Things You Think in an MRI

Does this sound more like a jackhammer, or a hangover?

Good thing I’m not claustrophobic or I’d be totally freaking out in here.

Hmm. If I did completely freak, how would I get out? Like, there’s not even enough room to bend my knees to skootch myself down the tube.

Is this more, or less, room than I would have in a coffin?

Ooh, bad thought. Better not think about coffins. Better close my eyes and pretend like I’m in final savasana at the end of Bikram class. Savasana. . . translates to Dead Body Pose. Dammit!

If I have glitter on me anywhere, is it going to ignite? 

I wonder if my feet are sticking out of the tube. I can’t tell how far out they are.

This headphone cable is cutting into my carotid artery. I think it’s doing it on purpose. Maybe my headphones are possessed. They remind me of the headphones in the language lab in high school. We always made a mad dash to claim  the least disgusting set of headphones. The ones without Dippity Do or Jheri Curl all over them. Wow. I totally just dated myself there.

Oh no, not Freebird. Wasn’t I hearing Alicia Keys a minute ago? Did they change the station? God I hope so. Otherwise I’ve completely lost it.

I haven’t listened to Freebird in its entirety in so freaking long. Nobody ever sits through this entire song on purpose. I can remember exactly two times in my life I have listened to this whole song.

There was that time in our driveway in Bloomington, me and K out of our minds and for some reason sitting in the car listening to the radio. We could have gotten out any time we wanted to, but by then we were thinking how good a song it was. Stockholm Syndrome. This song is long enough to give that to you.

You know what? MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, which is kind of misleading. It’s very accurate in terms of the test itself and the visual aspect, but in my world “resonance” has a somewhat pleasant connotation and very specifically refers to sounds. Nowhere in the name of this test is implied the sound of a jackhammer, and really, it should be stated outright.

The other time I heard all of Freebird was working the Laughlin River Run with Milk and Genevieve when the new Skynyrd was headlining. We had a morning free so Genevieve and I went shopping at the flea market in the parking lot and picked up leather biker chick halter tops. I had to have Milk alter mine by shortening the halter a couple of inches with a piece of tie-line because it was made for someone with much bigger. . .attitude than me. We wore them for the gig and when we did the band changeover Genevieve and I got applause, which was sort of embarrassing, but sort of cool. Though I don’t remember hearing all of Freebird then either. I think I may have gone to the bathroom when they played it. Which is probably what the DJ is doing right now.

You always need a bathroom song when you’re a DJ, the song you can put on and have time to run down the hall to the bathroom and come back before it’s over. I worked on the high school radio station for two years. Our bathroom song was Metallica’s One (seven minutes, twenty-four seconds).

Why do I keep thinking about high school?

This is quite possibly the longest guitar solo ever in the history of guitar solos. This song has been playing for the majority of the time I have been in this jackhammer tube. Tapping? How did I not ever know there’s a tapping section in this solo? Oh right, because I never listen to this song all the way through. Because nobody listens to this song all the way through. I don’t have anything against the band. Given the choice, I could easily have picked three Syknyrd songs that I like in place of this one.

Three songs that would be over by now.

If I ever get out of here, I’m going to ask everyone if they’ve ever listened to this entire song on purpose. All the way through. I’m going to ask everybody if they understand that there’s a tapping section in the guitar solo. I bet nobody will believe me.

I hope I’ve been holding still enough.

I wonder what they’re going to find.

I wonder if I ever get buried alive, if I’m gonna have Freebird stuck in my head because of this. If I have a choice, I’m gonna pick something else. Like maybe all of 2112. 

When is the last time you listened to Freebird all the way through?

If you got to choose, what song would you pick to have stuck in your head if you got buried alive?

Hummingbird by beccapuglisi via WANA commons, Flickr
Hummingbird by beccapuglisi via WANA commons, Flickr

49 thoughts on “Things You Think in an MRI

  1. I am so claustrophobic, I had to take one valium before I had my MRI scans. That came in handy when they started playing “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind. Which still didn’t cover up the nonstop rapid-fire noises from the MRI. I can’t think of a worse fate. Well, Freebird comes close. If I had to have a song stuck in my head while buried alive, I’d have to go with Imagine by John Lennon.

    1. Hmmm, I could almost do Imagine if it weren’t for that short-lived musical Lennon! that CC worked on about eight years ago. . . I can only imagine how freaking terrifying it must be to do an MRI when you’re truly claustrophobic. I’m impressed that one valium did it for you.

      1. Along with the one valium I was instructed by the MRI tech to also, “never open my eyes”. That actually worked. The first time. The second MRI I DID open my eyes and promptly wanted to jump out of my skin.

  2. I’m not generally claustrophobic, but those really tiny spaces like that make me contemplate panic. I can talk myself out of it, but I’m always happy to get out. And I always get sick of Freebird before it’s done too.

  3. The first MRI I had, I thought it was kind of cool and polyrhythmic. This was 2/9/06. By the morning of 2/13/06, I had gone through 3 MRIs, one CT scan, and half of brain surgery (which explains a lot). I was so over the polyrhythmic thing by then. Every 5 years now. No valium (for obvious reasons; but no more gadolinium contrast (which triggered a very bad case of hives somewhere around #5), and I’m now considered a very low risk of regrowth. Always take your own music to MRIs. My choice is usually Coltrane. And a loving spiritual “guide” who will rub your legs and tell you how brave you are when you feel like crying in there. Your other friend Genevieve.

    1. My other friend Genevieve, who also needs a leather biker chic halter top. I love your beautiful, healthy brain! Can you believe, when I went into grocery store last night on a junk food run, they were playing Coltrane/ Hartman’s “They Say It’s Wonderful”. One of my all-time faves. I am pretty sure the night stock guys hijacked the sound system.

  4. I don’t know any of these songs but I do remember Dippity Do. So I’m old. Whenever I have any kind of procedure like an MRI I simply find myself thankful that Dr. House’s team isn’t doing it. Then I feel much better.

    1. That’s a good point. . .
      I just learned that you can still buy Dippity Do, but it’s in some new-fangled squeeze bottle. Where’s the fun in that? You can’t stand your comb up on end in a squeeze bottle.

  5. No one told me to bring music to my MRI, so I just tried to come up with something in my head that went with the beat of all the banging.

    My eternally-in-my-head song would be Bat out of Hell.

    1. Bat Out of Hell is a good one. I could also do Paradise By Dashboard Light. It’s the song that I promised myself I would never covert to digital format in hopes of always being excited when it comes on the radio by accident. I know all the parts. Just ask me!

  6. You got to wear earphones when you were in the MRI/Jackhammer Tube??? Wow. I did not. I just tried to keep the dead body pose and completely had a hangover from the jackhammer sounds. Or, no, that was a migraine. Whatever, same difference. I was completely freaked out by the metal thing and worried about my dental work only to realize, after the MRI was finished, that I still had my wedding ring on my finger. Didn’t make a difference. Go figure. What was the question, again? Oh. Songs stuck in my head. Whenever my husband gets a song stuck on repeat (which he loudly repeats OVER AND OVER AND OVER until I am ready to kill him), I revert to 80s hair bands to help him get rid of it. My go to is “Down Boys” by The Bullet Boys, it’s awful. “where the down boys go … woooaaah ooooh ooooh ooooh” I would not WANT that stuck on repeat forever, though. I would opt more for some John Lennon or a mellow Beatles tune. I have a feeling there is a special layer of hell that will just have one song on repeat. Not looking forward to that.

  7. What’d you get the MRI for?
    Did you ever read my post about having my third? I compared the sound to the beginning of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine.” YouTube that shit. You’ll get it completely. Also I always sing “I Am Ironman” while I’m in there.

    1. Shoulder. And no, I will have to peruse your archives. You are totally right- it’s Welcome to the Machine. Probably, if I didn’t have Skynyrd in my ears, I would have come out going “Why is Welcome to the Machine” stuck in my head? Oh, and Iron Man = brilliant

  8. The only thing i remember about having the only MRI I’ve ever had was that I had a severe allergic reaction to the contrast dye, and they had to give me megadoses of benadryl or something. So I was pretty out of it for the actual tube part.

    Confession: I loved Lynyrd Skynyrd when I was in junior high, so I listened to Freebird all the way through A LOT. I still prefer it to that song Jessica by the Allman Brothers which is easily my least favorite jam ever. I would surely be in hell if I were buried alive with Jessica stuck in my head.

    1. Confession is good for the soul. I am happy to have found one person that actually loves Frreebird.
      Jessica has never gotten stuck in my head. I can’t even whistle it right now; it’s utterly forgettable to me. I do have a fondness for Melissa though, and a soft spot for Greg Allman because we did an appearance together last year and then he came to our show. His super young girlfriend was pretty great too.

  9. Bahahahaha! Your internal dialogue sounds as random as mine. Must go and torment my boys with Freebird now… 😀

  10. I didn’t know about bathroom songs. One is a nice choice.

    The 5YO made a Build-a-Bear (Cha-Ching!) with a button in the paw that plays that One Direction song (yes, that one), so I’ve got a pretty good idea what being buried alive with one song in your head is like. Hoping the oxygen runs out soon…

  11. I remember the first time someone turned up at a party and produced Skynyrd’s first l.p. and told the assembled that it was the next big thing and it was fabulous blah blah woof woof. I have always resented being told that kind of thing but listened anyway and just thought, ‘This goes on a bit doesn’t it?’ So I never really loved them very much. However, our only music T.V. programme at the time had a film of them playing at Knebworth, which a lot of people LOVED and it kinda made sense when you saw them playing it live. So I have never played ‘Freebird’ all the way through, but I have watched that footage and the film of (I think) Day On The Green (Bill Graham gig(s)) a few times and always thoroughly enjoyed them.

    Now Wolgang’s Vault ( Bill Graham’s recorded legacy made available on the interweb) offer two concerts for free download to subscribers (there is an argument that that means they are not ‘free’ but I am still a little way off my point so let’s move on) each week, and I like free stuff so I was downloading the current concert when your blog link arrived. No there isn’t a prize for guessing it was Lynyrd Skynyrd, the show in question being Winterland 03-07-1976.

    Al Kooper claims in his book ‘Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards’, (my contender for the best autobiography title ever) that when they were recording their first l.p. they were trying to sound like Free. Now I love Free with an undiluted passion, and on listening to ‘Cry For The Bad Man’, I totally hear the influence. So free music trying to sound like Free and ending in a discussion about Freebird, all in the space of 3 minutes is enough for me to start screaming ‘Synchronicity!’

    I have never had a MRI scan but they turned up in something I was led to recently about a quite American than should be better known. (I’m English and this is bound to be a smart crowd so I mean no offence.)

    “John Bardeen (May 23, 1908 – January 30, 1991) was an American physicist and electrical engineer, the only person to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics twice: first in 1956 with William Shockley and Walter Brattain for the invention of the transistor; and again in 1972 with Leon N Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity known as the BCS theory.
    The transistor revolutionized the electronics industry, allowing the Information Age to occur, and made possible the development of almost every modern electronic device, from telephones to computers to missiles. Bardeen’s developments in superconductivity, which won him his second Nobel, are used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).”

    So without him we wouldn’t be having this discourse.

    Oh and for the more pedantic of you, I might not have had a point 🙂 but Julie talking about Freebird as I was downloading a free version of it set me off.

    1. And this is why I love you. This whole comment is made better when I read it with your British accent. And even better when I am eating Green & Blacks 85% dark, which I totally was. Off to look up Backstage Passes & Backstabbing Bastards, and to see if there’s one on John Bardeen. . .

  12. OK. I’m dating myself horribly, but In A Gadda Da Vida, baby! (Iron Butterfly) You could order a pizza and pick it up in the time it takes to listen to the full version. Hey Jude is another long, monotonous mind zapper that, like Freebird, pretty much makes me want to kill myself. Back when I was a teen every band in the world wanted to play these songs. (And Smoke On The Water) Over and over again. It was enough to make me swear off dating anyone who was in a band.

    1. In A Gadda Da Vida. Absolutely. It’s one whole side of an album, isn’t it? I had blocked out Hey Jude, you totally right on that one. I think I must be just old enough to have missed overplay of Smoke On The Water, but it totally was one of the first songs I learned on guitar. Swearing off dating anyone in a band was probably a really good idea.

  13. This cracks me up on so many levels, but the one that first comes to mind is just how weird I must be. I work in medical imaging and volunteer myself somewhat regularly for scans of various types, most recently when we got some big pimping fMRI software.

    You think the thumps and clanks are weird? Try the weird shaking table clicking while they try to map individual neuronal pathways. Woah, even as a semi-pro it was a little unnerving.

    Then I saw the pictures and they were crazy baddass and I’d totally do it again.

    1. I can totally see how it would be something you were into, if you were around it a lot and if it were optional. I just got some kind of nerve test done too that was awesome. They jammed this long-ass needle into my muscles and made me move them, and I was hooked up to a scope that also had a speaker. So flexing my bicep made a wave form AND A SOUND!!! It was way cool. Although I totally look like I have tracks now.

  14. Ok I have had a couple of MRI’s… Well more like 6….the last one I had an MRI with contrast… I had severe head, jaw and sinus pain. The MRI was was making me dizzy. The blue line that ran down the center was moving…. I asked them to stop and get me out because I was going to puke…. They stopped it and didn’t move me because they would have to start over. Just told me to close my eyes and breath… The line finally stopped moving and they began again… I made it a few more minutes and they had to stop again… When all said and done with the stop and starts it was 1 hour and 55 minutes in that dumb noisy tube!!!!!! Hope I never need one again!!!

  15. If I ever have another MRI, I’m taking Stuart with me. And more of my husband’s awesome jazz collection. Did you know his “Full Moon Hacksaw” show is broadcasting in NJ now? On Thursdays at 8pm. He is all that. 😉 Will I have the leather thing before my Rachel shoot in August? LOL!!!

  16. Warning .. total TMI into my warped brain. …..
    Last time I had an MRI (I have seizures, I’ve had a bunch!), I for some reason started thinking about how Id heard that certain areas of the brain light up when you are happy. Then I started thinking about sex and my mind kept going back to it. And I don’t know much about how these happy thoughts light up your brain (or if they do ) but I was all paranoid thinking that the tech was watching the ‘happy sex thoughts’ section continually glow!

  17. The last time i had an MRI for my meniscus tear (the results came out “inconclusive” — but when I reluctantly went in for surgery, turns out my meniscus was SHREDDED … so much for the alleged accuracy of the MRI !)… anyhow, I fell completely asleep inside the tube. I guess all that noise just put me out. But I can assure you, I would have fallen asleep even faster to Freebird. And I’m with Rontuaru … In a Gaddadavita is the longest song in the history of rock. And completely unintelligible, even if you’re not stoned, which I was the only time i ever saw it played in concert. And yeah, I do realize I’m dating myself….

  18. I will have the opportunity to hear Free Bird this week. Lynard Skynard will be performing here. I’ll let you know about the tapping.

  19. I had an MRI for my pelvis after I had a stress fracture from running a marathon. The most annoying part is definitely the banging. You’d think with modern technology they’d fix that.

  20. I’ve never had an MRI. I wouldn’t mind having Welcome To The Machine stuck in my head, because I frequently put it in there on purpose. Freebird? Can’t remember the last time I heard the whole thing. Hope this scary/boring procedure ended up with good news for you.

  21. Skynard has a song to fit anyone’s taste. I like to think of “Freebird” as a free-form musing on the nature of independence. Each of the three (wailing) guitars represent a benefit or a detriment of the unencumbered life. If you prefer your classic rock with a more straight forward linear narrative, definitely go for “Give Me Three Steps”. If you like a rockin’ cautionary tale about the dangers of drug use mixed with a truly awful metaphor, “That Smell” is the song for you. You should be grateful you got to listen to Skynard at all, they could have played a Neil Pert solo album.

    1. Nice analysis. That’s some good work right there. Gimme Three Steps and That Smell are probably my two favorite Skynard songs. I actually like most of them, except for Freebird & Sweet Home Alabama (which I used to know how to play all of on guitar). Neil PeArt never did a solo album. Alex and Geddy did, while Neil was riding a motorcycle all over the Americas for five years after his daughter died in a car accident and his wife died of cancer. Be sure to watch on the 18th when Dave Grohl inducts them into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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