2.19.2010

My Journey Through the Tube of Death: MRI FREAK OUT


MRI FREAK OUT | Crappy Candle
About 65% of all people suffer "dysphoric psychological reactions" when having an MRI.
Photo by: Steve Jurvetson (jurvetson on Flickr) CC 2.0

Must Repress Impulses
I laid down on the MRI bed, my arm was propped up with some pillows and cushions. The tech says this will take 30 minutes and I can't move at all - not even wiggle my toes. He put some headphones on me. The weapon of choice was soft rock. As I was conveyor-ed into the tube "I Can't Go for That" by Hall and Oates was playing. It seemed appropriate. I was feeling good. Marc Anthony's "You Sang to Me" came on and I'm less enthused, but I plug along. Then the MRI clanking noises started, but I was still good because I watch House and I know what an MRI sounds like. Plus I wasn't bleeding profusely or convulsing in the first 2 minutes, so that was cool.

Muscles Resent Immobility
MJ's "Rock with You" comes on, and I'm like "oh, hell yes." But then the music starts breaking up pretty badly, like the Magnetic Resonence or whatever is messing with the radio waves. So I think about how these MRI waves are going through my body and damaging my gametes and I become hyper-aware of my body. I start thinking of every muscle and I slowly tense up. But I can't move, at all, so I'm afraid to relax, because if I relax, my body might move and mess up the images. By this point, "(I've Had) The Time of my Life" comes on. The music is still breaking up, coming through infrequently, punctuated with rhythmic ominous low thumps.

Motionlessness Rouses Insanity
The music turns off and the tech says in his microphone that I had moved slightly and that he would have to do that last image over. And I think, good God, as if 30 minutes wasn't long enough, everytime I move the slightest bit, he has to redo the image and an extra 5 minutes will be tacked onto my time in this death tube. Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do with It" comes on next. The muscles in my body start firing randomly and I've just about given up. Each twitch means more tube time and the longer I'm in here, the more I want to twitch. I start thinking of my life outside the tube. And what I'm going to do once I get out of the tube. If I ever get out of the tube.

Miserable Ruthless Intensity
Things get a little hazy here. I feel as though I'm not getting enough air. I want to take a some deep breaths, but I'm afraid that inhaling too much will cause my chest to move too much and distort the image. So I just concentrate on my breathing and my now sweaty hand that's rested on my stomach. I wouldn't be surprised if it left a wet hand print on my shirt. How embarrassing would that be. I close my eyes and try to relax, but without relaxing too much, because that might distort the image also. My right arm is aching.

Most Restless Incident
At some point, a crappy cover of "Don't Dream it's Over" is playing. The tech tells me I only have 2 minutes left. Awesome. I contemplate counting down the 120 seconds, but I realize this will make me crazier. So I stare at the ceiling of the tube, 2 inches from my face... and wait... God, this is taking too long. I bet the tech quoted me 2 minutes, but it's actually 2 and a half minutes. Or 3 minutes. He's doing this on purpose. Because he's a sadist.


When I got up, I was so pumped full of adrenaline, I was having problems speaking. Don't get me wrong, I know the MRI wasn't that bad, it was just a million times worse than I thought it would be. I imagined it would be something like an extended x-ray. I didn't realize what that would mean. My doctor had told me previously that if I was claustrophobic or if I thought the MRI machine's loud noises would bother me, that she could prescribe a sedative. Since I'm not claustrophobic and I can't hear, I passed on her offers of free and legal drugs. Idiot.

--

Greg cartoonized me:

MRI Freak Out | CrappyCandle.com


2.16.2010

Top 10 Reasons Why I Hate Driving

10 Reasons Why I Hate Driving | Crappy Candle
Image Credit: Eli Christman (Gamma Man on Flickr) CC 2.0
I don't remember hating driving before I moved to San Francisco. After moving to SF, I didn't drive for about 3 years, and when I finally had the opportunity to, I didn't really need to because I had my Hoke. On some occasions, I have to drive, but I'll be grinding my teeth in disgust the whole time. Here's why: 
  1. I really like the window seat. Technically, the drivers seat is also a window seat, but the drivers seat does not let you zone out at all, really. Because you're driving a car. I take my business seriously.

  2. I can't do anything when I'm driving. So, since I take my business seriously, I can't talk on the phone, look for split ends, or eat a sandwich. These things make other people nervous and make me a bad driver, but these are things I like to do. Something's got to give and it isn't likely to be my sandwich.

  3. Driving makes me paranoid to change the music playing. This is why when I was a wee weenus, I came up with the idea that the person riding shotgun gets to play DJ, but I get veto powers. So what happens when I'm alone? It's ugly. I usually put on the radio and listen whatever crappy music comes on.

  4. Similarly, driving makes me too paranoid to multi-task. You know, like looking at maps. Or my IPhone. Or IPhone maps. I once got lost in the Presidio for about 30 minutes trying to find the Sports Basement because every time I thought I found the right street and drive for a little while, I'd realize I hadn't found the right street. I'd pull over, readjust the IPhone map, plan a new route, then get lost again. This was compounded by the fact that right before I got to the Presidio, an angry San Francisco youth hit the back of my car with his jacket (with metal zippers and buttons, man. METAL!). This brings me to my next point:

  5. I hate pedestrians. I hate the phrase "pedestrians have the right of way." You know why? A lot of people take this to mean that as a pedestrian, there are no rules. This is especially applicable to San Francisco. Pedestrians don't stop when they come to cross walks. Often times, they aren't even looking. They just plow on through. It's like they forget that you're driving a heavy piece of machinery. Come on guys, it's just not safe.

    I Hate Pedestrians | Crappy Candle
    Yup. This is San Francisco.
    Photo by: Eric Fischer on Flickr (CC 2.0)
  6. I hate bikes. I hate them more than I hate pedestrians. Don't get me wrong. Cyclists can be courteous and cautious, but I fear most in San Francisco suffer from a form of hipster elitism that makes them immune to even the biggest of cars, what with their "fixed gears" and silly hats. My rule of thumb is, if you're too cool to wear a helmet, you're probably going to ride your bike like an idiot.
    I Hate Driving | Crappy Candle
    You know it's bad when your bike douchery is clogging up real bicyclists.
    Photo by: Kenneth Lu (ToastyKen on Flickr) CC 2.0
  7. I hate other drivers. Lets ignore the extra peripherals on the road. Drivers who drive too slow, too fast, tailgate, ignore traffic signs, ignore the order of right-of-way at stop signs. Oh, you drive a BMW? You don't need to use your turn signal because, yes, you are better than me.

  8. I hate the people in the car with me. No one is immune to my all-encompassing rage. My passengers often pick up my driving insecurities and act appropriately. Criticizing my driving only makes me angrier.

  9. It makes me a bad person. You see all this? My blood pressure is rising just thinking about getting in a car and driving.

  10. Accidents are scary. It's really what it boils down to for me. I'm a worrier and accidents are worrisome.

2.09.2010

My bones to pick with Bones

Public Domain image via Wikimedia Commons

For those of you who aren't familiar with Bones, it's a show on Fox about forensic anthropologists who solve crimes in connection with the FBI. It's on like 3 different stations so you can probably watch it any night of the week. Bones was my replacement for Law and Order: SVU when I watched all the episodes. Really. It's my new favorite and I watch it religiously. That said, Bones is as believable as Jessica Alba's acting. Here are my beefs:
  1. How can you see if you don't turn on the lights? Seriously, what is with crime shows and dimly lit labs? I blame CSI for this trend. Labs are not lit with tinted lights that create sexy shadows. Labs are lit with florescent bulbs that show every flaw on your pock-marked face. These same lights help to illuminate whatever it is that you're studying. Who knew?
  2. I don't even want to know what's stuck to your sleeve. Lab coats are supposed to get disgusting. Mine, for example, is covered in wax that has all sorts of lovely bits embedded in it, like hair and teensy pieces of mouse kidney. You might argue that not all labs are that gross. Well, yes, they are, especially when they're dealing with organic tissues like the characters on Bones do. These people should be covered in blood and feces at all times (and I did see that episode with the vats of poo and those people were not poo covered enough, if you ask me). Lab coats are also amorphous and ill-fitting. You shouldn't be able to make out Emily Deschanel's tiny waist - everybody has the same body in the lab: Wide and brick like.
  3. I'm pretty sure there's more to life than being ridiculously good looking. Come on. These people are all really hot (not possible in an actual lab). And they all look like they smell good (really really not possible in an actual lab). Even the most normal looking of the current original cast mates, Hodgins, would be an Adonis in a real lab. The "king of the lab" if you will. And on that note...
  4. Where's the asian gentleman with the super long eyebrow hairs? And the lady with the random inch long hairs sprouting from her chin? Or the, you know, seasoned, well respected, scientist who hasn't left the building in 20 years? No really, where are the old people? Labs should be full of them because they're, uh, smart? Hello! They're the experts in their field. The characters on Bones appear to be under 35. The Director of the Jeffersonian disappeared after the first season and I suspect it was because he was too old. Like in Menudo.
  5. The victim was a 30 year old female with hemophilia and dwarfism, a cleft palate and a recently broken femur. Also, when the remains were found, the bones were GLOWING. And that, folks, is how we solve a homicide. If that homicide was committed against an extremely rare individual in extremely rare conditions. Like an astronaut that was hit by a propeller then thrown out of a plane. There are about 100 astronauts employed by NASA right now and there over 300 million people in America. It's like picking the victim out of all girls named "Jennifer" ... in my high school graduating class.
  6. How can you write what you don't know? Okay, so this one is Greg's peeve. His argument is that Temperance "Bones" Brennan doesn't understand most jokes, sarcasm or anything that isn't logical, so how can someone with lacking social skills write believable characters and best selling novels? What makes an innie an innie and an outie an outie? Eternal questions of our time, I say.
  7. The trouble with microtomy. This one is my peeve, and probably mine alone, so pardon my rant. A microtome is a fancy piece of histological equipment used to section one-cell thin sections of tissue to make slides, which are, in turn, studied under a microscope. It also takes skill to use and, when working with paraffin like they did on Bones, two other pieces of complicated equipment plus about 12 hours to end up with a finished slide. Yet all Dr. Bones had to do was say, "I need some paraffin and a microtome." It was magical. And her technique was terrible, which is why if this was a real lab, she would have had some poor lab tech with a repetitive stress injury do the cutting for her (ahem). Sorry, I just get really worked up when I see what I do on TV or in movies because what I do is so unglamorous, it's never on TV or in movies. Hey! Did you know histology was in The Fugitive? And when a sample is cut one-cell thick, the tissue is essentially transparent? So how was Ms. Jane Lynch able to provide Mr. Harrison Ford with a vibrant colored slide from an un-cut block of tissue in two seconds flat? ...

    Aha! Magic!

2.02.2010

The "S" word

Scoliosis. Wow. That's a word I haven't heard since I was 12. And what a scary, dirty, awful, awful word. When I was a tween, I remember fearing the scoliosis screener's meandering index finger more than the actual medical condition. We each had to go into the locker-room, one by one, take of our shirts, and bend over in front of a complete stranger. Word on the street was that the screener would probably snap or possibly unhook your bra. Nevermind the fact that this was a medical professional. Or the fact that this poor woman had to suffer the monotony of surveying hundreds of adolescent backs in a stinky middle school locker-room. Needless to say, I wore a bra that hooked in the front that day. Shirtless, I wandered down the dark, damp hallway and bent over. And nothing happened.

So, what's with the Scoliosis talk Shay? Well, I had and x-ray of my neck taken few weeks ago and when I went to the doctor today to review the results, she said there was nothing wrong. Except for some Scoliosis. EEEEeeee. For me, scoliosis means "hump." I know this because on a previous visit to this same doctor, she said I had one. A hump, I mean. Just a little one. A cute little baby hump at the top of my back. I'm sorry, but when I hear "back hump" I think of Quasimodo.

I think she has inadvertently scared me into sitting up straight. And I only wear bras that hook in the front now. Actually, that last part was a lie.



Image Credit: Gkiokas A et al (CC-2.0), via Wikimedia Commons
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