Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Phase C

08 November 2016

This was the last part of the imaging procedure that I remember before deciding that I should probably take a nap. I didn't get a lot of sleep the night before, and let's be honest, being stuffed into the core of a superconducting magnet for a couple of hours gets boring after a while. I can only entertain myself so much... I can best characterize this part of the imaging procedure as "Shit got real."

Something cranked up deep inside the core of the machine and my vision went red, and then it started to bleed in and out. At this point I lost track of time because I started to lose track of where I was. I had to open my eyes periodically to look at the plain, white surface of the MRI's imaging tube because I wasn't able to watch it for long. Then a bunch of repeated shrieks and moans started kicking up all around my head and rainbow bursts started coming out of nowhere, flaring brightly enough to obscure my vision, and popping out of existence, over and over and over again. Those shrieks and moans did something completely fucked up to my kinesthetic sense.

I felt like I was falling, like I'd just fallen off of a high rooftop or been pushed out of a plane. My stomach lurched because it felt like it was the last part of me to move. I fell and kept falling... it wasn't pleasant, it was scary. It was like sky diving without a parachute. I fell and kept falling...

This was around the point that I decided that elfnapping was the smart thing to do, before I fell into vertigo and possibly threw up all over myself.


I've been living with synaesthesia my whole life. I don't remember a time when I didn't see and feel sounds on a deeply personal, visceral level. Trying to draw some of what I see in The GIMP I've realized that practically all of it's pixelated. Thinking about it a little bit I think that's due to the fact that I spent many hours as a child playing Commodore games and otherwise interacting with very low resolution images. That, along with listening to lots and lots of SID tunes while growing up probably imprinted the unusually plastic parts of my sensory cortices. There is precedent for this: People with grapheme-color synaesthesia often say that the colors they associate with letters are the same as those on the letter blocks they played with as children. So, to put it succinctly, my sensory cortices are hardwired to show me Commodore graphics in response to what I hear.

Fun fact: If you ask nicely the hospital will often give you copies of your MRI to take home on an optical disk. Try it!