I’ve been having lots of odd physical symptoms. I wrote about them here. I still don’t know what is going on but they haven’t become any more severe and I am calmer about it now. I still want to know what is causing them. I would rather not have them.
Recently I had 2 MRI’s. Have you had one? They are pretty stressful even if you are not claustrophobic. You have to hold perfectly still in a tube for a long time while VERY loud vibrations, tones, bangs, and clanking sounds happen all around you. The tube is narrow plus they put a cage around the area they are taking pictures of. I also had contrast which means they inject gadolinium into your vein for the last few series of images which enhances certain types of tissue. I had one of my neck and one of my brain. During the first one I had a mini panic attack. My heart was racing and I had to talk myself through it. They have you wear ear protection but the crazy clanking noises kept startling me over and over. You must also hold perfectly still during the procedure which for me was about 45 minutes. The second scan of my brain was better. This time they gave me foam ear plugs PLUS ear muffs and I took a, Ativan which ever so slightly took the edge off.
Do you know how an MRI works? Unlike a CAT scan, which used radiation, an MRI uses magnets so it SHOULD be safer. After having these scans, I wanted to learn more about them. I really wanted to find out what causes all that banging! I found a very good explanation from this New York Times Q&A.
The primary magnet used in an MRI is 60,000 times stronger than the earth’s pull! Electricity is used to activated the magnet which is made up of coiled wire. The nuclei in your hydrogen atoms line up with this strong magnet. Radio pulses are used to cause the nuclei in your hydrogen atoms to momentarily change direction. Then smaller gradient magnets focus the magnetic field and pick up these signals from your hydrogen atoms. The atoms return to their previous position at different rates for different tissues and from this an image can be generated using math. A byproduct of the electric current that creates the magnetic pull are loud vibrations (which can be as loud as a rock concert)! The gradient magnets pulse at varying strengths that is why you can hear a variety of thumping.
Here is a short video that explains it better than I can…
It’s a pretty amazing technology, don’t you think?!
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