It was a little after four today when my supervisor came knocking at my door. I thought perhaps he was coming to see my progress, but not this time. The first thing he says to me is: 'Are you claustrophobic?'
Now, that is not one of those questions that I get asked everyday, but hey, maybe you do. My puzzlement probably showed on my face as I simply responded 'I don't think so... why?' This was followed by me being asked if I would mind having MRIs done on me. I quickly decided 'sure why not', and asked when we would be doing them. The response I got? 4:30. Thus began the most exciting research time I've had so far.
So at 4:30 I wandered up to my supervisor's office and he, my professor, a grad student, and I headed outside and hailed a taxi to St. Mary's Hospital. After having to remove everything metal on my person, and changing into a pair of scrubs, I and the others got ushered into the MRI wing. It was definitely exciting for me! The grad student went first, and the doctors let me push some buttons and click some things (nothing that I could mess up their equipment doing) so I got to help operate an MRI machine!
After the grad student was finished, I got attached to a heart monitor and breathing monitor then strapped to a bed and slid into the tiny MRI tube. Everyone around was giving me advice since this was my first MRI. They warned about how I would hear loud noises, and it would be kind of tight, and how if I started panicking I could just push a button and they would bring me out...
Honestly, I didn't think it was that bad; I actually found lying there relaxing, despite the loud noises and occasionally being asked to hold my breath. All of this chaos resulted in me having a much longer work day, but it was definitely worth it! This means that some of the data that I will work with this summer, is actually of my own body! Oh, and in answer to my supervisor's first question... No, I'm not claustrophobic.
(P.S. -I double checked with my adviser to make sure I was allowed to talk about this adventure despite the fact that my research is 'top secret' and he gave me full permission and took the picture of me coming out of the MRI machine)