Trying to lie still inside the torture chamber known as an MRI machine, I got to thinking about how much we whine, when things can be so much worse. Shouldn’t we be thankful just to have MRIs?

Just kidding.

In reality, I spent what felt like an eternity wondering how long my left shoulder, which was past the point of throbbing and had gone completely numb, could stand the contorted position the sadists put me in.

Also thinking how ironic it is that I’m paying through the nose for the pleasure of this agony, since the procedure isn’t likely to make a dent in my medical insurance plan’s stratospheric deductible, thanks to Obamacare.

And when the tech asked, “What would you like me to plug into Pandora for you,” what the hell was I thinking with “The Beatles?” “Love, love me do.” Seriously?

Bet you didn’t know that the technology now known as Magnetic Resonance Imaging was originally called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, or NMR. They changed the name so people wouldn’t freak out over the word nuclear.

Creative branding. That’s why the ad for beef isn’t, “Cow. It’s what’s for dinner.” And I doubt that “Pig. The other white animal flesh” would have gone over well with the pork industry. Branding can be cruel.

To be fair, an MRI machine isn’t like a bomb. Nuclear refers to the nucleus of an atom. The way it works is each element has a unique electromagnetic signature when placed in a magnetic field. The software uses that to construct a 3D image of bone, tissue and what have you. So deleting nuclear was no harm, no foul (no pun intended).

There are actually far more insidious euphemisms in the medical biz. Cancer patients get the benign sounding chemotherapy, when in reality, it’s poison therapy. I don’t know how radiation therapy got by the branding police. That’s exactly what it is. Intubation may sound like a routine procedure, but in emergency rooms and ICUs, sticking a tube down your throat has about a 25% risk of severe complications.

Then there’s dentistry, aka oral cruelty. The term extraction doesn’t sound anywhere near as medieval as it is. To this day, they essentially use pricey pliers to yank out your teeth. At least they get you stoned first – upon request. A crown doesn’t make your tooth royalty, that’s for sure. And we’re going to numb you sounds great, until they start stabbing the inside of your mouth repeatedly with a long needle.

Anyway, I survived the ordeal. On Thursday I get to find out if I need surgery. Or maybe they should just call it a quick fix. Creative branding indeed.

P.S. To further confuse everyone, the injury is to my left hand; the shoulder was just collateral damage from the position they put me in for the MRI.

Image credit Mark Lee via Flickr