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San Francisco Cinco de Mayo celebration.

February 12th, 2003

Soon Enough
I suspect I've never had an MRI or else I'd remember. They laid me down on a stretcher on a track that ran into a pipe like opening, braced the head and chin, put a dry wash cloth over my eyes and rolled me inside. I thought, well, I'm way back head first inside this pipe and they're going to have their way with me. This after a long conversation about bits of metal: Any in your eyes (ever have an accident where metal got into your eyes), any in your heart (stents and such), any attached to your body? Braces on the teeth? The metal in the mouth from the jaw operation is evidently OK, since it's firmly anchored.

They were worried about things that were not firmly attached: Rings, cell phones, credit cards (they'd be wiped clean), belly button rings. That stuff. Anyway, you're thinking about all of this, thinking about what this machine might do to anything you've spaced out and forgotten, noticing the room's reinforced doors and shielding, and then they lay you down and roll you head first into a long pipe. I thought about it for a minute, in that pipe, then relaxed. Thank god for the wash cloth over the eyes. Couldn't see how close the walls.

And then?

They did things that made noises. They'd put ear plugs in my ears, so the noises weren't all that loud, but they were noises, all right. It took an hour. I had no idea they would put me in a pipe for an hour, but it took an hour. I went in with a crick in my shoulder thinking, well, for twenty minutes, this will be all right, and came out with that same crick in my shoulder and thought - well, well - glad this is done.

I don't know if the test shows them anything during the taking. I think it's all done on computer, so there's probably a CRT they monitor and they can see if there's an obvious problem. No way to tell from their demeanor. I have an appointment to review the results late this next Tuesday afternoon with my doctor. The receptionist said they'd ordered up the film from the ct scan I'd had at the emergency room last month and, when I mentioned I'd had what I thought was an MRI in Napa in '90, she called the hospital, while I was in the pipe, and told me as I was leaving they were searching for the film and the paperwork to send down for comparison. Which could conceivably delay the review on Tuesday.

Did they see something that made them go this extra mile, get the film from 1990 Napa? Not useful to think about it. Go to work tomorrow. The Chinese New Year parade late Saturday afternoon. A wedding party Sunday. Monday, a holiday, but not at our office. Tuesday is soon enough.

The photograph was taken at a San Francisco Cinco de Mayo parade.