Monday, March 7, 2011

3-7-11 The MRI

This morning was the pelvic MRI, thanks to the ultrasound not showing anything they were willing to conclusively identify.

First order of business is to change into scrubs, which is a step up from the open-backed gowns, put everything in your locker and head for the giant machine. You lay on your back with your pelvis centered over a frame and they lay a rib cage, skeleton-type contraption over the top of you. Then they slide you into the "hole."  For a pelvic MRI you end up all the way in, which gives you plenty of time to consider whether a coffin has more headroom than this machine.

You can't move, so of course every time you breathe, you feel every muscle twitch. My tech said, "We've got earphones with FM or XM stations, what's your preference?" (You have to wear earphones because the machine is incredibly noisy.)

Now, any one who has ever ridden in my car knows the XM 80s on 8 is pretty much always on, except when they do one of those stupid "lost hits" or I find myself subjected to Tiffany or Samantha Fox or Kylie Minogue . . .  okay, I do skip around stations a lot if I'm being honest.

The tech is able to break in and speak to you over the headphones. They also handed me a little black squeeze thing (are you digging the technical terms here?) that they never explained, but I held it the whole time. I think it might have been a way to monitor heart rate and give you something to squeeze if you ended up in a bona fide freak out thanks to the claustrophobic confines of the machine.

She says, it will be about half an hour, about 25 minutes, then we'll inject the dye, and take a few more pictures and that will do it.

So in I slide and here come the tunes. Wait, dye? Can't move. I start wondering whether this will be a shot in the hip. Dye? Really? Like blue ink or something? So then I start thinking about the 30 minute time frame they'd told me it would take. Let's see, figuring each song will run between 3-4 minutes, we should only get to 10 songs before this is all over. 10 songs. I can do this.

#1. Footloose (1984). Great. Love the song. I use it on my workout playlist. It is really hard to stay still to this song. The noises start up. I try to focus on identifying what they sound most like. There's one like a semi-truck's horn. There's another that's more like a jackhammer. Most of them sound like "Star Wars" sounds -- lasers and blasters. Kevin Bacon was really cute in this movie. I remember having pictures of him ripped out of Tiger Beat that I carried around in my binder.

#2. Falco's Rock Me Amadeus (1986). Fantastic. From this point forward, I've decided to see if I can remember every song in order while I'm in here. I don't have much else to do. THIS song was inspired by the film Amadeus? Did I see the same film as Falco?

#3. UB40's version of Red, Red Wine (1988) Hi Marty. Marty loved this song. It was our senior year. After Marty passed in 2006, whenever I would hear this song I'd think of that day we were listening to it and bobbing out heads back and  forth and smiling at each other.  . . . The line broke, the monkey get choke,Burn bad ganja pon him little rowing boat . . .  wait, what?

#4. Stevie's "I Just Called to Say I Love You" (1984) Yay, cheesy Stevie brings back all kinds of memories about my freshman year. Oh, and Gene Wilder. This was in his movie Lady in Red. Although, I love Johnny Depp, Gene Wilder IS Willy Wonka. How did I get to this thought? But so far, I feel lucky -- no songs that make me scream.

#5. Depeche Mode's "People are People." (1984) Did I own this album? This is the one with that warehouse industrial complex background and the wedding couple. No, I had the one that came out after that. . .  um . . .  Black Celebration. I wore Stephanie's tour shirt to Europe . .  wait, different tour. That was Music for the Masses. Five songs. . .  that's at least 15 minutes down.

#6. Bruce Hornsby's "The Valley Road." (1988) My luck can't possibly hold out. That's six songs in a row that I like. The only thing to do other than go over the lyrics in my head and remember high school days when these would blare on the radio is to look up at the cylindrical plastic directly above my eyes or follow the lines of lights down the tube, which make me think of Spock at the end of Star Trek II when they are jettisoning his tubular coffin out into space. Geez, that's almost as cheerful as the lyrics to this song.  Okay, 6 songs times at least 3 minutes, we've got to be getting close. . .

#7. Mister Mister's "Kyrie Eleison." (1985) How appropriate. Lord, have mercy down the road that I must travel. Marci taught me her dance routine to this, holed up in her room that she shared with two sisters. I would spend the night and we'd use her reflective window as a mirror to work through the routine. I was always two steps behind and terrible at it. I miss her.

#8. Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" also 1985. Sophomore year, short hair, leggings and long shirts with big belts slung around, and sometime a beret. Of course I danced to this. Did you know the string section is supposed to be based on Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries? Yeah, neither did I.

#9. Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" (1983) The oldest one so far. I wasn't a huge Billy Joel fan until Storm Front, but now I listen to him all the time. Of course, as soon as I heard the first notes an image of Homer Simpson blaring this as his hippie protest song. I watch too much T.V. It's even better in German.

#10. Modern English's "I'll Stop the World (and Melt with You) (1982). Second Brit song with parentheses in the title. Hey, that's ten songs. We've got to past a half an hour. . .  what kind of injection? Dye? Really?
"You've seen the difference and it's getting better all the time. . . " Where was I in 1982? Oh, right, 6th grade.

And then, the voice, who has checked in on me a few times comes on and says "Ok, I'll be in to do the injection and we'll only have about 5 more minutes."

I start sliding out. Look! Ceiling! And the fluorescent lights are turned off. Sweet. She takes the headphones off as the end of the song is winding down. Turns out it's a clear mineral dye and just a poke in the arm. Whew. Maybe I should've asked about that 10 songs ago so I hadn't been obsessing over it.

Then, I'm sliding back in and the headphones are put back on, right at the chorus of

#11. Heaven's Isn't Too Far Away by Warrant (1989). Good grief, the Gain detergent commercial just popped into my head, the one where the old farmer is swept away by the smell of his laundry and the announcer actually uses the word "gooder." Help. Glam rock was never quite my thing, although I will admit to introducing Sammi to the Scorpions.

#12. Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (wait, 1979? Guess they're counting it because it reached #1 in 1980). Ah, Freddie, you're awesome. It's been longer than five minutes, though. The lower back is really aching now from not moving.

#13. John Parr's "St. Elmo's Fire" (1985). Not a great movie. Pretty good soundtrack. "You're just a prisoner and you're trying to break free. . . " Got that right.

#14. Pet Shop Boys "West End Girls" (1984) Come on. . .  how are we on song #4 for "five minutes"?? And right about then, I was sliding out and it was over. Whew. Another couple of songs and I was destined to get stuck listening to Debbie Gibson or Rick Astley.

I made it. And I had all 14 songs memorized in order. I'd been going back through them from the start, then in threes, and yes, as soon as I got back in the changing room, I wrote them all down because my short-term memory was not going to make it much longer before it exploded.

They gave me a DVD with my MRI pictures on it. This does me no good at all. I'm not sure what half that stuff is supposed to be. It's me as a cross section of organs, tissues, and muscles. My soul is all tied up in there somewhere, dancing around to 80s tunes. Think I'll wait to hear from the doctor tomorrow and not worry about it.

I was very happy to crunch in the light bit of snow we got last night and stare up at the wide gray sky after all of that, even if I couldn't see the mountains through the clouds. At least it wasn't two inches from my nose.


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