You may recall with some indifference my immediately previous post, wherein I mentioned how impressed I was with some paltry digital X-ray images. That, dear reader, was the impression of a younger and more easily awed version of yr. humble narrator.

For I have now been imaged, in the nuclear magnetic resonance manner, known to the vulgar as an MRI.

Beyond the jump are images: 156 of them, with inline thumbnails (so please use discretion and have patience if your link is slow). Despite my earlier unseemly levity about the JT sign, all said images are impeccably safe for work.

I don't have more than an educated layman's knowledge of what I'm looking at here, so this is really more in the spirit of yelling "Hey! Nifty!" than anything useful. If you were hoping for scholarly medical analysis, go to a doctor rather than the blog of someone who isn't one.

I can talk about the actual process, for those who are curious. It involved about twenty minutes of laying flat on my back on a surprisingly comfortable (albeit narrow) table, crammed down the middle of big toroidial superconducting magnet, trying to hold perfectly still.

You'll have to remove anything with any metal at all, so if you know about your MRI ahead of time, plan wardrobe accordingly. (I had pants with metal fasteners. They thoughtfully provided scrubs for my temporary use.) If you have elaborate piercings, think your cunning plan all the way through.

They gave me headphones so I could listen to music to pass the time. These were an all-plastic affair, linked with a hollow air tube to some distant remote speaker. Monaural, and audio fidelity was somewhere between bad and non-existent. (If you remember the really old-school air-tube headphones on commercial airlines from the 80s, it was a lot like that.) The earpieces were big over-the-ear affairs, like industrial hearing protectors.

They asked me what radio station I wanted. I had absolutely no idea -- none. I haven't listened to broadcast radio in years, and the Houston market is pretty dismal. They found me a pseudo-classic-rock station that was borderline acceptable, at least for half an hour.

I was surprised at how noisy the machine was, and the variety and volume of ominous thumping and buzzing it produced. Not uncomfortable, certainly, just a little odd to have a sleek high-tech wonder make noises like a steam locomotive passing a kidney stone. Since my previous professional life was in the SSCL Magnet Test Lab, it was hard not to think about a quench, and the amount of stored energy around my head.

Don't do this if you're even a little bit claustrophobic. Or, do it (because of medical need; nobody does this for fun) but make sure you get some good drugs. I kind of like tight spaces, and it was a little bit weird even so.