Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 1161

I had another MRI today. The massive MRI scanners are fascinating. The technology works because our bodies are largely made of water. The hydrogen atoms in our bodies can be aligned using a powerful magnetic field. Then, when radio waves are passed through the body at just the right frequencies, a radio signal is generated that varies according to where the magnet is. The distribution of protons within the body can be mathematically recovered from this signal, allowing the creation of a precise image of the body's inner workings. It would take a physicist to explain how these things really work, but I like to think it's just a giant magnet interacting with a small TV transmitter broadcasting on channel 3. One of the strangest things about the MRI is that early research was largely funded by the Beatles. Yes, those Beatles. British music giant EMI wasn't just a music publisher, it was also an electronics company specializing in medical research. Many say it was profits from EMI's Beatles albums that funded the development of the first commercial scanners.

Although MRI scans are completely painless, I ended up grinding my teeth a bit today. Before they slide you into the long cylindrical tube to begin the scan, you are asked to stretch your hands behind your head. There's only one problem with this. Since I have a dislocated shoulder, my right hand won't go all the way behind my head. I have trouble raising this hand all the way above my head standing up. It's no easier lying down horizontally on the MRI cradle. Somehow they slid me into the tube anyway, but I felt that dislocated shoulder during the entire 45 minute scan. Ouch!

Although the scan went fine, the drive home wasn't quite as uneventful. My car stalled out in a bad part of town a few miles from the hospital. I wasn't looking forward to leaving the car here. Luckily, the problem was just vapor lock. I took the gas cap off, waited a few minutes for pressure to equalize, and the Defender started up again. This is the trouble with driving a 1995 car around in 2013. It isn't very reliable. Wherever I go, there's always some sort of problem that crops up. There are oil leaks, mysterious rattles, and all sorts of minor electrical problems. Most of the problems are minor and easily dealt with, but you never know when your luck is going to run out.

Despite spending part of my day inside a giant magnet, I still managed to get some articles written. It wasn't a bad day at all. Our unseasonably warm weather continues. The dogs are happy and I haven't gotten sick of my austere new diet yet. I saw my first daffodil of the season too. That's bound to be a sign that Spring is just around the corner.

Bailey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day


  1. I don't envy you that scan, John. Hope the results are good.

  2. You have to have your arms over your head for 45 min for an MRI- I better never need one. My right shoulder will be out of joint before 5 min are up. No way am I doing that on purpose. I can tolerate pain, but I'm not interested in self-infliction. Nevertheless, I hope you get some good news from yours.