By the time this post appears, I am probably already stuffed in the tube for my annual MRI. Nothing new really, I’ve only had 40 or more, I should be a professional by now. But Today is a First for me. I am going to attempt to go in without being drugged. Lately, I have been pushing myself to do things outside my comfort zone, you know like dealing with FEELINGS and shit….. :(, So I figured why the hell not….?
Tonight (well now last night) Thing two looked at the dry erase board with all of our schedules on it. She saw that I was scheduled for an MRI at 10 AM Friday, and asked who was taking me. Like a proud 4 year old that learned to tie their shoes, I replied, “I’m going by myself.”….. The NEIGHBORS could hear her laughing……smh heh Thanks for the support kid!
I guess I should start at the beginning and maybe share some of my MRI tragedies with you. The very first time I went in for an MRI was 20 years ago, when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I had never even heard of such a thing. The doctor explained, “it’s just a glorified xray machine, but it will take much better pictures”. If she was still in practice I would find her and let her know exactly how I feel about her bullshit explanation by placing my foot in her ass. SMH….
So about 20 years ago, My sister in law and I show up at the hospital for my first MRI of my brain. I thought they were looking for a pinched nerve or something simple to explain the numbness in the left side of my body.
I was 25 and had no idea that I was claustrophobic. I laid down on the table and they put something that is called a coil around my head.
Coil my ass! This thing felt like a vice and I couldn’t breathe!
While they were trying to calm me down, the doctor called down to say that she wanted a cervical spine and thoracic MRI as well with GAD otherwise known as Gadolinium for contrast. This meant another coil and two more hours to the one I was already committed for. The second coil looks like this.
Oh fuck no! Although the coil is very lightweight, it felt like 100 lbs on my chest. I started panicking and hyperventilating before they even put me in the tube!!!!
Hey guess what…. I’m claustrophobic as fuck!!!!!!
They called the doctor back and told her I was being ‘uncooperative’, could they give me something to relax me? After all these years, I still can’t believe I was the first person to ever freak out about being put in a tube, in fact I am positive that I wasn’t. Seriously though, no warning!!!!
I don’t know what they gave me to sedate me, but I kind of remember climbing back onto the table, being “strapped down”, given a little “panic bulb” and being pushed inside the machine. I must have fallen asleep. When I woke up, still inside the machine, I tried to squeeze the little panic bulb, but I had dropped in in my sleep.
I started yelling, and kicking the machine from the inside. No one was coming!!!!! My sister in law could here me yelling in the waiting room and came busting through the door yelling, “can’t you hear her in there, get her out!!!!”…. That is the LAST time I ever let anyone put me in an MRI machine without being drugged to some degree.
In fact this is the perfect time to share another MRI mishap. It was 5 years and several MRI’s after that first bad experience. This time I was going to be smart though…or so I thought…. I had scheduled the MRI for 6 am on Black Friday. My thoughts were, that I would stay up the entire night before shopping and I would be so exhausted that I wouldn’t need as many drugs to go in the tube. Sounds like a good plan right?
We went to Thanksgiving at my parents, did black Friday shopping, but I couldn’t stay awake. The last time I looked at the clock it was 2 am Friday morning. The next time I looked at the clock it was 11:30 am. I started yelling at my husband, why didn’t you wake me? I had to be at the hospital by 6 am!!!! When I stopped yelling, he said, “Grace, you were at the hospital and you had your MRI, Honey it’s 11:30 on Saturday!”
NO fricking way!!!!!
My stomach was growling so loudly, so I went in the fridge to find something to eat.
I found something like this with a section filled with turkey, another with sweet potatoes, and so on and so on.
When I finished stuffing my face, I told Ken that he his idea of filling the veggie tray with leftovers was brilliant.
He responded, “I didn’t do it, you did.” “after we went for your mri, we stopped by your parents, you ate almost a full plate of deviled eggs, and filled this up with leftovers”
I have absolutely no recollection of anything after 2 am Friday morning. Apparently, everything he said was true though. Looking back, I Think I self medicated TOO much. That’s the only explanation for it.
I really scared the shit out of myself with that one!
Since that time, I have learned better and SAFER coping mechanisms for being placed in the tube, but it has taken me years to work up to this.
- I know how to disconnect the coil myself.
- I only schedule one mri at a time.
- I do keep my eyes closed the entire time.
- I keep the music on very loudly in the headphones
- I “tie” the panic bulb around my hand
- I make the technician talk to me between each picture and tell me how long the next image will take. (so I can break it down into 5 minute segments)
- and perhaps most importantly, I go to the same place with the same technicians each time, so I have developed a bit of trust for them.
- I know that if I can’t make it, I always have the option of LIMITED drugs
I hope to write tomorrow (later today) that it was a piece of cake. I have to try! MS is not going away, nor are the yearly MRI requirements to stay on Tysabri, so I might as well give it a shot. If you are interested in learning more about my experiences, with Tysabri, please type tysabri in the search box, I think I have made several posts.
How do you deal with repeated MRI’s? Any tips?