Thursday, February 26, 2009
MRI Rock.....संगीत एम. आर आय
“Laughter is God's hand on the shoulder of a troubled world"......
But when the shoulder itself is troubled, the laughter tends to become a Rock Music moment.
I have never been a great science fiction fan. People with triangular faces and pointy noses giving villainous commands in space and speaking like a robot is not my idea of fun. Neither are folks with tubes attached, automatically sliding into circular magnets, while a bunch of enemies charge the magnets up, my idea of smart folks.
So while I have been acknowledging pitiful stares from neighbors, worried stares from family, and suspicious looks from some who think I am making muscular mountains out of twisted molehills, the continued pain combined with some some movement hampering, prompted my doctor to suggest an MRI .
To those acronymically disabled, this ,means Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The whole idea, is that a magnetic field thoughtfully and cleverly applied around you at the troublesome points, cajoles and more or less forces all the hydrogen atoms in your body (which are everywhere), to simply align themselves in one way, regardless of what they were doing before.
Really brought back memories of Miss Desouza, my second standard teacher, who would walk around with a longish scale, as the class dissolved into an unruly mess just prior to leaving in the evening. A certain angle of raising her hand along with the scale, brought visions of descending thwacks across knuckles, and the entire unruly class fell into an amazing line, which was the required thing in school, before we filed out to go home.
You never know where the hydrogen atoms might actually learn their stuff.
Once the hydrogen atoms are lined up, some radio waves are then directed towards these areas, and the reflected stuff caught as images on a computer. They also appear on film sheets. What you get is some really terrible looking images showing how you are inside; though I must say, that some people manage to display the terrible stuff outside on a daily basis as well.
This business of getting pictures of what's happening inside, regardless of whether its a bone, a tissue, a tendon, or a muscle, is a very useful thing.. Many times MRI's are able to show up stuff we do not suspect at all.
I was asked to remove all metal ornaments, clips, specs, phones etc, and given this very dull looking wrap to wear. I handed my purse and stuff to my daughter and entered a room outside which, were alarming notices, about magnetic fields, no pacemakers and metallic implants allowed etc . Two guys had me climb on to a platform on which were some kind of flat planks, and they strapped me in after placing my neck in a sort of inverse guillotine position. The AC was killing me, and they had a rug around me.
They didn't think too much of my Shavasana pose, and to make things really dramatic, they had me cross my hands across my chest, so I would look suitably submissive as I was driven into the Magnetic Mayhem. They told me not to move. What if I coughed? They gave me a weird look, and gave me a ringer call thing to hold. I had some doubts about the width of the magnetic thing vis-a-vis my own non-trivial width. Before I could ask about being stuck in the entrance and setting off alarms, they closed the door and left.
All of a sudden, the plank thing started moving into, what i call the Circle of Magnetic Mayhem. (CMM). I entered into the thing, head first, at a slow pace, designed to heighten the suspense. Eyes closed, bit of a racing heartbeat. Me telling myself, "I told you so ". Another me saying,"Cool it. ". The sliding stopped and i felt like I was in a planetarium, where the sky was 1 foot away from me, and there were no stars. Of course it didn't occur to me that with me there, no other stars would be needed....
I tried to get a shuteye, And there was some knocking. Fairly loud.
I almost responded with a "Yes?".
The frequency of the knocking increased. I defiantly lay silent. This time, eyes closed. Way in the background, I could hear some noise of unoiled hinges being made to open and close. Sometimes it sounded like quietly moaning dogs, at a low decibel level. And one of the sounds, that was rhythmically happening in the background, throughout , was similar to what one hears in rural areas, where they use bulls and cows to turn the big rod that crushes oil seeds, in traditional oil mills. The cowbells and movement make a very sweet rhythmic sound. It could possibly be the hydrogen atoms in my ears or something, but this rural sound actually lulled me into a misleading sleep.
Misleading, because soon, I heard something that sounded like the drill they use to break up concrete road surfaces. Fast and loud drilling. Non stop. Once in a while it would change direction. The pitch would alter. And the rat-atat-ta thing would continue. Almost sounded like machine gun fire.
All the rural cow imagery vanished.. I wasn't really in trouble, but this was a test. I wanted to shout and say STOP. TURN THE VOLUME DOWN. But I guess those hydrogen atoms had really changed loyalties. When in trouble, we always think of the One Above. And so I started saying a Sanskrit prayer in my mind, which is health related , and I have often used it. The wonderful thing is, that the prayer could be set to the beats of the drilling in the Magnetic Mayhem. I started doing several recitations of this prayer in my mind, and also deep breathing simultaneously. It was actually fun trying to figure out how many recitations of the prayer I could do in one drilling session.
The drilling noises increased, in volume as well as in duration. Every time they stopped, I would think it was over. Just to spite me, the plank would move further inward, and the entire racket would start all over again with the suspicious knocking and stuff. Now i thought of another prayer, the one we used to say as children when we were frightened . That too worked out wonderfully well to the drilling beat.
There was soon an encouraging pause. No knocking, no drilling, no clicks.
And then, deliverance.
The plank thing actually slid out with me, without setting off any alarms. I was about to get off, when the guys said there was another session, this time for the shoulder. Apparently, the one before was for the spine.
They again changed some planks, wrapped something that looked like a heating pad thing across my shoulders, and had me lie down in a sort of slightly tilted way. This time,i escaped the guillotine, and was rewarded with a pillow. One hand was outstretched and the other was still in the submissive pose, clutching the ringer call bell. The fellows disappeared and the I was once again introduced into the Magnetic Mayhem center.
This time I was ready.
I knew all the knocking, drilling, dogs cooing, cowbells in the background, hinges creaking . I lay with my eyes closed, enjoying the drilling beats. This time, i was more adventurous. I started thinking of other songs.
Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire was particularly appropriate. Jai Ho is a celebration. And i was singing, in my mind, a remixed version of Jai Ho, to the very rhythmic drilling beat, holding notes over several rattling noises, celebrating my victory , over the one-track mind of the wilful hydrogen atoms. Once in a while, I used to think that I was taking God for granted, and would instantly get back to my original prayer. That too felt now like a celebration.
The fear and unease had gone. The drilling didn't bother me at all. I had several more songs lined up.
I started thinking of a new genre of music. MRI Rock.
You sing songs to all those drilling bits. You compose inside the Magnetic Mayhem center. And record. Maybe they can attach an electrode to my mind, and hear all those songs in mp3 format on the same computer that is doing the terrible images of torn muscles, and tendons and other destructive stuff.
You could have different songs for different tissues and areas of the body. You could sing "These boots are made for walking " better than Nancy Sinatra as you take a knee MRI; "Candle in the wind " sung while doing a lung MRI would teach Elton John the real song; Stevie Wonder would join you in singing "I just called to say...." as you did a ear MRI; you could probably croon "light my fire" better than Iglesias as you do a sluggish thyroid MRI; and who better to show than Roberta Flack, as you sing "first time ever I saw your face" while doing a facial MRI. They could even give you a CD with all the images with the songs playing in the background , as your doctor peruses the stuff.......and I haven't even started with the Hindi stuff.
Suddenly something shook. No, it wasn't the earth responding to this huge outpouring of talent.
The dream was over. The plank slid out. For a change, there was a smiling face. I was asked to rest and relax for a few moments till they just rechecked the images.
The original guys came in. They were smiling.
Maybe they heard my songs.
Maybe they were actually very happy to get rid of me.
I will get the report in a day.
Should I ask about the songs CD ? ......:-)