You might recall an incident last year, in which I had to have an x-ray, or an ultrasound, or some other peek at my insides. I can’t remember what it was for, but I do remember that the technician pointed to a shelf upon which I was supposed to put my bag, but I thought it was the surface upon which I was supposed to lie down for the procedure, and proceeded to do so, in my paper gown, much to the technician’s barely concealed amusement, and my own barely concealed, foolish ass.


Let’s flash forward to another hilarious moment of medical misunderstanding. Last week, I had to have an MRI on my knee.  Now I’m no stranger to the wonders of magnetic resonance imaging. I have probably had two dozen of them, most of them on my breast(s). The parentheses are deliberate, as I really only have one homegrown breast. The other is a semi-marvel of reconstruction, but both need to be checked out thoroughly on a regular basis, because cooties don’t care; they’ll show up anywhere. In any case, so far, so good. I’ve been cootie-free since 2005, but nothing keeps the doctor away better than being put face down, topless, into a giant tube and subjected to a half hour of clanging and banging.


This time, however, it was for my left knee, to investigate the possibility of a torn meniscus. Piece of cake, I thought, as I changed into the same stupid backless gown they always give you, completely disregarding the other faded blue garment they handed me. I just thought it was another gown. Out I stepped into the MRI room, where two technicians, one male, one female, peered at me in perplexity. “Where are your pants?” asked the woman. “My pants?” I said, “What pants?” “The pants we gave you”, she replied. All of a sudden, this was turning into one of those dreams where you find yourself at school naked. “Why do I need pants?” I said, beginning to sweat lightly. “You’re looking at my knee!” The technician looked uncomfortable. “You need to put the pants on. It gets cold in there”. This was ridiculous, as they put a blanket on you, and they never gave me pants when they were imaging my boobs. I decided that the only way to get out of this horrible embarrassment was to brazen it out. This would be my hill to die on. “No”, I said, as cheerfully as I could, “I’m fine. I don’t need pants”. The male technician was trying not to smile, I could tell. The woman, however, were going to get her way: “You have to wear them. Those are the rules”. “You have a rule that says patients have to wear pants? Really?? Then why don’t I have to wear them for breast MRI’s?” “I don’t know”, said the technician, clearly exasperated and ready to chuck me into the machine, pants or no pants, “Just put them on. Please”.


So I did. Just to keep Nurse Ratched happy, although I think the other technician was disappointed I didn’t put up more of a fight. I’m still waiting for the results. My knee’s probably fine, but I’m still going to need therapy.


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