What goes around comes around…in the MRI machine

I learned a very valuable lesson this week regarding MRI etiquette. But first, some background. 

I have been dealing with this inexplicable foot pain for the better part of three months now. Right foot, sesamoid ligaments for those keeping score at home. It makes walking a pain, and after a night out it keeps me awake, crying out for attention by throbbing and sometimes swelling. But I’m a man, I can take it.

 

Not really. So despite a good family friend being a podiatrist and the first person to look at the foot to tell me “it’s not broken”, I had to find a different doctor who took my new insurance. No easy task. But finally I found a nice enough DMP whose office is 1 block away to examine me, scratched his head, and said “better get an MRI”. 

Here’s where it gets interesting. I’ve gotten two or three MRI’s in my life. None of them all that pleasant, but, in the grand scheme of things, not all that unpleasant. The racket and loud noises of an MRI machine are actually soothing when compared to the screaming and horn blowing of a midtown NYC street. The catch: the only appointment I could secure during this lifetime was at 9:30 PM last night. Which was fine, because I was coming from a meeting at the Temple (side note: if you want to look forward to an MRI, schedule it to coincide with a Temple meeting). 

When I arrived at 9:15 PM I found myself in a waiting room all alone, to learn that there was a schedule kerfuffle and that I wasn’t due in until the next day. But through the powers of persuasion I managed to talk them into letting me go after the last patient gets off the table. Which wasn’t until 10:15 PM. In retrospect, bad idea.

Now there isn’t much to an MRI, you lay there, all alone, for 45 minutes, while enough electric current to power Wichita gets circulated around your body at the approximate loudness of a Pandora concert. The tech walked me in the back, clearly irritated that she had to work late, and asked me the standard questions preceding an MRI while I was de-robing behind the curtain.

When she got to the piercings and tattoo question, I didn’t look up (nor did she) and answered that I had both on my ‘private parts’. Which, of course, made her pause and begged the follow-up question. When I told her I was just kidding, she recalibrated herself, tossed me on the table, and left me in a cold, dark MRI exam room in the middle of the night. She clearly won.

The next 45 minutes were among the creepiest in my life. So for the future, I’d suggest never getting an MRI after the sun sets, and for sure, never making a wise crack to the technician. Here’s to hoping the results are less exciting than the exam.

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