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The Magic of Magnets


Here is the MRI gang after my scans. Jo is second from the left, Bonita the far right, and the other two are helpers I don't know.

I remember the first time I heard that they had discovered a way to use electromagnets for imaging. It was probably at least twenty years ago. At the time they called it Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging for what reason I don't know as there has never been any radiation associated with it. We now take it for granted, but it is an incredible technology. The discovery of this astounding fact will be studied by future generations. Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen discovered x-rays accidentaly in November of 1895. Back then it took nearly 30 minutes of radiation to make one image (his hand.) Incredible isn't it? X-rays used to be called Roentgenograms. Sound waves used in ultrasound is another amazing discovery. When I first began taking x-rays in 1971 there were two alternatives, either x-ray, or nuclear medicine. A lot has changed since then.

The resonance part of the name most certainly must refer to the incredible sounds the machine makes. I counted nearly six different ones, including a car alarm sound, a tapping, a machine gun sound that morphs into two machine gun sounds, and others I no longer remember. Jo explained that she never minds performing MRIs, but hates to have them herself; she gets through it by counting the sounds because she knows how many cycles they represent--thus how soon she can be done! I don't mind them myself. I close my eyes and zone out. I was shivering before we started, but they wrapped me in a cocoon of blankets, and I was fine.

While at the hospital I had my mammogram and a pelvic ultrasound at the insistence of my GYN. He feels better that I keep a check on my ovaries after my mom's cancer. I'm not too concerned, but I relented. The young woman who did my mammogram is pretty new at it. She used to be clerical staff a few years ago and then went to Valencia to be a radiographer. After I left they have used a number of new girls. I knew that Cory was probably nervous doing my mammogram as I used to be known as the "Mammo Queen." I told her no worries--she did wonderfully. She admitted she was very nervous and was pleased when they came out great the first time. (It may have helped that I positioned myself.) I hadn't been in my room since I left a little over two years ago; it was very weird. There were still a few of my funny jokes and such on the bulletin board. Hard to believe I spent 40 hours a week in that room for ten years.

Karol did my ultrasound; she's another long time friend. After the pelvic, she put some gel on the transducer, and took a look at my right upper quadrant. Because I am so thin the scan was perfectly clear. She showed me my kidney, gall bladder, aorta, pancreas,and liver. You can see the hepatic artery, as well as the superior vena cava. She was wishing one of the students could come in to see what a pretty scan looks like. What you are wanting to know is if she saw anything abnormal and she did not. Dr. Walzack, the radiologist and I chatted and he'll call me if he sees anything.

When I first began school a little over two years ago I imagined I would be so thrilled to be graduating from there. That I am, but in some ways it is anti-climactic. I just want to be done--no fanfare please.
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