David Arioch – Jornalismo Cultural

Jornalismo Cultural

The MRI and the metal’s chimera

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I had the impression that the machine slowed and compressed me as the sound increased

I even forgot how big the machine could be (Photo: Steward Health)

I even forgot how big the machine could be (Photo: Steward Health)

After more than ten years, I went back for another MRI exam. Arriving at the clinic, I confirmed my data, signed a new guide, got a badge and sat in a comfortable armchair in the next room. Meanwhile, Oprah featured the story of an architect facing termite problems. Around me, nobody said anything. They were all silent, looking at the TV.

I tried to follow the outcome of that modern tragedy, but it was impossible. My eyes turned to the door, open or closed, where young women appeared calling the patients. In these circumstances, my anxiety overrides any other sensation. Despite the great movement, soon I heard my name, I straightened my beanie and went my way.

I walked into a locker room and the girl said she’d be back in ten minutes. As usual, I took off my clothes and sat in the armchair, where I noticed again how clinics look more glacial on rainy days. Even the most subtle of the breezes seem able to cross walls and puff the unsuspecting, remembering that nothing in life is unattainable and that the moment can be as hard as a cement piece.

Over my head, was a small safe for things like watches and cell phones. I looked at it closely until a phrase echoed through my mind: “Leave everything that contains metal because otherwise something bad can happen”, the MRI technician warned me earlier. To corroborate, I read a warning next to the door, stating that metals can damage the machine and cause serious injuries to patients.

It worried me so much that still naked, I kept sliding my hands over my body, trying to find some trace of metal. “Is there anything metal in my body? Am I right? Am I right?”, I questioned myself, so distressed that I did not rule out the possibility of finding lead needles, sticking out from my nails and aluminum wires from my ears.

I took off my cap and rubbed my hands on my hair to make sure there was no steel abrasives in my scalp. After wearing the trousers and the t-shirt that she gave me, I spent at least five minutes in unfathomable introspection. And in the meantime, I digressed so much that my body became numb, so lethargic that I was feeling like a seed. I tried to get up, but I could not move. My feet were trapped in a void immersed in a whole. “That’s weird! It looks like a sign!”, I inferred.

Suddenly, the technician knocked on the door and called me. Then, I followed her into a huge room. It had been so long since I had had a MRI exam that I even forgot how big the machine could be. As soon as I lay down and smiled briefly, the woman frowned and made a squeak of displeasure. “Gee, you wear braces! Can you remove it?” I said no. She watched me for a few seconds and accepted the fact.

“Look, it’s going to make a terrible, terrible noise, so I’m going to put those protectors in your ears. If you go wrong, just squeeze this little ball that I’ll take you inside, okay? “I nodded my head, I pretended I was calm, and waited for the start of the exam, already seeing that white tunnel like a crematorium in disguise.

I did not remember how small it looked from the inside. After two, three, and four minutes, my imagination had worked as never before. “It does not make much noise. It is a soft, slow sound. I’ll end up sleeping”, I thought after nearly five minutes. Believing that my exam was coming to an end, I heard a crash so loud that my sleep numbed eyes widened.

How foolish of me! The exam had not even begun. Along with the noise, I had the impression that the machine slowed and compressed me as the sound increased, out of cadence. And to further aggravate the situation, a bewildering noise sounded like an explosion. Along with the noise, I had the impression that the machine shrinked and compressed me as the sound increased, out of cadence. And to further aggravate the situation, a bewildering noise sounded like an explosion.

“Damn, did something happen? What if this machine becomes on fire with me right here?”, I fantasized, already noticing my warm back and thinking of changing positions. It was worse when I remembered the braces and could not find enough space to bring my hand to my mouth. I just felt my gums burning.

At that moment, a macabre and dystopian salad of movies ran through my mind. From David Lynch’s “Eraserhead,” to William Sachs’s “The Incredible Man Who Melted”, I watched hidden in the Mouth of Hell when I was a child. In short, I traveled through an untimely universe of tragedies.

I often pressed my tongue into my braces to make sure everything was still normal. And the noise intensified. My anxiety increased among the intervals because the silence flustered me. There was a satiric type of claustrophobia that made my mind a hostage. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and tried to restore my composure. It did not take long and I realized that there might be something else even in the crude dissonance of the noises.

So, the din turned to music when I linked what I heard to movies like “Run Lola Run” and “Trainspotting”, and bands like Ministry, Atari Teenage Riot, Nine Inch Nails and KMFDM. When the MRI exam was over, I had the most grateful sensation of anyone who sees a light at the end of the tunnel. I got up with a cherished heart, said goodbye to the technician, and walked to the dressing room. There, I saw a girl who did the same exam. Wearing braces, she was laughing in front of one of the doors. We did not even greet each other. We just laughed, recognizing in the creativity of fiction a joke in the form of redemption.

Written by David Arioch

December 24th, 2016 at 6:54 pm

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