MRI and Steel Metal do not mix.

February 19, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Somehow, without even knowing why, my right knee started to bother me. I could not remember any falls,or injuries, but the pain was always there. Adding extra vitamin supplements to my diet seemed to help, but it did not take the edge away. Xrays did not reveal anything  wrong and so this week I was off to have an MRI done on my knee.
I arrived at the hospital at 9pm, 15 minutes before the scheduled appointment; St Joes is an old place and finding my way to Nuclear Medicine in the 12th floor was like going through a maze with many doors. In my mind, I was trying to map landmarks in order to find my way out again. Finally, after few turns here and there , the MRI registration room sign appeared before me.
A  friendly lady was talking on the phone to an elderly patient who was very anxious about her upcoming appointment. The secretary was trying to describe to the patient the process for an MRI, but nothing she said was enough to appease her; after about 10 minutes of going back and forth the secretary skillfully was able to move on and with a grin on her face turned to me. She was amused by my last name, she never tried to pronounce but she told me it sounded nice.
She gave me some papers and told me to walk down the long hall where I would find a clipboard and some pens to fill out the forms. The end of the hallway was actually the waiting room,but ironically, there were only enough chairs for 4 people, which of course were already occupied.
One of the forms asked if I ever had a piece of metal stuck in any of my eyes; my mind raced  back a few years ago, when doing some metal grinding a piece of metal got stuck in one of my eyes: a visit to the local hospital took care of my wound.
I duly noted this on the form and gave it to the nurse in charge. She read the form and asked me about my eye; she wanted to know if there was any metal left in it. I said no, but she kept asking me about it , after reassuring her, she went back into her office and came back asking me to sign a waiver  to protect herself. Finally, she let me in the room were the MRI unit was located; this was an amazing piece of technology, it looked like an out of space machine designed with sleek materials, colors and finishes: the controls were touch screens neatly designed. As she prepared my knee for the treatment, I started to doubt myself, wandering if there was any metal left in my eye that I was not aware of. She had told me that the unit emitted a high intensity magnetic field and it would pull out any metal left from within my eyes. So here I was about to go into this super magnetic machine and wandering what if...but it was too late, the table I was laying on moved up, and then slowly moved into the round shaped machine.The nurse had said that there would be a lot of noise as the scan took place, and sure enough it remind it me of the sound of a jackhammer but not quite so loud. it changed pitch and tempo as it went on for about 30 minutes.Throughout the whole session, I expected my eye to pop out at any time.. my nerves were shot .. with great relief I finally heard the nurse tell me that the test was done.
Looking back now I laugh at how silly I was to worry about it so much.

 



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