Thursday, November 21, 2013

Yes: MRI Like it!

A happy time.
For a long time, I was afraid of the idea of getting an MRI. The thought of being crammed into a coffin-like tube appealed to me about as much as being crammed into a tube-like coffin. But then a wacky discovery in my spinal cord bought me a ticket for a whole bunch of these MRI rides.

The first of these took place in the winter months. Another thing I don't really like is winter. I'm always cold. But when I voiced my concerns about the upcoming MRI to my sister, she said "I bet it's warm in that tube. You are gonna love it!"

Encouraged, but still wary, I presented for my MRI.  Did you know if you have metal stuff inside your body like pacemakers, the MRI could kill you? Apparently, the magnetic pull of the MRI could rip that sucker right out of your chest cavity, like you were in Alien!  

Also, if you are a robot masquerading as a human, the MRI will find you out. Be warned.

As this MRI was for my spine, I didn't have to worry about the freaky head cage accessory you get to wear if you're having your head examined. (In later months, I did get to wear that and it was freaky alright.) I informed the technician that I was nervous and asked if she could slide me in and out of the tube before beginning the procedure. I knew I would be okay as long as I knew I could get out of that tube if I wanted.

After positioning myself on the MRI plank-like table, the tech slowly slid me in, stopping when all but my lower legs were inside. "This is where you'll be for the test," she told me.  I mentally tested: while tight in there, I deduced I could, in fact, shimmy myself out of there if I had to. I don't know why I would "have to," but I was comforted knowing I could escape.

"Oh, so I could get out if I wanted to," I spoke aloud.
"No!" said the tech. "Once we start, you can't move!"
"I know," I said. "I just mean, if I wanted to, I could get out."
"No, you can't move!" she said again.
"I know, it just makes me feel better knowing I could get out if I had to," I said.
"You can't move!"

I rolled my eyes at her in my tube. This action gave me my other piece of comfort: I saw when I crammed my eyes up in my skull, I could get of glimpse of the wall outside the tube. Barely, but yes, the wall outside the tube was visible. Another potential escape route. I decided not to share this info with the tech.

Test ride completed, the tech slid me out, fitted me with the IV that I would need later for an injection of dye for the last part of the test, gave me some earplugs and popped me back in. Earplugs because it's loud in there. Banging and beeping and clanging and chirping. Kind of like the sounds one used to hear when using AOL dial-up internet, but louder and more frenzied.

It wasn't all fun and games. Every now and then I would experience a brief but jarring feeling of "Help, I'm trapped in a tube!" I'm told many folks who fear MRIs keep their eyes closed the entire time. This doesn't work for me as being trapped in my head can be far scarier than being trapped in a tube. When those shocks of fear came over me, I'd center myself by counting the holes in the little speaker that was right over my face. If there had been something to read, that would have helped immensely. A little sticker or something placed where patients could read it without moving. Perhaps something like "If you think this is bad, be glad we didn't have to do an autopsy to get this information."  Anything with words would have helped.

In any case, I survived the procedure and came out none the worse for wear.  Also, I learned three things:

1. I don't have claustrophobia. What I had was a fear that I might have claustrophobia.  That's kind of funny.
2. You can request copies of those images to take to your doctor or for your own personal enjoyment.
3. I am filled with all kinds of fun things:

1 comment:

  1. I felt pretty much the same exact way, especially the oh, i dont actaully have claustrophobia cuz this would be a really really bad place to be...