posted by Matt W on May 29th, 2013


While Joe A. would book himself an MRI like he would a massage or a Hawaiian vacation; me, not so much.

I had my first MRI years ago. First, let me give you a little information about myself:

I am not claustrophobic.

Loud noises do not upset me.

The width of my shoulders is currently 26”, and I was 20 years younger and stronger (read wider) then.

I have arms.

Now some particulars about the MRI machine:

It was unbelievably loud, even with the earplugs they gave me,

It was a tube that was no more than 24” in diameter (compare with above).

So, the first thing I remember about this experience is they stopped the machine with my shoulders about to enter the tube and made me roll my shoulders in so I could enter the tube. The second thing I remember is that I wished my arms were detachable. So, I was stuffed into this tube with my shoulders rolled in and my arms awkwardly lying on top of my body, with my hands basically on my crotch. For 40 minutes. Other memories included “why does the noise have to be so loud?” It was like some torture machine. “Thank God I don’t have an itch” and then  for the next 38 minutes convincing myself I truly didn’t itch anywhere because the only place I can scratch is a place I’d rather not have the technicians watch.

I played 18 holes of golf in my head at my favorite golf course, recited the Lord’s prayer (and probably referenced a couple other religions just in case), and made a promise to myself to not eat hotdogs as I knew how they got their shape.

When I asked my father, who had recently had an MRI and  is much thicker through the chest and shoulders than I, he had said “It was fine.” After I had my MRI, I asked him what the heck he was thinking, and he replied ”Would you have really wanted to know that I will never do that again, EVER, before you had to do it?” “I guess not,” was my weak reply.

Later in life, I blew couple of disks in my neck and had to go in again. The first machine I went in was similar to the first… another spectacular experience. The second machine they put me in was a new machine that was open on the side, but actually closer to my face. With this machine, the problem was that with my eyes closed so I didn’t  have to constantly look at the ceiling 2″ above my nose, I would fall asleep and suddenly wake myself up by snoring and move, thereby making the image blurry and pissing off the technicians because they had to start over. After a while, they pretty much talked to me non-stop just to get a clear image. I was in for well over an hour. They really wanted another image right before surgery and I said that wasn’t going to happen.

So, as you can see, there are two sides to the MRI experience. There is the Joe A. (and another .00238% of the MRI going crowd) that thinks it is like having a spa day, and Matt W. (and the other 99.99762% of MRI victims), that think someone really needs to come up with a larger way of getting this information. Note to designers: the CAT scan’s donut size is fine.

I guess I just need to fly to Joe A’s house next time I need to get an MRI and at least watch a little TV.

File Under Jack of all Trades