I CAN FEEL IT IN
14 March 2003
How intimately do you want to know me?
By the time the new Bone Density Center gets up and running, I am going to have the
most photographed spine in the history of medicine.
Dr. G has purchased a DXA (bone density machine), and we are going to branch out into a
new area of medicine. He has taken a course to qualify as a certified bone densiometrist,
which means that when a bone density image is taken, he is qualified to read it. Since the
majority of our patients are in the menopausal or peri-menopausal age range, this is a much
needed addition to the office. It will also allow us to offer this service to other people
(men and women) in the area. For this reason we have hired a new radiation technologist.
My ol' friend Bob (I knew him about 12 hours) flew in from Florida to install the
behmoth of a machine a couple of weeks ago and T, the new radiation technologist (rad
tech) has been setting up her work area for the past few days.
Today all the styrofoam pellets had been moved to the garbage, the bubble wrap had been
folded in put in my car ('cause I can always use bubble wrap around here), everything has
been dusted, polished, and arranged and all that was left was to actually DO a bone
Who else to study, but me--the only other person in the office.
For those who have never had a bone density exam, this is the least invasive medical
procedure you'll ever experience. Though it is an x-ray process, you are exposed to less
radiation during this study than you are bombarded with just walking around outside. So
Unlike an x-ray, there's no cold table/dark room. The technician doesn't hide behind a
screen while you're being zapped.
Unlike a mammogram, no body parts are squeezed flat as a pancake.
Unlike an MRI, there is no claustrophobic tunnel to be in.
Unlike a medical exam, you don't need to remove your clothes and put on an
embarrassing, uncomfortable paper gown that lets the tail wind blow.
For this procedure you lie flat on a table with your arms at your sides. The only
things you remove are your shoes (not sox) and jewelry (if you have something around you
neck, you can either remove it or just move it up off of your chest area--I looked like an
Indian princess with my oval-shaped opal resting flat against my forehead.
You are lying under this thing that looks like a half-arch (but flat on top
instead of rounded). it moves down the table, over your body, bit by bit, photographing
each segment of your body as it goes. The end result shows your whole body, both bones and
"body mass" (read "fat"), and the computer gives you all sorts of
analysis that I can't understand. I did learn, however, that my my left arm is 0.1% larger
than my right, and the left part of my trunk is not quite 1% larger than the right. It was
somewhat comforting that even with all those rolls of fat (the pictures are taken from the
backside, not from the front), I'm only 45% fat...I think that's going in
the right direction!
Oh yeah--and, according to the rad tech, I have "great hips." Not a sign of
osteoporosis (this is the one area where fat people have it over thin people--it's
the skinny ones who are at greater risk of brittle bones...weight bearing is supposed to
be good for your bones...my bones are never ever going to be brittle after 60 years of
Apparently I will be having at least three more (if not six more--three for each, Dr. G
and T) scans, just to make sure the machine is working properly. I'm also lining up
friends to get their own free scans, so we give it a good shakedown cruise.
The exam itself takes less than 10 minutes (possibly less than 5--there is no clock to