Friday, May 11, 2007

Detail of the Week: MRI, Part Deux

I thought it might be nice to catch everyone up on an earlier detail. A fellow architect went to her radiology suite that she's been remodeling lately, and from which I've gotten the MRI photos I've posted. (Note: her photos are posted on this site without permission or approval of her employer or mine, so don't go suing us or trying to build your own MR suite based on these photos, okey dokey?) Here's a photo from about a month ago, right after they moved the MR magnet in.

Because finish work was still going on around the magnet, such as flooring, painting, and casework installation, the contractor hung plastic around the magnet to protect it. Not long after the magnet was installed, it was powered up to a low level. The magnet, so it seems, can only be powered completely off for so long. See the dark seams in the floor? Those are the seams of the shielding panels; VCT (those 12-inch by 12-inch flecked square tiles you see everywhere in commercial buildings, like the grocery store) are inlaid on the shielding panels. Then, they install sheet vinyl over that to make a nice, pretty, monolithic floor. That drywall soffit coming down (that the plastic is hanging off of) will cover a bunch of equipment coming from the equipment room just behind that back wall. Now, let's see it mostly finished.

My colleague wasn't able to take her digital camera into the room, so she took the photo through the RF shielded window. The MR control equipment is on the countertop in the foreground. As you might expect, the trim pieces on the recessed can lights in the room are nonferrous so nothing flies into the magnet and knocks it out. If the magent completely powers down, it costs around $25,000 to call someone out to repower it up. The cover piece that goes over the sides of the MR "donut" is leaning against the wall on the left. There's also a piece that goes over the big metal chimney going into the top of the MR.

My colleague told me that when the equipment guy powered up the magnet, her contractor said that his car keys, which were partially tucked in his pocket, suddenly stood straight out from his hip; he was standing about eight feet away. Then, the equipment installer took the contractor's keys, held them about six feet away from the donut on one end, and let go. The keys shot through the donut to about six feet on the other side of the donut, then came back, then went away, then came back.... Freaky.

Another interesting fact I learned while looking at the MRI at Wheatlands over the past couple of days: the hospital needs volunteers to put into the radiology equipment in order to train the staff to use it. My job superintendent, Mutt, volunteered to be the MR training subject because his doctor needs to do an MRI scan of his messed-up shoulder. Wheatlands agreed to give Mutt the scans when they were done, which should save him at least $1,500 out of pocket. I'd love to be the subject of an MR fluoro injection--it's hard to get volunteers for that procedure because it involves being injected with dye--but I don't think I'll get to because I'd have to drive so far to do it. Don't reckon DA will pay me to go sit in a paper gown at my building the first week of June.

My punchlist was exhausting--13 hours over the course of two days of standing, kneeling, walking, stretching, standing, leaning, walking, twisting, standing, and walking. I was so worn out that I barely made it home yesterday without falling asleep, and about 11am today the fatigue hit me like a freight train. I managed to get Guy to leave work at 4:30, and I came home and took a catnap before cooking dinner. But alas, there is no rest for the wicked. I still have to put together the handout and a Powerpoint presentation for the class I'm talking to a week from Monday. While in Wheatlands in my hotel room, I decided to run through my 15-page outline and time it. 45 minutes later, I was almost to the bottom of page three. Ambitious little thing, aren't I? So, the prof is reviewing my outline to help me thin down what I'm talking about. Hopefully, she and I can make this manageable.


BaxterWatch said...

wow. that's good though, liking the talking thing.

IF you find yourself with left over time, make each one of the kids ask you a question.

faded said...

I never thought about it but there would be an equilibrium spot in the center of the ring. If you waited long enough the keys would have finally stopped moving and just hovered in the center of the ring. If you did not reach in and stop the keys you would have to wait a very long time (a couple of weeks) because the movement of the keys is frictionless.

With some effort you could turn the MRI into an ion drive for a space ship. All you need is some xenon gas, a piece of metal screen energized to high voltage and rocket to put it into orbit. NASA uses this type of drive for inter planetary probes. The whole thing is much smaller and uses a rare earth magnet rather than a the superconducting magnet used by the MRI.

Enjoy your trip to Georgia. Are you going anywhere near the home of the AFLAC duck?

ms. kitty said...

Check out those animals for us at Miss Kitty's ranch in Georgia. I hope she's not too close to the fires there. And do report on how the teaching session goes!

Mile High Pixie said...

Bax: sadly for all my friends, I love talking. Too much.

Faded: I have to wonder if the Tardis runs off a 3T MRI. Where's the AFLAC duck supposed to be in Georgia?

Ms. Kitty: I think the fires are pretty far from our part of GA. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing the Kitty Menagerie. Joy usually sleeps on my head when I come to visit.

faded said...

The AFLAC duck lives in Columbus Georga.