Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Bonging Science Doughnut Time

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  • horse,

    Only been "lucky" enough to have 2 CTs and a PET scan this year, can't say I've had the pleasure of an MRI. But if I never have to drink another litre of CT contrast medium it'll be too soon (and I know that'll be happening in the next month or so).

    Palmerston North • Since Feb 2007 • 32 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Clarke,

    I've found the noise of the MRI quite...musical. I was making up all sorts of top choons in my head while I had mine done...at least that's how I managed to while away the hour-and-a-bit stuck inside without going completely bloody insane.

    -36.76, 174.61 or thereab… • Since Nov 2006 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    But if I never have to drink another litre of CT contrast medium it'll be too soon

    Bet you never had to go through the whole prep for a colonoscopy only to be told by the hospital that they made a mistake and you didn't need one after all. How we all laughed!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    I am thankful I've never had to have an MRI, as it's annoying to have to remove all the ferrous material from my body (and in some cases, requires specialised tools). Glad to hear that you're clean for the foreseeable future.

    You should be OK with your new ink. From what I've read, it's mainly a reaction to older inks - new red inks don't contain the materials that react to magnetism (or which give people the notorious "red ink syndrome" problems with healing).

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    medical technology will advance to the point where they can be done with a hand-held salt-shaker thingy

    I always remember the bit in Star Trek IV where McCoy is wandering through the hospital

    McCoy: My God, man. Drilling holes in his head isn't the answer.

    Makes me very aware of the things we think are advanced now and how they might be viewed in a few decades.

    Glad to hear your brain is normal.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3417 posts Report Reply

  • Damen,

    I've forgotten how many MRIs I've had (and CTs as well) for my little brain tumour, but I'm getting used to the scan... and even enjoyed one of them in a meditative kind of way.

    One trick I used for a while was to look directly above into the small mirror, and read the seconds that are counting down. They're reflected off the front of the MRI machine, onto the window opposite, and onto the mirror. (At least that's how I think it works). The numbers are reversed so you have to watch out for 5s and 2s.

    In other words, it's boring as hell, and that's without the noise. I've now got them to stop putting music on, because the grrk, kak, fft sounds make it unbearable.

    My tumour's been taken out and grown back, but the only symptoms I've ever had from it are these damned scans, blood tests and appointments! Oh, and the pills I have to take as a result of the last surgery! Don't get me wrong, I'm appreciative of it all - but sometimes I wonder if life would be a bit easier if they never found the thing.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2007 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Emma, that is good news, actually it is great news

    On my first time through a MRI donut I was terrified I would get jammed and with freshly broken ribs (6) I was not looking forward to that
    Isn't great how medicine and its machines have improved over the past couple of generations

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    You should be OK with your new ink.

    Yeah, I figure it's the old ferrous inks they're worried about. And not terribly worried, it appears, because I always tick the box, and nobody ever checks.

    One trick I used for a while was to look directly above into the small mirror, and read the seconds that are counting down. They're reflected off the front of the MRI machine, onto the window opposite, and onto the mirror. (At least that's how I think it works). The numbers are reversed so you have to watch out for 5s and 2s.

    Ah, interesting. I'm not allowed my glasses, so I can't see a thing. Which I think actually helps with the claustrophobia of the whole thing. But I do find it easier when the radiographers tell me how long each test is. Two minutes of one kind is much worse than five minutes of another, so it's good to know how much longer I have to put up with it.

    My tumour's been taken out and grown back, but the only symptoms I've ever had from it are these damned scans, blood tests and appointments!

    Oh dude, that sucks. But yes, the tumor itself, while blinding me, didn't actually make me feel sick. The surgery and recovery was awful.

    Isabel said on Twitter that the check-ups take you from feeling well to feeling "sick" again - as a classification rather than a state of health, and I think that might be part of why I find the whole thing so annoying. I'd just like to get on with, well, pretending it never happened, I guess.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Bet you never had to go through the whole prep for a colonoscopy only to be told by the hospital that they made a mistake and you didn't need one after all. How we all laughed!

    I did! Scan for diverticular disease (which I always try and explain to people is nowhere near as serious as it sounds), drank the sachets, waited, taken to a room -- and was then told that the specialist had declared "Why are we doing a scan? I have two scans of this man already."

    Fortunately, this was before the getting-stuff-in-my-veins bit. Happily went back to work, then out that night.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18964 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Don't get me wrong, I'm appreciative of it all - but sometimes I wonder if life would be a bit easier if they never found the thing.

    I hear ya. My darling had breast cancer, just a little bit, and never had a single symptom from that. But the surgeries and the drugs -- quite another matter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18964 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I did! Scan for diverticular disease (which I always try and explain to people is nowhere near as serious as it sounds), drank the sachets, waited, taken to a room -- and was then told that the specialist had declared "Why are we doing a scan? I have two scans of this man already."

    I had it down as an "only in the Wellington DHB" sort of story. I guess I was wrong.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    A friend of mine had an MRI in Japan. His MRI machine offered the choice of different types of music or to plug his iPod into it to play on speakers inside.

    Only trouble, the music was all but inaudible under the jackhammer ruckus of the MRI.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1861 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Einst├╝rzende Neubauten started as an MRI soundtrack band. True story.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    My Dad's another for whom the treatment was worse than the disease (at least at the stage the cancer was detected). Probably not helped by having a treatment regime which has since been abandoned for being overly harsh.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    a scanner darkly, darling...
    MRI, MRI on the wall
    who's the ferrous of them all?

    That MRI machine looks like the torpedo room
    in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5046 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Just thought I'd mention that I've had surgery on both knees, both ankles, and a hernia surgery. All of which went brilliantly and made my life much more pleasant than before. They do get it right sometimes :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3417 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    medical technology will advance to the point where they can be done with a hand-held salt-shaker thingy

    You mean this thingy

    Is that "Emma" looking doey eyed thar!

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1497 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Proton oh proton, where have thou been
    Pulsed into the precessional scene
    Resonance and spin and it's all due to B
    Then captured and FT'd for Emma to see



    B - Magnetic field
    FT - Fourier Transform

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1497 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    My Dad's another for whom the treatment was worse than the disease (at least at the stage the cancer was detected).

    Mine, too - and it was the new, advanced treatment.

    There is actually a growing question as to whether we need to treat people for pre-cancerous tumours as often as we do; many would never have developed into full-blown cancer, and the stress and treatment are pretty heavy even if there were no symptoms or immediate danger. Then again, that's a tradeoff with the chance of missing one that kills someone - and most people don't want to take that chance.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Einst├╝rzende Neubauten started as an MRI soundtrack band. True story.

    Cool. Always loved the translation

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16757 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Bet you never had to go through the whole prep for a colonoscopy only to be told by the hospital that they made a mistake and you didn't need one after all. How we all laughed!

    I'm sure it was distressing and bothersome and maybe just a little bit relieving at not having to go through with it?

    But I can assure you, actually having one (or three, and due for another) is not a whole lot of fun either....

    Although, the "prep" is worse than the procedure... (I can never drink enough 'golightly' to get a "clear return".... except if you mean barf up so much there's no more green left inside you... (what they actually are asking for is uncoloured liquid 'stools')

    What I remember from one (you are heavily sedated, but just conscious enough to cooperate by rolling over or moving on request) was looking down at my stomach and seeing a pink-ish light shining out from inside my skin... a bit like ET's glowing finger).

    I also had an MRI (I think?) scan on my knee (different issue)... it was a much more ancient machine than the (CT-looking) one in Emma's video (1995-ish, Middlemore) and was black, in a darkened room, and the sounds were more thunk-clunk than whir-swish in same video. (but equally loud) And even though my knee was the problem, I still had to go into the dark black tunnel head first.... Lucky I'm not claustophobic, eh?

    Yeah, you get over the being a patient thing... prodded, plucked, asked the same question five times by five different people within two hours... who all write down your answer and don't seem to read the previous responses...

    And I'm (sort-of-ish) healthy... dont think I'm making a song and dance... others have it much worse... and I'm sorry for them, not me.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    Gotta admit the 'bong' and doughnut' references got me off on the wrong track entirely there. But aces to hear that you are right for now, Emma. Be sure to wring every ounce of enjoyment out of your every waking moment (and any of your somnolent moments you're aware of).

    Despite being from a medical family I never really appreciated the stuff they get you to drink prior to the colonoscopy - and of course the shitting-through-the-eye-of-a-needle result. They made me lie on a gurney and have a wee afternoon nap, but I think someone fiddled with my botty while I was asleep.

    The degeneration of age is a pisser, but it sure beats the alternative.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    and the sounds were more thunk-clunk than whir-swish in same video

    That's a particularly high-pitched one, there are others that sound more like a brick in a tumble dryer.

    They do get it right sometimes :).

    Mosttimes. The neurologist said I'd had 'the best possible outcome', and long-term I have - the complications with my recovery were entirely temporary, though I think I scared some close personal friends. Everyone I've had to deal with has been lovely, with the exception of the 'you are ill so you must be an infant' nurse at Southern Cross.

    And the odd problems I've been having with my visual-spacial sense (I can no longer read a map without turning it round, I have to concentrate to work out which side of the car is the passenger side) appear to be entirely unrelated to my surgery. It's possible I'm just turning into a girl. Or straightening. I don't want to even contemplate that.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Having your head in the hole for bloody ages never gets old. I didn't like it the first time, I don't like it now.

    What got me was their demand that I took my earplugs out. You think I looked around for some special conductive earplugs just to feel my ears burn? You think I'm going to hear your mumbling over the noise of the machine?

    Worst experience: coming out only to have them say "can we do that again only this time hold this special ridiculously uncomfortable position for 20 minutes while we try to get a clear scan". No, actually, I can't hold still with my spine flat, one shoulder up and one forward, why do you ask?

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 491 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    there are others that sound more like a brick in a tumble dryer.

    You've nailed it again... congrats with the word skillz.

    It's possible I'm just turning into a girl. Or straightening.

    hmm... I doubt congratulations are in order... commiserations may (or may not) also be out of place? I'll just wish you are at peace with the outcome... we're a funny bunch us humans and it's bloody obvious we still dont know completely how we work...

    Different than before but alive is often an acceptable outcome, I've found...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 794 posts Report Reply

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