Clinical Trial, the fourth visit

The next phase of the study is to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of my head. Bear in mind, I’m not yet in the actual study. This is just preliminary to make sure I qualify.

The neuropsych test was to establish a baseline of cognitive function. I’m not sure but I think that if I already had some form of cognitive decline, I might not qualify. The MRI is to determine if my brain structure is healthy enough to take the drug being tested. If they find scar tissue or a brain bleed or some other type of injury, I’m out. Of course if it comes to that, to hell with the study. I would be making a beeline to a neurologist yelling, “Fix this.”

Lucky for me, the imaging center was very close to my house, so ten minutes and I’m looking for a parking place.

I’ve had an MRI before so I knew what to expect. The machine used to be a big tube and very claustrophobic. I found that a washcloth over the eyes can fool the mind into thinking, “No, I’m not in a big white plastic coffin with just six inches clearance on all sides. Actually, I’m lying on a mattress in an open construction zone with jackhammers going off all around me.”

This machine was a newer model. It was bigger and the tube was open at both ends. It made me feel that, if there was trouble, I had more avenues of escape. I opted for the washcloth anyway.

MRI machines are really loud. It has something to do with activating the magnets. They literally look all through your body part, in this case my brain, in little virtual slices. Each slice incorporates a different jackhammer sound. Of course I wore earplugs and headphones. The noise still rattled my teeth. They told me this would only take thirty minutes.

The first sound was a rapid da da da da. Yep, still a loud jackhammer and I was already thinking about how long this thirty minutes was going to be—you know, like how the ninth month of pregnancy lasts about three years.

Sometime the burst of noise was brief. The pauses between bursts were sadly even shorter. Sometimes the noise lasted longer, the last round was agonizingly so. By this time I was fairly certain that the technicians had set the machine on autopilot (or maybe kill) and had wandered off to get coffee. They told me it was, in reality, only ten minutes. What did they know.

I got out of the MRI machine with the uncomfortable feeling that all the cells in my body were lined up in order, like good little soldiers. I wondered if this exposure pushed me ever closer to actual Alzheimers. Think positive, Maybe all that jostling helped clean out any plaques and tangles that might be wandering around in there.

I’m told it helps to stay positive.