Friday, October 19, 2012

Differential Diagnosis: Part 2 of ?: MRI

I went in for my MRI today.  There's not much more to say at this point, since my doctor hasn't seen the results yet, but that makes a crappy blog entry.

My MRI was scheduled for 8:00am this morning at the WellSpan Imaging Center in York.  First of all...8:00am?  I work from home, and lately it's been all I can do to be out of bed just barely in time to make coffee before starting work at 8:30.  Secondly, I'd never had an MRI before, and I was a little bit nervous.

Fortunately, the people at WellSpan Imaging could not possibly have been any nicer.  (Please note:  I do not yet know what my co-pay is on this.)  They answered all my questions, ran through a checklist to make sure I didn't have anything metal in my body (if you have a pacemaker, you can't have an MRI, for example) and then made sure I was comfortable on the machine before it started MRI-ing me.  

The MRI in question was a 2010 Hitachi Oasis, an open MRI, meaning I wasn't going into an enclosed tube like the thing they were always scanning people with on House.  

Anything that might have metal in it, including all my electronic gizmos had to be put in a locker, so I couldn't take any pictures.  However, the MRI at Wellspan looked exactly like this one (which is at the Carlisle Regional Medical Center):

Because I was only having my shin scanned, I didn't need to be all the way under the dome-like part of it (which I guess is the MRI itself), but really just my head was sticking out, and since the table was raised pretty high, I think I would have hit my nose if I were pushed in any further, making the experience a little claustrophobic.  It really wasn't too bad, though.  My only instructions were "try not to move your leg" and "don't freak out" (really it was "Press this call button if you need anything.")

Once the test begins, the main thing you'll notice is that an MRI is REALLY LOUD, with lots of banging and whirring noises indicating that its scanning.  Luckily, they'd provided me with foam earplugs and big headphones.  I'd requested a rock station, and ended up listening to the greatest hits of U2 through the whole 30-ish minute scan.  I have a friend who loathes U2, and at the beginning of each song I thought "I'm glad I'm not him."  To which I'm sure he'd reply, "I'm not the one stuck in an MRI machine at 8:00am!"

After the scan was over, the technicians lowered the platform down, and warned me that I would be dizzy for a few minutes.  They weren't kidding!  Apparently the MRI stimulates the balance center in the inner ear.  I didn't notice anything (other than how noisy the machine was and how tired I was) during the scan, but I felt a bit off-balance for about 5 minutes after the scan.

So, I learned something today. Just not anything about what's actually wrong with my leg.  Hopefully that's coming soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Differential Diagnosis: Part 1 of ?

I'm officially out of the AC Half Marathon with my shin/ankle/vein/whatever problems, and I went to the orthopedist on Tuesday.  

I got x-rays, which didn't show anything obviously wrong, and my doctor said I had decent leg and glute strength, which he ascertains by telling me to hold my leg in a certain position while tries to push it down.  He also used a tuning fork on my shin bones, the purpose of which seemed to be further testing for fractures.  There was only one tuning fork in the whole office, and he had to go hunting for it before doing the test.

It's probably shinsplints, but I'm getting sent for an MRI tomorrow morning.  I'll post those images on the blog, too, if I'm able to without violating HIPAA regulations or causing any expensive equipment to malfunction.

"It's not Lupus."