Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Left Toe

I don't know which was worse -- having to hold my foot still for more than half an hour, or wearing headphones that piped an adult contemporary radio station into my ears during that more-than-half-an-hour.

The setting was your basic MRI imaging room, and the story was...well...the story started the day after Mother's Day when I was trying on a pair of shoes my thoughtful husband had given me the day before. One shoe hurt and the other didn't. Couldn't figure out why until I looked down and saw I had a big ole lump on the top of my left foot's big toe, between the joints.

Being the mature (read doctor-avoiding) adult I am, I didn't do anything for another day-and-a-half. Eventually though, some form of common sense prevailed, and I ended up in a podiatrist's office.

It's interesting to be a woman of a certain age and still be able to claim a "first." And this was the first time I'd ever been in a podiatrist's office. I rather enjoyed the small quiet waiting room - just me and the seniors (waiting to get removed whatever it is that seniors get filed off their feet.)

And it was a distinct pleasure to be have an examination that didn't contain the word "stirrups."

The podiatrist sent me off to a nearby facility for an x-ray (because silly insurance wouldn't allow me to take advantage of the machine in the doctor's office) and less than an hour later I was back with my films.

Which showed some sort of bone abnormality. Which meant she wanted me to get an MRI.'s where the internet comes in. You know the drill. You do a Google search and keep reading every link until you find out that your symptoms mean you have an extremely rare, but ultimately fatal, condition. (Or is that just my game?)

Google didn't let me down, and it didn't take long to find at least 5 bone-cancerous-type things that can affect the big toe. Who knew? Well, the doctor did, I guess. Because in the office when this financially-cautious patient (me) was quizzing her on the need for an MRI, the doctor more or less admitted that the reason for the MRI was to rule out the scary reasons my toe bone looked abnormal.

That's why today found me lying on a table for more than half-an-hour with most of my body in a white tube of magnetic resonance and with the aforementioned Adult Contemporary B101 serenading/torturing me. The tech had asked me what station I wanted to listen to (I requested WXPN) but supposedly she couldn't get that tuned in. Oh well, I think 'XPN is fund-raising this week anyway...although listening to David Dye's membership pitch would have been infinitely better than Rod Stewart's "Downtown Train" (which I still can't get outta my head. Aaaaargh!)

Not the least bit of apprehension on my part regarding the MRI procedure (because the internet also told me my head wouldn't be in the tube.) In fact, I approached the whole thing with a lot of curiosity (and any hour away from the kids is kinda like a mini-vacation.)

What I didn't count on: the harder I tried to keep my foot still, the more it would twitch involuntarily.

Perhaps the tech thought she was being helpful when she announced the time of each series of strange magnetic thumps and beeps -- "This one is four minutes" she would say...and all I could think of is "Must stay perfectly still for FOUR minutes...try and focus on Meatloaf's hypnotic voice...oh no, did I just move my toe when I started to relax?...yikes, that magnetism is kinda tickling my feet(toes twitch)...just one more chorus of Two Outta Three Ain't Bad, and I'll have a 2-second break between sessions to wiggle my toes (calf twitches)..." And so on.

The MRI tube had this little digital timer at the end where I could see the minutes and seconds of each series counting down -- although there was also a laser eye right next to the timer that warned not to stare directly into it (the laser.) Although it didn't seem to be on, I wondered if maybe it was some sort of secret MRI laser that was invisible or something.

See what Adult Contemporary music does to my brain?

It was all a medley of stale music, involuntary muscle movements, and stolen timer glances. With a shot of contrast medium towards the end for good measure.

My idea of a fun afternoon.


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