Saturday, November 16, 2013

My MRI

helium filled balloonsBefore you start sending bouquets of flowers and high class hookers to my hospital bed can I just point out at this point that I am not, in actual fact, having an MRI scan, I am not hospitalized and as far as I am aware I am pretty damned healthy?

That being said I am sure there are a great many of you who would be glad to accompany me to the hospital should an MRI scan ever be called for purely out of curiosity to see what the hell showed up on the results.

Some TV science programme earlier this year (actually, scrub that, it might have been The One Show) pointed out the startling fact that MRI scanners need helium to work. And helium is a very limited resource on this planet. It is incredibly finite and compared to other resources available to us helium is pretty darn rare. Worst of all, once we have liberated helium from the planet's core (or wherever it is hiding), if we don't make careful and painstaking attempts to contain and hold onto it, it tends to float up and up into the upper atmosphere and then free itself from all bonds of gravity and drift off into outer space where it is lost forever.

Forget oil, we are going to run out of helium pretty darn soon.

Now, I was in a greeting card shop the other day and like most card shops, the entrance was festooned with helium filled balloons. Loads of them.

And I couldn't help but feel a sense of chagrin at the foolishness of the human species.

MRI scans are a great technological leap. We finally have a non-invasive method for diagnosing whether invasive surgery is necessary without having to undertake invasive surgery to prove or disprove it. MRI scanners need helium to work. As a planet we don't have much helium in the universal scheme of things. And we are pumping tonnes of the stuff every day into little rubber bags that are then batted about at children's birthday parties or inhaled so that unfunny dads and uncles can perform a brief and unconvincing Chipmunk impression in the vain hope that their peers will see them as being on a par with Jim Carrey.

This is madness, surely? Stupidity, even.

So I did the only sane thing I could do.

I bought all the balloons. And then I moved onto another greetings cards shop and bought all theirs too. I'm going out again today. Quite where I'm going to store them all, I don't know, and the cats are already freaked out by all the bloated Mickey Mouses that are currently bobbing their way around the living room.

All I know is, when you or someone close to you needs an MRI scan in the (hopefully distant) future and the helium has all run out... you will know where to come. Sure, I'll charge you for it. I hate Disney so I'm paying a high price here for your future medical insurance. And, of course, I'll hold back my own personal supply.

And when, one day, I have my own MRI scan and you accompany me to see what is bubbling away inside my head, well, you'll be blown away by the sheer amount of business acumen.

That's if you can't see it already.



17 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

Wikipedia says the price of helium has been artificially lowered by the US government selling off its stockpile, so you may have the right idea. Obviously, you've got to buy in bulk rather than collecting pissy little balloons like a goof. Do you have enough room in your garden for a bulk ISO framed container containing 15,000 gallons of liquified helium?

http://www.praxair.com/gases/buy-helium-gas-or-liquid-helium/?tab=supply-options

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: I like your style. And it would be worth the cost of warehouse space just to be rid of Mickey Mouse.

The bike shed said...

If you have an MRI scan do you end up talking like Donald Duck?

On which note, I guess we could all be donald ducked if we don't start caring more about resources.

Steve said...

The bike shed: more talking like Mickey Mouse I should think. It takes a good toke on a spliff to end up talking like Donald Duck. Or so I'm unreliably informed.

Being Me said...

I think I'd ONLY want one of your MRI's if it guaranteed I would come out talking like a Disney character. I could hire myself out. Once I figured out how to squeeze into one of Mini Mouse's polkadot dresses, that is.

Steve said...

Being Me: I'm also offering a free party balloon (inflate-it-yourself), party cake and a free game of pin the tail on the donkey.

Keith said...

Oh the Humanity !!!

Steve said...

Keith: I know. Sometimes I even bring a tear to my own eye.

the fly in the web said...

Another Warren Buffett is among us...just don't make us drink pepsi cola while we laud your sagacity...

Steve said...

The fly in the web: wouldn't dream of it. Besides, everybody knows that Coke is it.

Nota Bene said...

At best there are a maximum of half a dozen occasions when I'll be needing a party balloon. Surely there's that many people who would make the sacrifice on my behalf....

Marginalia said...

I'm sure someone very intelligent told me that after hydrogen helium was the most abundant element in the universe. The irony is it's pretty rare here.

The thing is, by the time we've depleted our source of helium to have to buy from you, we'll have flown to Jupiter - it has masses - or you'll be cashing in your pension.

A genius ahead of his time that you.

Steve said...

Nota Bene: what the hell. I'd chip in.

Marginalia: you have a lot more faith in the space program than I do. I bet by the time I'm cashing in my pension (circa 2090) we'll barely have set foot on Mars.

Trish Burgess said...

Sometimes I wish the comments on your blog were like those on Facebook so I could just tick 'like' on the ones that make me laugh....in a very high voice.

Steve said...

Trish: I'll write to the developers...

Rol said...

I had an MRI scan a couple of years ago. Waste of time: they learnt just enough to say, "sorry, mate, nowt we can do about that". Helium be damned.

Steve said...

Rol: I couldn't interest you in a previously inflated balloon then? Only one careful owner?