As I move through the scanner, it speaks, telling me to inhale and hold my breath for up to 30 seconds. (Note to self: Does the fact that I find this difficult in itself say something about my health?) The machine works with the same whirling flashes of light and high-pitched whine that we have come to expect since Bones scanned Kirk on the old "Star Trek."
I went in unworried, survived the scan intact-and then spent three days considerably anxious. The results, when they come, consist of 172 black-and-white cross sections of my body on a CD-ROM disc, and a written report. On my PC, the pictures play like a low-budget horror flick, a moving Rorschach image of the guts of me. Fascinating, but they could be leftover autopsy photos for all I know. Wading into the medical jargon of the report, I learn that the scan finds my heart's pathways open, my lungs and sinuses clear, my spine and bones normal, and my liver, kidneys, spleen, and pancreas all in surprisingly good shape. (Never trusted that spleen.) Then I find mention of "several nonspecific nodes scattered throughout the neck." Nonspecific?