I recently wrote about seeking medical treatment for pain in my neck. During the appointment I had last week, the doc took X-rays and explained that dehydrated discs were causing several of the vertebrae in my neck to rub together. He explained that this is not good, using technical language that I translated it as, “Your spine was designed by someone who stinks at Jenga.” He then referred me for an MRI to get a better look at what might be causing the pain.
That post drew an outpouring of heartwarming concern from kind readers, along with an offer from my father to put me out with the trash. I decided to go for the MRI and keep that offer in reserve.
For the uninitiated, MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. According to WebMD, it is a “test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body.” It sounds vague, but benign, the precise combination I aim for in my legal writing. In reality, you basically lay on a stretcher inside a gigantic magnet, wearing an antenna contraption that bears some resemblance to the halo your mom attached to your angel Halloween costume when you were four.
MRI exams make some people anxious and claustrophobic, an understandable reaction to an experience akin to a 45-minute test-drive in a coffin with limited stereo options. Don’t worry if you’re one of these people and find yourself fighting the urge to flee; the lovely MRI people have straps to help keep you still. And as we all know, nothing puts an anxious, claustrophobic, coffin-bound person at ease like a nice set of restraints.
Fortunately, I didn’t require those. Having spent a fair amount of time in mascot suits, I am not prone to claustrophobia. And if you want to make me anxious, you’ll have to come up with something a lot scarier than MRI, like marriage. In fact, the MRI I had in 2011 triggered not anxiety or claustrophobia, but narcolepsy. Yes, I fell asleep. The technician hadn’t been happy about it at the time- I guess I didn’t stay entirely still while asleep, and maybe he couldn’t hear the machine over my snoring.
So I went into this MRI determined to stay awake. As the scan got underway, it seemed the coffin’s radio was tuned to the “Sounds of VDoT” station, on which a band comprised entirely of jackhammers was performing a cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” A few minutes later, and without my consent, the station changed to “1980’s Arcade Game Noises.” PEW PEW! PEW PEW!
No sooner had my Space Invaders craving been ignited than the coffin switched stations again, this time to “Zoo Instrumental Classics.” For five minutes straight, I listened to what sounded like a monkey banging on a coconut with a ball peen hammer.
For the finale, the coffin landed on “Trapped Underwater,” featuring the dulcet song of a humpback whale in distress. No wonder I fell asleep last time; it was a defense mechanism.
I’ll get the results on Monday afternoon, which is perfect because the trash goes out on Tuesday.