Thursday, January 29, 2009

live blogging an MRI - theoretically

I had a MRI of my neck done the other day. Just a follow-up because thats what my doctor likes to do. Which, of course, means my insurance covers it.

I thought it would be cool to liveblog the MRI (blog about it as it happens). Unfortunately metal and high powered electromagnets, like the ones in MRI machines, don't play nice. So I tried to commit the experience to memory and then expunge it in theoretical liveblog format. Enjoy.

6:26 PM - I can't believe they are open this late.

6:28 PM - I hate these dumb forms. Ooh - I get to choose an XM radio station to listen to in the MRI tube. The all hair-metal station is tempting, but... 24/7 Led Zeppelin station, here I come.

6:29 PM - I am going to rock the hell out in that MRI machine. I hope they play Kashmir.

6:30 PM - There's a box I need to check if I have a penile implant. What the hell is a penile implant made of? Also, what is a penile implant? Note to self - work on penile implant punchlines before next MRI.

6:32 PM - This nurse is the hottest nurse I have ever seen. (editor's note; Seriously. Wow. Picture Penelope Cruz as the hot doctor in Sahara, glasses and all, only hotter and with darker hair. Seriously.)

6:35 PM - Remove all metal objects. Check.

6:36 PM - Laying on a slab. About to go in a magnet tube. MRI tech guy informs me the 24/7 Zep station is seasonal. That's right, seasonal. The christmas station is on all year, Zep is November 1 to December 31. I'm going with 60s and 70s classic rock instead.

6:37 PM - Tech dude puts a weird cage thing over my neck. It's all white & sorta looks like what would happen if Apple designed the lower portion of Darth Vader's helmet.

6:38 PM - I'm in the MRI machine tube. Here come the tunes... wait for it... Grand Funk Railroad! We're an American band indeed.

6:39 PM - What the hell is that klaxon alarm!?!? Oh yeah, it's the MRI doing it's thing. Soothing.

6:45 PM - Wait, is this... I think it is...

6:46 PM - It is! "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who!


6:50 PM - Keith Moon was the shit.

6:53 PM - I hope the next song rocks. Kick Out the Jams would be perfect.

6:54 PM - Your kidding me. It's "All You Need is Love" by The Beatles. These guys need to work on their playlists. Helter Skelter would have worked.

6:56 PM - Leaving the tube. Time for a contrast injection.

6:57 PM - I ask the MRI tech if he'll be able to hear me in the tube if I sing along with The Who. He tells me not to because I'll move too much. This guy has no sense of humor.

6:58 PM - I bet that hot nurse would have laughed.

6:58 PM - I wonder who they practice on when learning how to inject someone. It seems tricky, but then again, heroin junkies do it.

7:00 PM - Back in the tube for scan number two.

7:01 PM - Hey, it's a Doobie Brothers tune. That'll work.

7:03 PM - Without LOOOOOOOooooooOOOOVE!

7:05 PM - I wonder what they do if a really fat guy needs an MRI. It's not exactly spacious in here.

7:06 PM - Thank god I didn't go to Chipotle for dinner. Farting in this thing would suck.

7:08 PM - I could go for a Hopslam and some nachos.

7:09 PM - Hey, I'm done!

7:10 PM - Again, this nurse is the hottest nurse I have ever seen.

Monday, January 19, 2009

i didn't break a pole, but thanks for asking

Each of the last 3 times I've cross country skied at Hiawatha golf course, I've been asked the same 2 questions;

"Did you break a pole?" and "So... what's wrong with your arm?" (I love the way Minnesotans start random questions or statements with "so". It's our favorite segue.)

The 'did you break a pole' inquiry has been asked of me while skiing by another skier. It plays out like this;

Guy: Dude, did you break a pole?
Me: No, I got a bad hand so I use one pole.
Guy: Oh, sorry man.
Me: No problem Have a good ski!

The three guys who have asked looked like they genuinely felt bad about asking if I broke a pole. I'm not sure why, I think that's a perfectly logical question to ask. I'd make the same assumption if I saw a 2-armed man using one ski pole.

The second question I get plays out in the parking lot when I'm putting my skis in the car. Each time it's been asked by a guy I passed, so they had ample time to watch my left arm flop around.

Guy: So, what's wrong with your hand/arm?
Me: I've got this rare motor neuron thing that makes my arm weak, so I just use one pole.
Guy: Man, that sucks. Sorry.
Me: It's not that bad, but going uphill is kinda hard.
Guy: Will it get better eventually?
Me: Nope.
Guy: Man, that sucks. Sorry.

Oddly enough, in two years not a single triathlete or runner has asked what's up with my arm. In the span of a week, six skiers inquired about it.

Maybe it has something to do with runners or triathletes generally being in a pack & skiers being spaced out single file. Maybe skiers are looking around & enjoying the scenery while runners are busy checking heart rate monitors and triathletes are staring at cadence or wattage meters.

However, my guess is that skiers stand out against the snow and are easy to see. Runners aren't looking at people's arms, they are looking for a port-a-potty. And triathletes are ogling each others bikes the way most guys ogle boobs.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Over the last 2 years & change I've adapted pretty well to life with one working hand. I'm even getting pretty good at making it through my day with 50% function in my good thumb.

But every now & then life serves up a curve ball. Hell, thy name is 'buffet'. I went through a wedding sample tasting buffet line this week and it sucked out loud.

Getting food at a buffet (like one you might find at a wedding or corporate event) used to be easy. Hold plate left handed, serve food right handed. Sometimes I'd switch it up for fun. I think ambidexterity is the product of being raised by a left handed dad & right handed mom.

Nowadays (is nowadays even a word? whatever.) I can barely hold a plate left handed, and it shakes all over the place. Not a stable platform for piling one's dinner. I ultimately place my plate on the table, which garners some strange looks from other buffet-goers. I then transfer food from the steam tray down to my plate.

This is where things get tricky. Remember that 50% function in my good thumb? It now has to make the long trek from tray to plate, tongs in hand, without dropping any food. This is way harder than it sounds. I get nervous that I'm about to send au gratin potatoes or whatever splattering across the floor - which makes me shaky & panicky - which weakens my grip and makes me more likely to drop something. It's a vicious circle, man.

Getting back to my table can bring another challenge. If I was dumb enough to grab something tough, roast beef for example, I'll need help cutting it. Being 30 years old and having my wife or mom cut my food is just plain weird. No one wants to see that, especially me.

Public service announcement time: If you have a friend with monomelic amyotrophy, do not take them to a function with a buffet line. It's like serving yourself a garden salad of terror and herb-roasted fear with a side of sautéed sadness on a plate of despair. OK, maybe it's not that bad.

Substitute poached trepidation and a dinner roll for the salad.

Friday, January 9, 2009

something to shoot for

I've seen the future of my drumming. It's 8-bit.


Try as I might, I don't think that level of playing is in my future. On the plus side, I can almost play "Gay Bar" by Electric Six.