Thursday, January 3, 2013

Me and the MRI

Well, the imaging center did both knees today. Just in case you ever need an MRI, let me make some comments.

First off, it wouldn't hurt to wear some socks. Even though they gave me some paper foot covers and wrapped me in a heated sheet, after a while my feet were freezing (probably because I couldn't move my legs.

They're really particular about what you wear.  Nothing can have any ferrous metal in it. I was permitted to wear my stretch pants, but not the bra since it had metal in it. If this happens again, I'll wear one of those all stretch bras without any underwires.

An MRI is really loud---and then it gets much, MUCH louder. After the first go round on the right knee, I asked for ear plugs. The second time around with the earplugs, it was much better. Rather like going to a boring early Philip Glass concert. The technicians offered me music to listen to, but loud music on top of loud MRI sounds was just too much. I was better off with the ear plugs.

When they asked me if I was claustrophobic, I said 'no' on the paperwork. Then I met the machine. I don't think I could have stood it if I had to put my whole body in there. However, only my legs went in, and  I was okay.  So, really, really confining space. Far more confining than I expected.

Before I had the MRI I had to list all my surgeries and implants in case I had stainless steel  in me. I read up on this last night, and even if they don't explicitly ask about a particular body part it's important to list every single possible clip, stent, implant etc. Mine turned out to all be titanium (as most are after 1995). I had some surgical clips from the 80's so there was a little frisson of worry, but I'm here to write about it so obviously nothing happened.
A slice of an MRI of somebody's knee
(not mine)
So after the MRI (took about an hour all told), they gave me a CD of my images. I give that to the orthopedic surgeon on Monday and find out what's wrong with me.

And then maybe I'll find out if I'll skate again.


  1. I ALWAYS forget to wear a sports bra when I go get my MRI's done. Everytime.

    I love the loud clanging of the MRI- I find it to be very relaxing. Phillip Glass is a good way of describing it. I think it sounds like someone shaking a can of screws next to a dot matrix printer. I've never been offered music or earplugs.

    There is always a little light that has a sign right next to it that says "Do Not Look At The Light"- except, by having the sign, it is exactly where I look, so I try to keep my eyes closed. I'm not claustraphobic, but my Mom is- so much so she couldn't be in the room with me when -I- was in the machine.

    I've only ever had them done on my neck, so for me, the most annoying thing is when they say "This one will be for 7 minutes, don't swallow". UM? Okay, I'm sure I'll be able to prevent an action that eventually becomes involuntary for that long- I mean the "this one will be 30 seconds", I've got that, but they just get longer and longer. Doctors are so smart.

    Hope your knee is okay.

    1. So how do they do an MRI of the lungs. "Don't breathe for 7 minutes." ?

    2. They are probably used to the distorted images that come from the movement of the lungs.

      I always did end up swallowing- there is no way not too. I just tried to do it as infrequently as possible.

  2. I've torn the cartilage in my left knee three times. Since I'm slightly claustrophobic, they always put me in the MRI machine feet first. This, of course, would not have worked for an upper body injury. All I know is that machine is loud enough with your head sticking out of it. Glad you survived. I hope there is nothing seriously wrong with your knee.

    1. Fingers crossed and hope you'll be back on the ice soon. I've never had an MRI and hope to never need one after reading your description.

      And, after reading the account of your knee injury, I ordered but them sent back some D3O knee pads from Se_Ku (the largest size was "medium" for women). They agreed to let me being their male beta tester. After trying the pads on I phoned Se_Ku and told them that the pads looked great but I'd need a size that didn't cut off the circulation to my lower leg; an extra half inch or so ought to do it. Their pattern makers are supposedly working on this as I type. Hopefully this will result in a new offering for male skaters.

    2. George, jjane who comments here sometimes, has reported making DIY knee pads made from akton pads. Go over to and search for 'akton pads' and see if you think you can do that.

  3. I've had several MRIs (back - twice; knees - twice; head - twice) and I'm claustrophobic. I've always had to remove my bra, which for the knees made me look at the tech as if he just wanted me to remove my bra. LOL! I hope you never have to have another one.

    Keeping good thoughts for you to be back on the ice soon!

    1. The magnets are always 'on' even when the machine is not examining someone. They are so strong that once when a security guard inadvertently entered an MRI room, it pulled the gun out of his holster and when it hi the machine, it discharged a round. Another time, a nurse walked into an MRI room and a pair of scissors were pulled out of her pocket and hit another nurse in the face.

      Apparently, even though the hooks and eyes in a bra are very small, the magnets can cause them to heat up during an exam.

  4. Hope the news from your doctor is all good and you're back on the ice soon!

    And I'm another one who has always found MRIs kind of relaxing - strange, I know.