Synergy Sports Medicine Clinic in the Junction area of Toronto ordered up a few tests and one of them was the MRI I had today. I guess I should be pleased that someone finally decided to have a look to see if I actually have a herniated disc after all these years of on-again, off-again back woes (instead of just guessing all the time), but I have to say that I am never pleased at having to get up at 4 AM on a day that doesn't end with Sarah and me sipping coconut-flavoured drinks on a beach somewhere hot and sunny.
But get up at 4 I did (and so did Sarah with even less of a reason than I did, so I should probably stop whining about it) and we slipped through the pre-dawn darkness of our sleepy city and headed for "Hospital Row" on University Ave. and my 5:30 appointment. We were a few minutes early but I was taken in right away and I was very grateful for that. I got into my fashionable hospital robes (they let me wear two so I wouldn't be cold) and was quickly summoned to the MRI "chamber". I shuffled along in my white socks and black shoes, hat hair and hospital gown and wondered where the paparazzi were because I have seriously never looked more fetching my life. In the chamber I put my glasses on a side table, donned a hair net and lay down on the sliding "bed". I expected my back to cramp up at some point during the procedure, but the wonderful lady looking after me (nurse? technician? not sure) gave me a cushion to put behind my knees and I am sure this made all the difference as I stayed cramp-free.
They put headphones on me (I felt like a contestant on a '70s quiz show going into the "isolation booth") and tested them to see if I could hear the instructions. I was handed a device that felt a lot like the bulb of a baster attached to a long tube which they told me I should use if I "experienced any trouble". All in all I was well-prepared; the only thing I really had any trouble with was where to put my arms and hands. I thought I had it all figured out until I was told I couldn't keep them down at my sides because they might get caught as the bed was being slid into the machine. Holding them tense across my chest was a bit uncomfortable, but that's what I ended up doing. They informed me that the whole procedure should take "about a half an hour" and then they started my progress into the giant doughnut.
The bed moved along a little at a time until eventually I had gone in so far that I could see out the other side. At this point - I think it had been about 5 or 6 minutes - I decided I would count "steamboats" just for something to do. I had done this for about 6 more minutes when a voice in my ear informed me I had "only" 12 minutes left to go. So I started my count again and I was at 11 minutes and 40 seconds when they told me I was done and started to bring me back out. Not an unpleasant experience to be sure, but I'm really glad I don't even have borderline claustrophobia. The only thing I would do differently if I had to go in again would be to wear only one robe. I was quite hot at about the mid-way point - it felt like the vibrations were cooking me from below. But otherwise....no big deal, really.
I got out of there around 6:20, Sarah and I collected the car and drove up to her work near the museum. We rewarded ourselves with a Timmy's coffee and breakfast sandwich, Sarah headed off to work and I returned home to a confused cat.
Now it's time for a little nap so I am 100% refreshed for our big outing tonight: we have tickets to see Ricky Romero and the Jays take on Tampa Bay at the Dome. That seems like a good reward!