Diagnosis: MRI


SPOILER ALERT: Jacob is just fine. Totally healthy and nothing to worry about.

Jacob went in for his annual medical physical exam this week. He came out with some disturbing news.

We’ve been going to the same pediatrician for several years, and he’s always been a doctor we could recommend to others.

The doctor went through the usual battery of tests. He was wrapping things up and marking things down on Jacob’s chart and casually asked if there were any other problems.

Jake said, “Nope. I feel great.”

Then Manina jumped in, “Well, he does get some headaches…”

She then proceeded to tell the doctor about the (handful of) headaches Jacob has complained about (very rarely). The doctor jumped at the chance. He didn’t seem interested that the headaches Jacob experienced over the summer seemed to be the day after an all-nighter with his buddies, or after working out in the sun all morning and not drinking any water. He seemed in a hurry to prescribe some serious action: Jacob needed to get an MRI as soon as possible.

He was very insistent at the appointment, and he even called our home phone number an hour or two later to encourage us to get an MRI. You’d have thunk the doctor owned stock in MRI machines or had to fill some quota of referrals by the end of the month like a used-car salesman.

Unfortunately, that put us in a very awkward position as parents. We’ve never considered something to be wrong with Jacob, other than he typically doesn’t handle pain or discomfort very well. Yes, this caused us to misdiagnose a broken foot a while ago, but we were pretty sure his headaches were just that — headaches.

But, here we have a doctor pretty much insisting on an expensive procedure for a problem that was quite literally an afterthought. Should we? Or shouldn’t we? Is it a total waste of time and money? Could we live with ourselves if we didn’t do something now only to find out even worse news later?

With some serious reservations, we decided to schedule the MRI. We shopped around and went to Wasatch Imaging, where we wouldn’t get charged hospital prices.


They gave us back a shiny CD with a bunch of pictures of Jake’s head. Like this one.


Isn’t that a good-looking brain? At least we’ve learned one thing from this process—he does have a brain. His doctor, well, we’re still not so sure.

I wrote this entire post before the doctor phones us back with the results, I was that confident that this was a bogus diagnosis. But, yesterday the doctor got the images and he called us to give the good news: Jake is fine. There aren’t any huge tumors in the back of his brain causing occasional headaches. But, he does look like he has a sinus infection and should probably get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids for the next couple days.

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