07 March 2011


Well that was interesting.

I had an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) this past Saturday, part of the ongoing process of understanding just what it is about my psoriatic arthritis that we won’t be able to do anything about. And I had this modern procedure in one of the least modern looking hospitals in town.

I know what you’re thinking. Saturday? You had a medical test on a Saturday?! I was quite surprised by that, too, but happy to have one medical thing happen for which I didn’t have to take time off from work. I did find out that this Saturday thing is not without its downsides: getting up when I might have wanted to sleep in; finding the side door I had been directed to locked; and having to ask the guy in the commercial café for directions because there was no one at the reception desk.

So already being a bit annoyed by the aforementioned inconveniences, imagine how happy I was when the technician took one look at me and said “You’re not going to fit.” Thanks lady. I came here on my Saturday morning, found the door you directed me to locked and now you’re telling me I’m too fat to have the test that won’t actually result in any improvement in my health? I almost left then, but I had to stay around for the humiliation of the hospital gown.

The technicians made sure at several points leading up to the experience that I had no metal on me. The video I found on YouTube and have embedded below demonstrates the importance of that.

We ended up putting me on the table face down in what they called “the Superman position” (one hand outstretched — and attached — in front of me), and I did fit into the tiny hole. Even with the earplugs, the noise was disturbing. Like some kind of industrial noise band practicing for a gig by playing short selections from their various numbers. I had no idea how much time had passed, and spend all of my time trying not to tense the attached hand, dealing with the other arm falling asleep, and not moving my sweaty brow from the “free” arm for fear of hitting the back of my head on the machine and panicking at the concrete demonstration of just how small a space I was in. It was a blessing that I was face down so I could ignore the smallness of the space.

A word on why I was having this done. My most recent experience of having an ultrasound on this wrist in order to have a cortisone injection was not conclusive. The ultrasound people recommended to my rheumatologist that I have an MRI to see things more clearly. It is all a bit of an exercise in futility, however, as any treatment other than palliative for the arthritis is out of the question: arthritis treatments are immune suppressive and I already have something working on suppressing my immune system that I am trying to fight, not help.

Upon emerging from the machine, and once I had re-established the feeling in my right arm enough to get up from the surface I was on, the technicians tried to save a little face on the size comments. “If you have to come back for your neck, you definitely won’t fit. You would have to be on your back and your shoulders are too wide.”

That was a little easier to swallow.

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