Thursday, June 01, 2006

MRI Boogie

Since my scary bout of optic neuritis last year, often a sign that one has multiple sclerosis, I go for an MRI of my brain every six months. Thus far, there haven't been any changes to indicate the MS diagnosis, thank God, but I still have to go to double-check (neurologists hate idiopathic conditions). It's rather an interesting experience, although a noisy one. I'm not sure how the technology works, but there's lots of clanking and buzzing and clicking and such. Marlon, the technician, is my buddy - he's especially appreciated because when he injects the contrast dye into my veins, he does it almost painlessly. Something about lots of practice, I guess.

I was lying in the tube at 9 this morning, with my head wedged into submission with some pillows, my eyes closed, and the noises bouncing around me this morning, and I tried something different to keep me calm and non-claustrophobic. Usually, I alternate between reciting the Jesus Prayer, the Our Father, and singing the gospel hymn "Be Still and Know that I'm God." This time I tried to parse the different sounds to see what they reminded me of.

The clanking sounds like someone hitting a hammer on the outside hull of a submarine. Particularly apt, since the tube has the feel of a one-person submarine. Occasionally, there's a sound like the "Dive!Dive!" klaxon in a sub as well.

Then there are the sounds of a callused hand on bongo drums, with varying rhythms that are reminiscent of jazz performers of the bebop period. The beat is slow, then gets faster, than becomes totally arhythmic, then...silence.

There are intense buzzing noises that feel like an alien is drilling into my spine. Not painful, just intensely vibratory. I can feel my whole body zinging with it, even with the earplugs.

Such strange technology; such a coarse way to look at our innards. Remarkable that God does it without a tube and without us feeling a thing.

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