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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My First MRI

Seriously, I have gone 27 years without getting an MRI.  And if I never have to do it again, I will die happy.  Let me preface this by saying I am not entirely claustrophobic.  It's more so if I get worked up and anxious I will have a panic attack.  So I went into this freaking out already.  Here's my account of my first MRI last Wednesday.

6:55 am - I arrive at the Kennestone Hospital Women's center to be checked in.  I'm given a plastic bracelet with a barcode.  I'm now in the system.  Girl checking me in tries to make small talk, but let's face it, I'm freaking out.  I hardly hear her.  Until she makes that statement that I haven't heard since 2004.  "You're name is Nubia?  Wow, you really don't look black."  Not. even. kidding.  I was stunned already by the negative 40* room we were in.  This just floored me.  I shook my head and corrected her.  "There must be a mistake.  I checked the Hispanic box."  She quickly apologized.  "Sorry about that, my mistake for assuming."  I don't know if it needs to be said, but she was black.

7:05 am - We begin walking through a number of halls into the MRI office.  I sit down and am greeted with a very polite older woman with a thick Southern accent.  She asks me lots of "yes/no" questions.  All of which were no except, "Do you have a tattoo?" and "Have you had a head injury?"  She tells me to be seated in the lounge and she'll come back when the dressing room is ready.

7:06 am - Wow, she was quick.  She ushers me into a little dressing room and tells me to change into the scrub pants and gown top.  They even provided socks with double-sided grippers.  I take off all my jewelry, look in the mirror, and notice I have metal hair clips still in.  Yeah, those should probably come out.  I tie the neck of the gown.  Easy.  I try to tie the one that's conveniently out of reach around the side/back of your body.  Fail.  I give up and figure, I'm in a hospital.  Nothing they haven't seen before.
I wouldn't lie about this.
7:10 am - My appointment was set for 7:30, but since I was there early {which they requested I be}, I got to go in when I was ready.  The MRI tech was very nice.  She even made a light-hearted joke about my missing tie in the back.  I told her I gave up.  She took me into the room where the machine was and my heart dropped to my feet.  Holy giant metal donut.  I was pretty sure that the thing was going to swallow me whole.  She asked me if I had ever had an MRI before.  I told her no.  She asked if I was claustrophobic.  I told her slightly, it depends on my level of anxiety.  She said she would do what we could to make it less stressful.

7:13 am - She places me on the MRI bed, puts the wedge thing under my knees {you know, it's all about comfort}, and begins to dress my head with everything imaginable to keep my mind off the stress.  She gives me ear plugs {which ironically I can still hear through} and a sleep mask.  I figured, out of sight, out of mind.  She asks me what kind of music I would like to listen to.  I asked for classical.  It would keep me calm.  She puts the headphones on {circa 1985} and I lay back.  At this point, I'm completely in the dark.  She slides the head camera over the headphones making them tight on my ears.  I begin to count out my breathing. 

7:18 am - The MRI tech begins to raise the bed and slide it back.  I can tell I'm moving.  I suddenly feel something cold and smooth against my arms.  It's the inside of the machine.  I keep thinking about breathing knowing if I thought about where I was, I'd probably lose it.  The machine is fired up and we're ready to roll.  I count "Breathe in, 2, 3, 4.  Out, 2, 3, 4."  It's like being in marching band all over again.  Harper would be proud.  Then, the racket starts.  I do my best to concentrate on breathing, listen to the music {which I could barely hear}, and not move.  The last thing I wanted to do was do this all over again!  I was rigid.  This kid was not moving.

7:21 am-7:41 am - I can honestly say, I felt like I laid there for an hour.  The noise was brutal but I just kept breathing.  At one point I tried to imagine that I was listening the the drum line from high school.  I managed to make it through it without a panic attack.  There was one point where I thought I was going to lose it.  But thankfully, I didn't.  She pulls the bed out and I immediately try to get up, forgetting that my head is basically strapped to the table in the head cam.  That kind of hurt.  She tells me to wait, lowers the bed, and starts taking stuff off my head.  I slowly get up, a bit disoriented, but so glad it's over.  She says I did great and I'm done.

Overall, not a horrible experience.  No, I'd never want to do it again.  Who would?!

3 comments:

  1. Hi I found your post through the Ultimate Blog Challenge and I had to leave a comment after reading it. I too have had an MRI and can totally identify with what you were feeling. The only thing that was different for me was that I was quite large when I had mine done and I have very broad shoulders so they had to measure me to see if I would fit in! Way to relieve the anxiousness. I agree though, not a horrendous experience but not one I would like to repeat either.

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    1. You'd think with all the medical genius that's out there, someone would be able to come up with an easier way to do this! =P Thanks for commenting!!

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  2. Um I'm having a panic attack just READING this! Holy rusted metal Batman no. Just NO. Nope. No way. NO how. No giant donut for me ever.

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