ight. Well, I promised some time ago that I would post the scans of my foot and body, so here they are. (Higher resolution versions, if you’re actually interested, are available in this set on Flickr.) For the back story on these, have a look at this post.

Here’s my observations about these.

First, I think we’re all curious about our own interiors. Maybe it’s a morbid curiosity, maybe it’s genuine fascination. As for the form that view of our interior takes, some may be less desirable than others.

I remember accidentally cutting a large hole in my right arm when a knife slipped. As they were sewing me back together, I got a glimpse of some subcutaneous curiosities. Surprisingly, I wasn’t all that squeamish about it, probably because the gash was only about an inch long. Now, if my abdomen had been opened up and my guts were trailing behind me like a macabre sausage link, well, then … but I digress.

The foot X-rays are very detailed, as you would expect for something for medical purposes. I was interested to see so many fine details: small veins in the skin on my heel; tiny lines running through what I guess are the bone surfaces. It makes me wish I knew more about basic anatomy in order to have a better appreciation for what I’m seeing. At the heart of all this is the simple yet profound idea that these are my bones I’m looking at.


I found the full body scans to be low resolution, difficult to make out details. (Check the Flickr posting for larger versions.) I was hoping to see more detail, especially in the skull area, which to me would have been extremely interesting. With a little Photoshopping, I could have played Yorick and Hamlet at the same time!

However, one detail did capture my interest: the brightest spot on the scan, which is clearly the bladder. I was injected with a radioactive tracer about two hours before the scan, and was told to drink a lot of fluids to flush it through my system. As a result, there’s a high concentration of the stuff in that region. In fact, it almost looks to me like the bladder is a kind of nightlight, illuminating the interior of my pelvis and conducted the length of my spine. A glow-in-the-dark Visible Man model.

I was thinking I’d have some more profound insights about these images, but in the end they’re more of a curiosity. I do enjoy having been through the process, and the images are a good keepsake of the whole bone scan episode. I do feel a bit guilty about having the procedures done in light of the recent scarcity of medical isotopes, but my scans occurred before the recent crisis, and since it was my doctor’s choice to do them rather than mine, the guilt is only slight.

As for my right foot, it’s still just a bit swollen on top. I was put on a round of anti-inflammatory drugs to take the swelling down. No significant problems were found, no damaged bones, so it’s probably just a very minor injury that’s taking its time to heal. Since I walk every day, that’s probably prolonging the healing process.

One development, which my doctor tells me is not cause for concern and happens to people my age: the report that came with the X-rays says that there is “mild osteoarthritic change in the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe.” I don’t have a comment for this, I just like medical technobabble. Metatarsophalangeal. Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la la la!

One thought on “My Right Foot and Other Interiors

  1. A mild osteoarthritic change in the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe? I'd have that looked at…badda boom, but seriously folks, a most interesting posting, Tim. The full body shot with your illuminated bladder is very cool as well as your analogy to the Visible Man model!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *