Dear General Electric

Dear General Electric,

Earlier today I had an MRI to check out a section of my intestinal tract. That necessitated me being placed into one of your lovely machines for nearly an hour. Thanks to the search-and-rescue training I’ve gone through in the past, I don’t suffer from claustrophobia – which meant that instead of freaking out being enclosed in that tiny tube, I had ample time to make some observations on ways you can improve your product.

1. Get a better soundtrack: while a certain demographic of folks may indeed find the roar of Atlas 5 rocket engines soothing and akin to the lapping of waves on a tropical shore, the majority of us do not. Given all the amazing technology we have available in this country, is it really absolutely necessary for your machine to sound like the backside of an Imperial star cruiser? The choice of sounds for the various imaging going on seems like a buffet of panic-inducing samples from a nonstop slasher movie fest. Wouldn’t a calmer patient bring about better results? Or are you actively trying to have people freak out while in the confines of your machines? How about a nice series of wind chime sounds? Maybe some bells? You could make it like the old department store elevatorswhere the woman with the nice voice used to tell you what floor you were on: “Ding, ding…now examining…your large bowel.” Oh, and your soundtrack featuring the woman who told me about a thousand times to “breathe in, breathe out, hold your breath, relax” today needs to be recorded better and the volume increased so she can be heard over the firing of the ion pulse cannon and the rabid dwarves hammering somewhere down near where my feet were. Just sayin’…

2. Cushions: Look, I’m still fairly spry at 42 years old, but a lot of the patients who use those MRI machines are infirm, elderly, and frankly pretty frail. The old Chinese woman who shuffled in for an exam today looked like she’d break apart in a slight breeze. With that said, the “death tray” (as I like to call it) is about as comfortable as lying on nails. For the entirety of my exam today, I had to have my arms back behind my head resting on a thin lip of hard plastic that only exacerbated the pins-and-needles numbness in my arms during the procedure. Again, these machines have to cost what – $5 gazillion bucks or something? How about springing for a few dollars worth of cushion and padding to make your patients more comfortable? And maybe offer patients the option of getting a back massage while they’re at it using those wooden roller seat covers like the cabbies in New York use. Oh, and lose the air conditioning – I was freezing in there today. Maybe put a nice heating pad in there to help with the relaxation.

3. Appearance: As much as I’ve always dreamed about inserting myself in the afterburner of an F-15, the imposing sight of your machine does little to make people feel at ease. How about painting a giant smiling face around the opening? Maybe invite the local 5th graders over to paint daisies and birds all over the entrance to the tube? Or make it look like what it is: a giant eyeball that will see right through you. Break out the mascara and get some eyelashes on that thing. That would be totally cool. Also, lose the dull cream color. I just drank that Barium Sulfate crap and don’t need to be reminded of how it looked. Get some of the guys from the local chop shop to come over and put some flames on that thing. Maybe a nice neon green or metallic blue. With racing stripes.

Look, I get it: your machine is incredible and it does indeed save lives. For that, I’m extremely grateful. But instead of only focusing on the machine, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to focus on the patient, too. After all, most people using your MRI machines are there for some potentially serious stuff and they’re already worried enough. Anything you can do on your part to lessen their worry, insecurity, and fear at being rolled down the vanilla throat of Gangor the Magno Monster would no doubt be incredibly appreciated.


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