Thursday, April 19, 2007

Light torture

I stumbled into radiology at 7:15 this morning. I know that doesn't sound all that early, but with my work schedule and habits, 7:15 a.m. to me is like 5:15 a.m. to most people. They directed me to strip down and then steered me still crusty-eyed and wobbly-legged into a strange, silent room - large and empty with the exception of a single MRI imaging tube. I've heard that these tests are to be feared, but only by the claustrophobic, so I wasn't feeling too anxious. I laid on my back and the radiologist asked me if I wanted to listen to the radio. I just stared up at her, trying to coax my sleep-addled brain to turn on. Radio? What's that? I nodded weakly. "What station?" Station? What's a station? I mumbled something about NPR. She nodded and wrapped my leg, then left me alone in the room while the platform slid ominously into that alien tube.

I had been instructed NOT TO MOVE, and to NOT TAKE DEEP BREATHS, and my concentration on that made me not only twitch involuntarily, but breathe at a rate I usually reserve for sprinting up hills. I tried to slow my breathing but NOT TAKE DEEP BREATHS, and I thought about the beach, swimming, cycling ... but for some reason my thoughts kept returning to sitting on a plane. Twitch.

The radio switched on to mumbling static, and then the radiologist said something about 15 seconds and URRRRRRRRRRMMMMMMMM ... loud buzzing jolted me out of my airline fantasy and into a state that I'd have to describe as light panic. It sounds like an extreme reaction to a very minor thing, and it was. But I couldn't shake the thought that the loud buzzing was the sound of an alien machine shooting waves of magnetic resonance or radiation or whatever they use, directly into my body. The radio only made it worse. When the machine wasn't buzzing, static voices rattled off the morning's news. URRRRRRMMMMMMMMM ... sccct scct "170 sccct died today in bombings around Baghdad" .... URRRRRRRRMMMMM URRRMMMMMM ... "Tech killer Cho Seung-Hui said in a video sccct sccct ... URRRRRRMMMMMMM."

The minutes ticked on. My muscles were so tense that I felt like I was going to roll right off the platform. Thinking about breathing wasn't helping, so I did something I haven't done since I white-knuckled the passenger's seat of a turboprop plane making its way up to 15,000 feet to outrun a big storm in southern Montana ... I started chanting the Lord's Prayer. You know "Our farther, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name." It's not even my religious background, but for some reason, it relaxes me. Yeah. I'm a nut.

But that's my MRI story. I've never dealt that well with anything medical. My sister's a registered nurse and I'm the type that gets lightheaded at the sight of blood. I'm also a bit of a technophobe. Combining the two is about guaranteed to send me into a mild psychotic episode. Especially when I'm directing all of my focus into NOT MOVING.

After my appointment, with the sun out and 50-degree clear weather, I thought I deserved to spend a better part of the afternoon relaxing on the beach and barbecuing Not Dogs with Geoff. Now I'm back to sane. Mostly.


  1. Beautiful site -- I enjoyed reading about your adventures. Stunning photography!

  2. Dear sir ,

    We would like to inform you that you have to repeat the MRI due a malfunction ... propably because you didnt stay calme as you had been told .

    (hello from Athens Greece... lol)


  3. Guess those of us who've been advocating the MRI should have done a better job of warning you, but then again there's really nothing like being there.

    I had the same feeling about the MRI noise - it's like the music our alien overlords will play right before they come to eat us. And the not-moving, not-twitching...I had to promise both my legs we would squat with heavy weights and climb steep hills as soon as we were done, if only they would stay still just a little longer.

    Crossing my fingers for you and hoping the test results show something easy to fix.

    That picture is stunning.

  4. Must say...awesome photographs! ur lucky!

  5. Beautiful pictures and great stories. You also have a great sense of humor. Hope your test show that all is well.

  6. What's up with all the flattering internationals around here all of a sudden? I suspect the Nigerian phone scammers are involved.

  7. What's a Not Dog?

  8. You always have wonderful pics on your site.

  9. mmmmmm, not dogs. Hope all is well with your test from down here in Kansas.

  10. Jill, your site is under attack. do something!

  11. What fantastic scenery but you forgot to take me!

  12. Nice story about MRIs. I have heard so many horror stories from friends. Looks like spring is coming faster for Juneau than Anchorage.

  13. Sounds like you did well during the MRI scan. I have never had one but my mum who is about as level headed a person as you can get had one for her freaked her out and she is never freaked!

    You done good kid, now lets hope they can pin-point a cause and get it sorted!


  14. I am i LOVE with you blog!

    Please keep it up!


  15. Beautiful picture. I have never been to Alaska but would love to do so.

  16. Hey

    You have a wonderful Blog. I really enjoyed reading it. I was bored and I started searching for different Blogs and I happen to come across your blog. I bet a lot of people would like to read this blog, I get a lot of free traffic hits from if I were you I would submit this blog to them so thousands of others can see it. Well I wish you warm regards and continued success. I have added your blog to my favorites so I will look forward to all the updates. Thanks again


  17. First I want to say that they pics you post are absolutely BEAUTFUL! Nature in general is a beautiful picture!
    I LOVE NPR news!
    Doesn't sound as if the MRI was fun to you, but at least you know what's happening!


  18. As it is listed among the blogs of note today ( I had a look at your very interesting blog. Having just done myself a post about unusual hiking with bicycle in our mountains I read with great interest your profile lines. Here I see an author that has been among my favourites when I was a bit younger - in the late 1960ties I read "Of Time and the River" too, but my favourite was "Look Homeward Angel".
    Have a nice day.

  19. Fantastic photos and beautiful blog/site. I found your site from Blogs of Note. We have friends in Alaska and if I wasn't before, I am sure now, we want to visit them soon.
    Heidi in Costa Rica:


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