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Mark Atwood
Brains. Brains of the... Living!
I got the MRI done today.

For such a useful piece of such advanced medical technology, the actual proceedure is really rather boring. Under the supervision of the MRI tech, I had to sign a piece of paper that stated that I knew of no metal imbedded in my body. They were especially concerned with if I had ever worked in a machine shop and had ever gotten a metal splinter in an eye. I then stripped off my jewelry, my coat and jacket, my boots, my belt, and emptied my pockets. No need to strip down to a hospital gown, for which I was thankful. I laid down on a padded plank, my head was locked in a plastic vise, and then my upper body was inserted into a pipe that was maybe 75cm in diameter. When the scan began and as it was underway, the tube sounded like it was being being beaten on with a jackhammers. It was very loud. The headache that this whole process is to identify was expressing itself quite strongly. Oh, and I had to get an injection half way though. (Of "magnetic dye", so that my blood vessels could be imaged as well.)

The procedure lasted over an hour, and I had to hold perfectly still for each scan, the longest of which was over ten minutes.

One cool thing. I would usually keep my eyes closed. When the scan began, and as the details of the scan were adjusted (which would change the pitch and tempo of the hammering sounds), just barely perceptable sheets and patterns of color would wash across my vision. I have no idea if they were hallucinations, the result of sound pressure against my eyes, or a side effect of the magnetic fields stirring around in my brain meats, but they were fun to watch, and were a great distraction to keep me from getting too bored.

Oh, and almost instantly after the magnetic dye injection, I started salivating rather heavily. Not so much as to drool, but my mouth was definitely rather wet. I wonder if it's a side effect of the carrier? Anyway.

They go to some effort to make being in the tube as non-claustrophobia-inducing as possible. It's well lit, but not too bright, a clean cool breeze blows down the tube, and it's open at both ends. And the tech would talk and listen to me via a speaker and mike immediately before and after each scan. But it's still a very close tight fit. I have to wonder how they deal with kids, and with people of a hefty build.

Anyway, the resulting pictures are cool. They look just like the ones on Discovery Channel. My own brain, with all the parts I remember from High School health classes. And not just cross sections either. It was a whole 3D rotatable model, done in translucent greys.

I'm going to see if I can get Swedish Medical to give me a DVD-ROM of the whole dataset, and some 2D slices in TIFF format. It is my brain, after all.

This was just the imaging of course. It will be a couple of days before a diagnostician will get back to me with an analysis.
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omahas From: omahas Date: January 29th, 2003 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

MRI fun

I've been through an MRI before...actually recently (in the past couple of months). My osteopath wanted to confirm a diagnosis years ago of a bulging disc (which is once again bothering me). And, I am a bit claustrophic. Not of just any closed or close situation, but ones in which I feel I have no control over (or limited control). For example, I don't have a problem being in a closet at all. I can open the door. But having been mummified in saran wrap before, I know that that got me freaked out.

Anyway, the MRI gave me limited ability to move and get out in a hurry if I needed to, and that caused me problems. But I just kept doing breathing exercises and imagining situations that I would be calmed in, and got through it pretty easily. And I would do it again if need be. But it would take some significant mind work to keep me calm.

Oh, and they gave me earplugs, so the noise wasn't so bad. Sorry you didn't get any. :(
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