MRI Phenomenology

This is a couple days overdue.

I mentioned before certain knee and ankle issues which have led me to see a doctor. The knee looks good under the x-ray which means it’s some kind of soft tissue thing. So I was sent off for an MRI on Friday. For those of you who don’t know, it unusual to get an MRI in Quebec within days of the referral. It’s usually more like six months. But McGill has private insurance for faculty which reimburses us if we go to a private clinic. I think this sort of thing is only quasi-legal in Canadian policy, but it helps prop up the system by essentially buying off elites, so it’s tolerated. Or maybe it works differently than that. I’m still figuring all that out.

But anyway, the MRI. First of all, I thought it was very funny that I had to remove all metal from my person and endue a series of questions about fillings, surgeries, objects that may or may not have flown into my eyes years ago, etc., this only a week or so after I’d see the last X-Men movie. Gee whiz, it was just like I was going to see Magneto.

Except it wasn’t. The machine was huge and tubular, just like on TV. I was all the way in except for my head. It takes them 45 minutes for them to do the scan and during that time you’re totally immobilized. Apparently some people freak out, but I had the opposite reaction. The machine is really loud but it’s all pulsing drones a-la early Tangerine Dream or some kind of experimental laptop show. I fell asleep in about 5 minutes. Afterward, the attendant told me that most people fall asleep in the machine. Which is weird when you think about it: loud, uncomfortable and immobilizing. Mmmmm! Perfect for a nap.

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