Four Hours In New York
My first appointment with my neurologist went well as we discussed the probability that I have some damage, in some form, to the nerves in my spine. He was astonished that in the past four years none of the nine specialists I saw thought to order me an MRI.
An MRI is Magnetic Resonance Imaging to obtain a very clear image of your internal dodads using a massive magnetic field and radio waves.
I couldn't wait nine weeks for an MRI, (and that was on an "emergency" waiting list) so my neurologist set up an appointment with a U.S. medical clinic. Yesterday I took the day off work and my dad drove me across the border to Amherst, New York.
The building was beautifully built in a colonial style, yet inside was the epitome of moderninity and luxury. The trees all around were turning, making the local cemetery, just down the road, look picturesque. Small independent shops lining the streets were displaying their Halloween wares. It was totally my kinda town.
Inside I had to change into extra-large hospital scubs, not because I'm mega-chub, but because that's all they had. Surprisingly, everything fit. The technician then lead me into the sealed MRI room where I had to remove my glasses because metal and magnets don't mix. Or rather, they want to mix and that's not allowed.
The room had a special door that was opened by pushing a button on the wall. It made a space-vacuum-like PSSSSSSH! when it opened. Instantly I thought of installing a similar door to my garage. The technician told me that the door's purpose, as well as the walls, was to block out all radio frequencies.
The MRI machine was made by Philips, the same company that makes Plasma TVs, light bulbs and clock radios. It was only two and a half years old. The technician told me that it had the strongest magnetic field of any MRI machine in the area. I hoped that was a good thing.
I layed down in the machine for about 40 minutes while they did two scans of my spine. I had to wear earplugs, and then more padding was put next to my ears to drown out the incredible noise the machine made. First came the "WOOT, WOOT, WOOT" siren noises followed by "POREEA-POREEA-POREEA" siren noises and four solid minutes of jackhammering. This happened over and over again as many scans were done.
Afterwards they handed me two CDs full of the images and I checked out. It was a wild experience, although a bit expensive. Now I must figure out how to recoup my costs (or about 80% of them) from OHIP.
I don't think my L5 area looks normal. I don't think I'm supposed to have a centipede growing out of my vertebrae. Do you?
Update: turns out the centipede is completely normal!