“What is wrong with your eye?” the optician asked. Well, you’re the doctor, I thought, but I didn’t say.
“I don’t know,” I told him. “It doesn’t see very well and doesn’t seem to be correctable, even with these trifocals.” And I giggled.
He was probably thinking, Duh! Tell me something I don’t know. But he didn’t say. He worked some more at getting me to see straight. He magnified and brightened to no avail. He asked me why I was laughing.
His frustration led me to an expensive visit with an ophthalmologist at the University of Texas, more tests, smeared mascara, pupils the size of dimes and an appointment for an MRI.
That’s a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan. I know because I looked it up on the Internet. I’ve heard these letters M-R-I for years but I’ve never actually had one. I wanted to know what exactly the “magnetic resonance” was going to be shooting into my body. I needed to know how much it cost and whether it was going to hurt my brain as well as my wallet.
This expensive gizmo uses “nuclear magnetic resonance” to take a picture of “nuclei of atoms” inside the human body. It “aligns the magnetization of some atomic nuclei” in the body and uses radio frequency fields to “systematically alter the alignment.” *
Say what! I don’t want my atoms altered. And if you’re going to align my magnetization, I want all the atomic nuclei to come out the same as they went in. I like my face just the way it is, wrinkles and all.
I had the test done early this morning. I drove myself there, squinting at street signs in the dark, half asleep, in congested city traffic. (The MRI guys knocked off a hundred dollars if I’d schedule at a ridiculous hour no one else wanted.) I let the technician talk me into taking my eye makeup off. (If I’d only known, I could have skipped the mascara and slept another five minutes.) I endured an hour and a half listening to fog horns and jack hammers and being very still with my head in a plastic basket.
I paid the bill, instead of taking a three-day cruise leaving from Galveston the first week in October and sipping cold drinks on exotic islands in the Caribbean and watching manatees play in turquoise waters.
This adventure proved to my hubby that I can find my way out of a paper sack and not get lost. I confirmed I’m not claustrophobic. If I’m very lucky, in just a few more days, with only one more test, two more doctor consultations and a slew of lab bills, I’ll be able to call that optician up and answer his question, “What’s wrong with your eye?”
If I think of it, I’m going to tell him I’ve not stopped laughing. I’ve heard it’s good for what ails ye.
*Referenced Wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_resonance_imaging