Thursday, November 01, 2007

Of Health and Fame

One of the “benefits” of becoming a senior citizen is that one gets to meet so many different health care professionals.

I suppose it's logical. The more complicated any mechanism, the more different things can go wrong. While the machinery is pretty new and in good condition, it can go for extended periods without a great deal of maintenance. If subjected to hard use and even neglect, more care and repair may be needful. At the risk of straining the human body/machinery analogy, we can also observe that additional upkeep and even parts replacement are sometimes needed when wear-and-tear afflicts the entity.

So, one of my doctors decided I should undergo a diagnostic MRI
to establish that some of my inner workings were in decent condition. No use grumbling about it. When I retired, Beloved Bride and I discussed health issues and decided to spend the extra money on the best insurance plan available on my retirement program. This has proven to be one of our better decisions in light of the unpredictability of life. The relatively high premiums we pay monthly have been more than justified, if only by my broken hip last year. Yeah, there's always considerable out-of-pocket expense, but nothing like what we'd face without a decent insurance plan.
I went to the imaging lab at the appointed time, prepared to spend the standard lengthy period of filling out page after page of history and releases. It was made worse when I realized I'd forgotten to bring along a book I'm currently reading. I checked in with the receptionist who asked for my insurance card and driver's license. When she made the photocopies, I had to ask her NOT to detach the DL from my Concealed Handgun License. (Texas law requires that the CHL be presented to any peace officer asking for identification.) She didn't bat an eye. Lo and behold! She asked only a few questions to verify perishable personal information. No sooner had I sat down than she called my name and sent me through a door. Seated in a comfortable chair before a cheerful clerk, I signed the necessary waivers and payment arrangements. Total time, maybe five minutes. Back to waiting room.

I got a cup of coffee and a dull-looking magazine but never turned a page before being called into another room. A pleasant and professional young woman asked me to fill out a single sheet, front and back, with some health history. No sooner did I finish than she returned and took me to the preparation room just outside the MRI chamber.

MAGNETIC resonance imaging entails some extremely strong areas of magnetism. The young woman and a male technician (technologist??) told me what all I had to leave outside the room. I'd brought my own canvas shoulder bag so I wouldn't need to leave my pocket plunder out in the open plastic tray. When I placed my alloy .38, pocket holster, and Speed Strip in the bag, the only comment made was that it would be secure in the office. (Note to fellow Texans: this imaging lab is NOT part of a hospital, which would entail some restrictions on packin'.)

The male tech made pleasant conversation as he got me situated in the MRI room. My data sheet showed me as RETIRED, and he said something about military or police service. I said that my Air Force Reserve time was long ago, but that I'd spent some 40 years as a peace officer. He said, “I thought you were some kind of expert witness.” Hummm . . . .

The actual MRI scan was somewhat confining and uncomfortable - - One must remain practically motionless for 15 minutes. The noise level is at times very high, and I was grateful for the foam ear plugs provided. In due time, the clamor ended and I was slid out of the chamber. As he gave me a hand up from the table, the tech said, “I thought I recognized you. I read your blog.” The image at the top of my blog page is an unfortunately accurate likeness, and the tech, Rob, is an observant individual. He had my data sheet and noted that my initials matched. He was complimentary about my writing, and I was apologetic for not writing much recently. For several minutes, we had a very nice visit about guns and shooting, until his duties called him.

Hey - - It's really nice to meet a reader. This is the first time it's happened to me. **GRIN**


Enforcer said...

Wow talk about the odd places to meet a blogreader.

Don Gwinn said...

It was made worse when I realized I'd forgotten to bring along a book I'm currently reading.

Not a tragedy, perhaps, but one of the very worst of life's irritations.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Johnny, how about posting some of the more interesting MRI pictures at the head of your blog instead of the mug-shot? That way your friends will be challenged to recognize you by your internal anatomy only!



Mark said...

I was just wondering which .38 you were carrying? I'm looking at re-obtaining a charter arms undercover model again, as it was my back-up piece when I worked security in St. Louis. Loaded with Mag-Safe ammo, I had no qualms about carrying it for SHTF situations.

lainy said...

How cool to be seen by a blog reader and not even know it.

Do let us know how your results turn out. Hope it turns out good. I'm just prejudice when it comes to you.;)

JPG said...

Couple of replies to comments:

Don Gwinn - -
. . . one of the very worst of life's irritations.
Indeed. I usually have at least one book in my truck, hopefully a compact paperback. There was a sale on laptops at WallyWorld this morning, so I went to stand in line to see if I could obtain one. This time, I took along my new copy of Jimmy Doolittle's bio, I Could Never Be So Lucky Again. Happily, the line moved rapidly.

Peter - -
. . . . posting some of the more interesting MRI pictures . . . ? That way your friends will be challenged to recognize you by your internal anatomy only!.
Appears to me that one MRI looks a lot like another unless there's some really obvious pathology. I guess SOME might recognize me by the odds and ends of metal in my left leg.

Mark - -
. . . wondering which .38 you were carrying? I'm looking at re-obtaining a charter arms undercover model . . . . .
S&W M37, the Chiefs Special Airweight with bobbed hammer spur, in a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster. But speaking of the Charter Undercover, I ran across one in XLNT condition in a friend's shop the other day. Holly and I had been thinking about getting a handgun for her daughter. She had recently done extremely well shooting my M37. I took her to the shop to let her handle the Charter. She really liked it, so I bought it for her early Christmas gift. [I wrote the check, she wrote the Form 4473. ;-) ]

Mark said...

I liked my Charter, and I still rue the day I had to sell it. For being as small as it was I could still shoot 3 inch groups at 25 feet with it.

Matt G said...

Funny-- I had misinterpreted Mark's question to be about what load you carried in your M37. Nyclad +P SWCHP's, aren't they?

How'd they do it with the bionic leg/hip combo?

And, as for meeting readers, you're ahead of me!

phlegmfatale said...

Wow- that's really cool. What are the odds of just happening to run into a reader? Nifty.

JPG said...

Matt - -
As to loads in my M37, I normally keep it stoked with Remington 158 gr LSWCHP+P, because I know it'll expand a bit from that short barrel. Haven't taken time to test the Nyclad ammo in the 2" guns.

NOTE: I seldom fire that ammo in an alloy frame revolver. My practice is almost exclusively with a 158 LRN over 4.0 gr. of Win 231, and a little 130 FMJ factory ammo.

As to the scrap metal in my leg, I dunno how they'd handle that in an MRI. My scan didn't extend that far south.

OldTexan said...

I went through the MRI thing here in Dallas last spring. The found a little spot inside on some important stuff that turned out to be cancer and from start to finish was less that three months.

I too was amazed at how nice and fast all of the procedures were and I think the lord that I live in a country where we can get good fast treatment, even if it costs a lot.

I was talking to a Canadian and she said that our dogs and cats in the US have access to tests in short time spans that socialized medicine countries can only dream of.

In Texas when I mention shooting to Drs. they usually want to know what I shoot and then proceed to tell me about their hunting and shooting. It is great that you found one of your gun guy readers.

My prayers and best wishes are with you as your worn out stuff gets checked out and worked on.

KD5NRH said...

That's one of the best things about the Coronado vest; it's easy to disarm discreetly by just taking the vest off.
As a bonus, the other concealment pocket will hold a fairly large paperback.

Tom said...

After this experience you better hope you never need to visit a proctologist! LOL. If you do you can always wear one of those pair of glasses with the nose and phony mustache.

Anonymous said...

Apparently you have never been to Baylor Garland. Getting something done for Nana entails more than you can imagine, and more than six months later, I am still trying to sort things out, including the fact that HealthTexas-a billing group for doctors-has no office to which you can go to straighten anything out, had to have Nana's Medicare and insurance card photostats mailed twice and three phone calls before they finally filed on them, and now, since I was paying on the bill all along, waiting for them to get their thumbs out, have overpaid by about $50. Think I'll ever see that again? Your faith in the medical establishment is touching, though.

Anonymous said...

Carry a book. Always carry a book. A revolver might save your life, but a book will save your brain.

Rabbit said...

Your hip job is made from titanium for the most part. The MRI only misbehaves when it's around ferrous metals. That's one reason they (usually) ask if you have embedded, unremoved shrapnel or tattoos with metallic inks. It'll pull metal shavings (steel or iron ones, anyway) right out of the skin. That's agodawful powerful electromagnet in the big clunking thing and they'll suck in anything within 20 feet or more that's not nailed down tight.

Including floor buffers and oxygen tanks.

Hope the scans turned out clean.


JPG said...

Oh, yeah - -

The doctor's office finallly called and said it appears that everything is in more-or-less the correct position, and appears to be within spec "for a man your age."


Anyhow, thanks for the good wishes.

Robb the MRI Tech said...

I *finally* got a chance to catch up on the blog, and have to say that it was a genuine pleasure meeting you, sir.
as to the technical MRI questions, I can say that depending on the magnet (ours runs at 1.5 Tesla), and if it is shielded, you can do quite a few things in and around the machine. We can scan a titanium hip. The pictures would be black, though. We can scan someone with a Pacemaker, too. The magnet'll just turn off their pacer and that leads to too many liability issues than we can handle.
One thing to keep in mind, even if we're not scanning a particular part of the body with metal in it, it may still interact with the scan.
Thus the need to remove jeans for an L-Spine exam, or a bra for a C-Spine exam.
Glad everything checked out, and if I see ya again, hope it's under better circumstances.