There I lay, flat on my back, feeling something like a sausage must feel as it is being crammed into a casing. That is the claustrophobic feeling one must get when you enter the friendly confines of an MRI machine.
I have a collection of broken bones and replacement parts that helped contribute to the reason for this MRI. It started when I broke my right leg in five places playing football in high school.
Next, I broke my right foot while fighting a fire for the Volunteer Fire Department. The operative word here is “volunteer.” Not only were we not paid, but there was no insurance for injuries on the job. Our main goal as Volunteer Fire Fighters was to save a sound foundation on which the former property owner could rebuild. We were not exactly known for efficiency or effectiveness. But I digress…
Next, I had my right hip replaced because there was nothing but “bone on bone,” so said the soothsayer doctor who put in new replacement parts. So the right side of my body has not taken too kindly to injuries.
And, of course, there are the numerous times in my role as the world’s oldest ball boy for the St. Cloud High School football teams that I’ve been run over on the sidelines by football players and referees, resulting in at least three broken ribs and one concussion.
Just to keep it interesting (and not to let the left side of my body feeling too neglected) a lady rear-ended me three years ago in Kissimmee, FL. I was behind a tall truck at the stop light waiting for him to go on green. Obviously the lady behind me was in a bigger rush than the truck driver. From a sitting position, she hit me so hard that she actually went under the rear end of my car and totaled hers.
Two operations later and I’m still trying to make the pains go away but now good old arthritis has set in and you know the rest of the story. I am buddies with everyone who works at the pharmacy.
Back to the sausage factory… when you’re lying flat on your back looking up at… well… nothing… many things go through your head as you’re being reverberated by the MRI machine. Then the sausage grinder starts doing its thing.
If I could be granted one wish, I would want to hold the patent for “noise elimination” on dental drilling equipment and MRI machines. There’s noise… and then there’s MRI noise.
It starts with pounding that sounds something like pile drivers. You know… those pieces of equipment that make big rocks into little rocks? That sound. That’s the modest introduction to the procedure.
Then it transcends into what I affectionately refer to as “the Al Capone machine gun”…rat-a-tat-tat for about twenty minutes.
Next the liar running the machine sarcastically asks if he could get me anything. I wanted to order Blanton Bourbon straight up but I don’t think that’s exactly what he meant.
Then this same chipper lad, who was young enough to be my grandson, promises me “just five more minutes Mr. Aun.” Five turned into ten and ten turned into twenty and now I’m not sure if my back and neck hurt more than the desire I had to strangle this guy.
Of course he offered the traditional “sorry-bout-that” comment as if that made the whole thing okay. NOT! I wanted to give him a copy of my book
“It’s the Customer, Stupid!” but I’m sure customer service was the equivalent of an oxymoron to this guy.
Now that the pounding and thunder was complete he says to me “By the way, did you want ear plugs?” I almost committed involuntary manslaughter right then and there. The problem is I’m sure I couldn’t have caught him even if I tried. After all, he did have to help me off my back to get off the cooking tray that had me on.
When I arrived I had to strip down into those baggy paper shorts they give you. The only thing this guy did offer me was a blanket. Every doctor’s office is set at 50 degrees, so I naturally said yes. I came out of the sausage grinder soaking wet in sweat. He failed to tell me they were cooking me well done.
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Michael Aun is a syndicated columnist and writes a weekly column for this newspaper. To contact Michael Aun, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.