Friday, April 22, 2011

How An MRI Can Turn Out To Be Fun

So today I went in for a root canal and got an MRI by mistake.  Well not really, but you get the picture.  As some of you have read before, I have occasional appointments at our local VA hospital.  I had been scheduled today, or so I thought for a simple root canal.  Apparently I looked at my calendar wrong.  The receptionist cheerfully informed me at the dental department that I had no appointment scheduled with them today.  By cheerfully, I mean looked at like I had three heads for wasting their time.  But after calling home and looking at my appointment sheet my wife informs me that I in fact had an MRI.  You know, where they put you inside a giant magnet to take really fancy pictures of your innards?  Yep, that MRI.  No big deal I thought, I’m just trading one moment of discomfort for the other.  Shouldn’t be too big a deal.  I can lie down for a half hour.  That I’m an expert at.
So I saunter on over to the MRI reception desk on the other side of the hospital.  I’m thinking that I’ll be met with a few minutes of waiting and then a trip through a giant magnet.  Nope, apparently they need to take blood from you.  So I get the ever so happy task of sitting in the phlebotomy waiting room for a complete stranger to stick a needle in me.  But at least it didn’t take too long and didn’t feel a thing.  Oh who am I kidding?  I can’t stand needles and I wanted to pee on myself.  But somehow I managed to survive the poking and prodding and walk back to the MRI lab.  Arm sore and upset over the lack of band-aids with cartoon characters on them.  Last thing I want to see in a veterans hospital is camouflage bandages.
But I go back and sit until I’m called in.  The procedure itself was simple enough.  They wave you with a metal detector wand like at the airport.  Because the last thing you want when sitting in a giant magnet is for metal to come flying out of your body.  I can’t imagine it is very pleasant.  But for having to sit with your face four inches away from the top wall of an MRI machine for an hour, it was actually rather pleasant.  The guy running the machine couldn’t have been cooler given my slight claustrophobia.  They had a local rock station, WMMR rigged into a headset so you didn’t have the complete feeling like you were inside a washing machine.  Which is what it feels like.  Being stuck in a washing machine.  Little tip, time your breathing to the constant buzzing and humming and you’ll do fine.  But for being stuck in a giant tube, listening to Pierre Robert’s Work Force Block is the way to go.
So, I went in for a root canal and came out the recipient of an MRI.  Apparently my innards are fine.  Turns out the root canal is next.  Which means they get to numb my mouth up.  Whoppee!  What the hell is it with me getting stuck with a needle every time I go to the VA?

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