minutia press.
Why do I keep facing North?

Today I just experienced my first MRI scan. Since it was a new experience to me, I expect that most of my readers haven't had an MRI. Although it is not painful, it is an interesting, almost surreal experience. Since there's not too much else to report, I thought I'd report on what an MRI is like.

I had a "dry" MRI -- I didn't have to ingest or be injected with anything. If you have your choice, I would think that's the way to go. Unlike some people, I don't relish the thought of imbibing substances that glow in the dark; injection of said chemicals is equally unappealing.

I think they've improved MRI machines to the point that they're not so confining, but I was subjected to the older model. You're basically put on a rolling table and inserted into the MRI like a Quizno's oven-toasted sandwich.

However, I was given a choice of radio station to be piped through the plastic headphones during the 40-minute imaging party. Because of their reporting on the anniversary of 9/11, I chose NPR. In retrospect this was a bad idea. It turns out the MRI mechanism is very loud when the magnets are energized. To compensate for this, do they give you earplugs? No, they just turn up the radio station really loud. So I was treated to pulsating, loud magnetic discharges along with NPR news reporting at higher decibels than anybody would want.

Before the MRI was arranged, I was asked if I suffered from claustrophobia. It turns out your head is in a rather small cavity during the imaging process. The channel in which you are inserted Quizno-style is just one size, and for me it was a tight fit. I had one bout of claustrophobia long ago, while camping in a small tent and having it snow. But closing my eyes and imagining a larger space did the trick then and it worked fine here too.

At the end, I was eager to look at the pictures -- they were captured digitally of course and then I think they are transferred to film. If I can get the digital images, I might post them on my web page. I think they imaged my good side.

As with most medical procedures, there was little information given about what would happen when or next, and there was no chance to evaluate the conditions of the procedure, so as to provide helpful feedback (like, provide earplugs). I think Steak and Shake cares more about such things than MRI people do.

So, other than having to fight the urge to head North, the experience seems to have left me with no side-effects.

On the whole, I'd rather hear a really good talk about aspect-oriented programming .


Ron, any particular reason (that you want to divulge) for the MRI? Hope everything turns out alright.

Posted by: david at September 11, 2002 9:47 PM