Can you hear me? No, for I had a MRI.

Yesterday I experienced what is probably the seventh or eighth MRI I have had over the past 25 or so years. That might be more trips than I ever imagined into what I alternately call “the washing machine” or “The Money Reduction Instrument.”

I say washing machine because that is what the default sound of the MRI resembles, except it is probably 10 times louder than a real washing machine. The Money Reduction Instrument is the name I gave the MRI after the first such test I had. The reason for my second moniker is that the test took a sizeable chunk of from my finances.

For many, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI, can provide one’s medical team some extremely valuable insight into various diseases and injuries. The majority of MRIs I have had were for osteoarthritis in my cervical spine. I have had two C-spine surgeries. Despite the two operations — and I imagine those hundreds of thousands of people who have had such surgeries will understand — I have still had chronic pain for several decades now.

Yesterday morning I had my latest MRI. I am still awaiting the results. And while my prognosis remains in the air, I can testify that the actual test yesterday was AS LOUD AS HELL!!!

Do you know this super-model? Well, if you don't, I will confess. It is from my Spring '16 shoot for Journal of Neurosurgery. That's right, me, Mr. EFD himself! I'm just joking.
Do you know this super-model? Well, if you don’t, I will confess. It is from my Spring ’16 shoot for Journal of Neurosurgery. That’s right, me, Mr. EFD himself! I’m just joking.

Just why the noise was so intense yesterday during the test I have no idea. I did have a, so-called, “open MRI.” That means that I wasn’t packed into a enclosed tube with very little room to move — which is an ideal posture for that examination. I was still pretty immobile. I had little room between my protruding belly and the machine. The big difference with this open machine is that it is, well, open. I had to take a look to my left and right, moving only my eyes, to reassure myself I am still free. Even though I couldn’t move. My aforementioned immobility was enhanced with a inflexible plastic collar with a technician placing tape over my forehead for good measure.

Okay, and then we were off. Off to the surround(ing) sound of the MRI machine for about 30 minutes. Oh, and did I mention the machine WAS LOUD AS HELL? Sorry, it was so loud, I had use all caps to describe it.

Rather than use my own brain cells to explain the mysteries of the MRI, I thought I’d let this duty fall to my friends at The New York Times. I doubt that I have many, if any, friends at The New York Times — I just said that because … what the hell, right?

 “The banging is the vibration of metal coils in the machine caused by rapid pulses of electricity, said Dr. Keith Hentel, chief of emergency/musculoskeletal imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

 “Magnetic resonance imaging produces images of the body by causing shifts in a very strong magnetic field and measuring how tissues react,” Dr. Hentel said.

From here, I suggest you read the rest of the article. You might just learn something. But before you do, I suggest you find some earplugs or maybe some ear muffs, such as those we called “Mickey Mouse ears” in the Navy. You should definitely take some precaution from loud noise. And you will encounter loud noise while taking a MRI. After all, MRIs are LOUD AS HELL.



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