut until the procedure is over and I slide out.

It's the noises during the procedure that really strike me as bizarre. You could almost dance to an MRI, if you didn't know that dancing during an MRI would screw up the whole thing.

So I'll save my urge to dance for the day I get the results from today's procedure. With luck, today's MRI detected something going on in my head that will lead to an effective treatment. I'll know in about a week.

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