Sunday, March 25, 2012

Molly vs. The Machine

The other day I had an MRI.  I'd never had one before and I was kind of scared because, you know, big giant tubey thing... 
Yeah, magnets.  Benign & innocent, no? Ah, but the ones that live in MRI scanners are scary powerful, much moreso than their refrigerator-bound cousins. A projectile oxygen tank, attracted by MRI magnets, even killed a person once. Yikes. Anyway, here's a picture of the machine...

The worst thing about the process wasn't the encasement, really. I didn't mind being in the tube. It kind of felt like a cocoon. And it wasn't the noise, either, although that is definitely a minus (think: 20 dentists and 42 carpenters waging an impromptu war over who can do the loudest drilling job... two inches away from your head.) What sucked the most was having to keep completely still for an entire hour. Shoot, even at the dentist's they let you spit. Of course, I had no way of keeping track of the time in there. My head was put in a traction thing, my arms were, I dunno, somewhere. It was very strange and uncomfortable. 

I wasn't sure how much time had passed (but it was a lot) when I finally heard the technician say, "Okay, just seven more minutes..."


"...and then we'll be giving you the shot of dye and put you back in."

Well, crap.

First off, don't tease me like that. Second, I don't like getting shots. Seriously, f that.

But somehow I made it through the shot and the second half of the experience, and when I was finally liberated I drove straight to the Panda Express and bought fried rice and honey walnut shrimp with a soda, half diet Pepsi, half raspberry iced tea. Mmm.

Afterwards, I was thinking about how awful it had been to have to lie in one spot for an hour, and then I remembered that there are some people that have to do that always. Yes.... people in iron lungs.

Oy, do iron lungs terrify me. But they also fascinate me at the same time, not unlike rickety staircases, the Titanic, the 60's, and old playgrounds. Iron Lungs have a valuable purpose (although modern technology has given us better, smaller options) but they're just so... metallic and enormous and machanical and... eeshk.

BUT... if you think having to lie in a MRI tube for an hour is bad, try being in one of those bad boys for six decades! (See? Again with the whole "perspective" thing. Always valuable.)

Amazingly, it's been done -- out of necessity, yes, but still, I have to admire the folks. People like:

Dianne Odell - who went into an Iron Lung at age 3, and died at 61, and
Martha Mason - who went into one at age 11, and died at 71.

Can you imagine having to lie flat on your back for 60 years? The thing is, though, both of these women, as far as I can tell, led good, full lives. You should read about them. And maybe there are more. Really, they seem like great ladies.

But that machine still gives me the creeps.

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