I had an MRI on thursday.
It seems I have a herniated disk in my lower back. That would explain why I have taken to laying on my side on the floor and praying for death.
When the doctor scheduled the MRI he asked if I was claustrophobic. I didn’t know how to answer that. I have never had any claustrophobic freak outs but I am sure if I fell down a well and had my arms pinned to my sides I would attempt to kill myself by holding my breath. I guess you can determine how claustrophobic you are by how much you compare an MRI to falling down a well…
I told the doctor “no” because if you say yes they sedate you during the procedure, and requiring sedation sounded very wimpy to me, and if I sounded wimpy I would have to attempt to kill myself by holding my breath.
My appointment was at 8pm at an independent “imaging” office. The office was dark and lonely and manned only by a young hipster receptionist and a large technician with a fu-manchu who I think I saw once on an Ultimate Fighting Video.
To ensure that my dignity didn’t cause interference with the MRI I was instructed to put on a pair of size medium surgical scrubs. I looked like I was wearing skin-tight capris. The receptionist said I looked “ghetto fabulous” and that the look would probably catch on. I ignored her as I was concentrating on not splitting my pants or shirt by breathing.
I had an MRI on my knee once. I remember thinking the machine was very soft looking–curvy lines, friendly colors, a tour de force of soothing design. The room was light and airy, and I only had to stick my knee in the machine, which was also beautiful.
This MRI machine was a tribute to raw functionality, no misguided attempts at beauty here, and the room had almost no lights.
Ultimate Fighter gestured for me to lay down on the table, head towards the machine, a rather upsetting development. Feet first sounded much better, but I kept a brave face, even a nonchalant one, and lay down on the table.
I was unceremoniously raised up to the opening and slowly slid backwards into the machine. My shoulders grazed the sides of the tube leaving no room for me to move my arms. My face was less than a foot from the top of the tube. I was still calm on the outside, but if you were inside my head you would have heard, “Keep-it-together, keep-it-together, keep-it-together, keep-it-together, keep-it-together, keep-it-together, keep-it-together…”
My head was now seven feet deep into the machine, and I was looking at the light strip in the tube above my face trying to decide if I should flip out or relax. My decision-making was interrupted by the technician squeezing my foot and giving me a pat on the leg as he walked away. Maybe my nonchalant face was more ‘chalant’ than I thought, or maybe he just sticks enough people into a plastic tube everyday to know that it is a freaky experience. Either way, the gesture pushed my decision firmly into the relax camp and I was fine.
In fact, in spite of the banging noises of the machine, I even fell asleep briefly. The doctor hasn’t seen the film yet, so I have been trying to interpret it by myself. So far I have been able to confirm that I do, in fact, have a spine, and some areas of it look, to my untrained eye, ouchy.
I am sure the doctor will say the same thing.