Friday, November 21, 2008

Life - MRI

Thanks to my achy back, the last couple days have seen me hobbling around like an old man. I wince in pain when I stoop over, hold my back when I straighten up, and ask customers to pick up heavy things. I generally got an idea of what I'll be like in, well, 20 years. At least I hope I make it that long before I start acting this way all the time. The only thing I'm missing is a cane to shake at the young whippersnappers in my way. I can just hear them now.

"Yeah, that crazy guy says he used to be a bike racer. Right."

One of the things I did was to get an MRI. This is where you get pictures taken using some enormous magnetic field so the pictures show what's going on inside your body. Due to the magnetic fields, and horror stories like someone getting killed when an oxygen cannister got sucked into the magnetic field, I wondered if I'd find out that, yes, indeed, I stepped on a sliver of brake cable 25 years ago, and yes, it got stuck in my heel, and no, I didn't want the MRI machine to pull it all the way through my body and pull it out my nose.

Hey, CSI, I have another "death plot" for you.

I've also heard about how claustrophobic it can get in those machines, so I steeled myself by pretending that I was a special ops guy that had to crawl through a tight tunnel. I'd have to control my breathing, consciously relax, and not freak out.

Hey, look, it beats being a prisoner trying to escape through a sewer pipe, alright?

The missus drove me to the MRI place, not a necessary step but just something to show her support in all my back pain antics. I left her behind when I got called in, and like the lady on the phone, this lady started asking me if I had a variety of implants in my body. There were a couple I thought were interesting but I forget what they were. The reason why was the sight in front of me - the side of a big, special, 18-wheeler, parked next to the building, with an allegedly temperature controlling air cushion filling the gap between the trailer and the building. Think of one of those always-inflating amusement park bouncy shapes, and now picture one acting as an air seal between the trailer and the building. I say allegedly because in my hospital pants and the 2008 Nutmeg Games t-shirt, I felt a bit chilly. On the side of the trailer was a large lift, big enough to fit a stretcher (I guess that would make sense, right?).

I stood on the yellow dot as instructed and we rose up to the trailer bed level. Then a side door, like a garage door, opened up.

It was like Space Odyssey 2001.

White, blinking computer terminals, three smiling brunette technicians in white suits (including the one that walked me from the waiting room), and a passage way to a white tube leading to nowhere, something that, to me, looked like an enormous air intake port for a car.

Or maybe a ship, I don't know.

That was the MRI thing.

I lay down, did the Pharaoh thing (holding the "let me out" button in my hands, both crossed over my chest), and closed my eyes as soon as the bed started moving.

A reverberating brunette voice told me it would be 30 seconds. Then a bunch of Krups Espresso machine-like burps and beeps filled the air. No sign of an espresso but the bed suddenly started getting warm.

I thought of how much the electric bill must be for this thing.

A pause. Then the voice told me three minutes. More beeps and such, some machine-gun-like in their staccato rapidity. The warmth soothed me. I had to make sure I hadn't dropped the "let me out" button. A pause. The voice came back, told me there'd be another four minute session.

I drifted off.

I woke up as the last session ended. I can't remember if there were three or four of them, but at the end the bed started sliding out of the tube. When I felt it safe to open my eyes (the sounds around me sounded less tinny), I did.

The tube was only a few inches above my face. I was glad I kept my eyes closed the whole time.

Then the tube went out of view and there was a smiling technician.

The rest was anticlimatic - I left, got lunch, went back to work, and winced and groaned and moaned when my back bothered me.

I hope that I can get back on the bike shortly, that I can start doing some all-round exercises. I'm feeling lethargic, flabby, and un-bike-racer-like.

And I hate that feeling.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I used to volunteer at a hospital back home and I used to transport patients from the ER to the CAT scan place and watch as they did the imaging.

It so cool to see that stuff on a scan!

-Young Rider