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Training Log Archive: cedarcreek

In the 1 days ending Apr 27, 2009:

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Monday Apr 27, 2009 #


2nd Doctor's appt for wrist. Had 2 x-rays taken, and then into the exam room. He detected a linear indication in my scaphoid, which is really bad---means 9-10 weeks in a cast. I'm skeptical. It sounded like a reason to order an MRI. I don't know.

{edit: Scaphoid wiki. Sounds like a common bone to fracture. My wrist doesn't hurt here, though.}

Fortunately, the x-ray is necessary in this case only to allow him to order an MRI, which offers instant diagnosis to a trained eye. So I verified coverage with my insurance company, and then made the appt. They have slots until 945pm, and it was open, so I went to an OCIN board meeting and then left straight to the MRI place. So Drs appt at 330, and MRI at 945.

It was an open MRI (big cylinder maybe 15 inches above a bed). They put my wrist in a little trap device (called a coil), and added pillows and various spacers around me so I could lie motionless for about 30 minutes. When I was comfortable, they slid me under the cylinder until my wrist was approximately on axis with the center. This put my eyes right under a low ceiling maybe 2 inches from my eyes. I tried to adjust the pillow under my head and gave up because I kept banging my forehead against the stupid cylinder. In my field of view was the cylinder 2 inches away and the actual room ceiling, so it wasn't claustrophobic at all.

The scan actually took about 35 minutes. I think 6 separate scans of various times---4, 4.5, 5.5 minutes.

I can really see how it could be scary. I had an elevated breathing rate, but it wasn't too bad. There are about 4 distinct sounds as they do the different scans. One is like a guy with a jackhammer a couple of rooms away. It's like a 2 per second hammering sound. My friend texted that it would sound like this:


I'd say, "Yeah, that's pretty accurate." Maybe not a B sound, but more like an old tractor idling or something.

One sound is like being inside a noisy transformer (or really close to a noisy fluorescent bulb), with an annoying 60Hz buzz. The other two are sort of beat frequency sounds that remind you of old science fiction movie UFO and high-tech equipment sounds. All of these sounds are not especially loud, but you feel them in your chest. They're very acoustic or something.

I was thinking of the double-E joke about "We torture electrons". I mentioned it to my PhD Chemist friend, and he said, "No! Not electrons! Nuclei!" It's actually NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance), but people freak out when they see "Nuclear", thinking it means radiation rather than the little balls in the middle of atoms, so the marketeers renamed it Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI. So my recommended slogan for MRI is "We torture your nuclei, and give you massive anxiety!" Or something. My chemist friend also opined that MRI is much, much safer than x-rays. It's ironic that the quick easy one is dangerous, and the one that takes forever and beats you up with acoustic anxiety is the safe one (as long as they're really careful keeping ferrous objects away from the big magnet. And they are).

I've looked at the MRI Images, and I just don't know what I'm looking at. It's nothing obvious to me.

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