At some time in your life, you will go to a doctor, and when that happens, you will have to have…Tests.
You: I thought I just had the flu.
Doctor: That’s possible, but your symptoms could also indicate a crimpazoid in your medulla frigidairiscans. You will need to have a scan of that.
You (skeptically): Can’t you just give me a prescription for cough syrup?
Doctor: I could, but it would interfere with the scan of your medulla frigidairiscans (and if I did, and you felt better, you probably wouldn’t show up for The Test.) Call me back after you’ve had the scan and I’ll give you a prescription then. Let’s see…we’re in luck…Frigidairiscan Associates is willing to work you in as a favor to me, and I can get you an appointment only six weeks from now!
In many cases, the tests you have to go through require a lot of intestinal fortitude, or alternatively, Valium, to endure. Take for example, the MRI, which stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. You lie on a narrow table, and get fed into a giant tube. It’s a bit like making cannoli. Just think of the MRI machine as the pasta tube; you are the stuffing. There’s a claustrophobia issue there.
Then once the test begins, the machine starts to make these thrumming, throbbing, pulsing sounds, which I decided would be what it sounded like if a bunch of aliens got together and formed a rock band. Occasionally the thrums are broken up by a series of very loud clicks. That’s one of the aliens doing a drum solo. Fortunately if you get scared, the technician can hear your pathetic squeaks through the built-in microphone inside the tube and will compassionately say to you: Would you shut up and be still already? You’re interfering with The Test.
Over two years ago, a friend of mine advised me to focus not on my anxiety, but on how cool the technology is. And honestly–I’ve found that to be very helpful. It really does distract you from thoughts like, I hope this machine doesn’t fall on me, and, I wonder if this machine has ever blown up?
Recently I had a test called an OCT (optical coherence tomography), a scan which makes a 3-D map of whatever tissue it’s trained on–in my case, the retina. It’s very cool. You look into it and what you see is an amber colored disc with a light dot in the center. When the test begins, another light dot begins to travel from somewhere on the diameter of the circle, down through the center dot, and onto the opposite position on the diameter. At some point, they tell you not to blink and they snap a “picture”. Then, a new light dot appears somewhere else on the diameter and begins its travels, and the process is repeated. It’s all very psychedelic.
But occasionally, you encounter a refreshingly low-tech test. In the case of the eye, one of these tests uses something called the Amsler grid, and you too can take this test in the comfort of your own home. http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/amsler-grid.htm
Meanwhile, I wonder if any of those OCT scanners have ever blown up?