Well that was interesting, my first MRI. I’ve been happily mostly major symptom-free since just after my birthday which was a pretty craptastic day as it turned out. I was hoping that everything would have resolved before then, but whatever this is decided otherwise. I had to leave class a little early that day and spent much of the rest of my birthday sleeping, not exactly what I had planned. Ah well. Tom still made it special though and he was a doll coming all the way downtown to pick me up that day.
Anyway, my doctor had ordered an MRI, as he puts it “to put my mind at ease.” Um, unless it shows something, my mind in fact won’t be at ease. I can deal with whatever, but I am not a big fan of the “I don’t know” which seems to be the answer I’ve been getting, that or the “it’s probably just stress” answer. How the heck am I any more stressed than I have been during some pretty horrible times in my life? Am I supposed to have suddenly reached an age where it all accumulated and decided to cause me physical issues? Pshh whatever. Hormones I could buy, vitamin deficiencies maybe (both which have been tested for and supposedly ruled-out) but stress, nope. I am not anxious or stressed or anything more than the average human being is and anyway it seemed to have raised its ugly head when I’ve been pretty relaxed, like hello! On vacation!
If there was any anxiety it was about the MRI, not for anything it may or may not reveal, but the thought of being shoved into a little tube for half an hour or so wasn’t sitting well with my psyche. I have spent the bulk of my life avoiding elevators for short trips, and recalled my disastrous trip down into Sea Lion Caves in the 80′s where I paid a bunch of money only to freak out in the elevator down through the cliff-side then emerge in a cave lacking sea lions (they were all outside mating!) Trying to salvage the cost I made the mistake of going into the displays in the back where the ceilings were decidedly low and that had me running back to the dreaded elevator and fresh air. Remembering that had me running back to the doctor to see about some kind of sedative to see me through the MRI.
Armed with Ativan and a ride (thanks Hon!) I showed up with trepidation this past Saturday to the outpatient facility. The place was pretty empty (late Saturday FTW!) filled out my screening form, which included a scale of 1-10 of how afraid of enclosed spaces you are. I decided to say 8 though truthfully I was leaning towards a 10. One of the questions they ask you both on the phone and on the form made me a bit squeamish, “do you have any metal in your eye?” Ack!! I mean I know it is a big magnet you’re getting into but it poses such a horrible mental image of firstly having metal in one’s eye (I am someone who can’t even touch my eye without getting grossed out) to what would happen IF one did have metal in one’s eye and went into a giant magnet (shudder!) After handing the tech back the form I was instructed to change into scrub pants and a gown and I put the Ativan under my tongue and waited for the tech to come back and get me.
He was a nice fellow, he told me that it wasn’t as bad as I was thinking it would be and that the machine was open on both ends. He handed me earplugs and told me they were to muffle the sound as it can get quite loud in there. He also said that he would be putting this thing over my face (from the angle I was at it looked almost like a plastic face cage a la Hannibal Lecter) and inserting some bumpers which would also help to muffle the noise. He then adjusted a mirror right in front of my eyes which reflected the window behind the machine and while it was not the greatest view in the world, I mean it was a few trees and telephone poles, it was better than focusing on the tube ceiling. He put a cord in my hand which had this ball on the end which I was to use to call for help if needed. I was determined to not be a big baby about it and while the cord was in my grasp, my right hand holding firmly onto my left, I didn’t move an inch. He told me to relax, that it would let the Ativan do its thing if I did (in all honesty I didn’t really feel any different) and he would be talking to me through the test.
I then clapped both eyeballs on the mirror, told him I was fine and he started the machine. I refused to look anywhere else but at the mirror, even when the sounds changed and my natural curiosity almost got the better of me. Deep-down I knew that it would be a biiiiig mistake so I stared the best I could (glasses-free) at the birds, trees and those lovely telephone poles. The first couple of scans were pretty short, maybe to gauge one’s tolerance? Anyway after he would check in via the speaker to ask how I was doing and announce the next round I would squeak “I’m fine thank you!” and he would tell me he would be going ahead and I’d squeak “okay thank you!” I am nothing but polite when I’m scared I tell ya. It eventually progressed to longer runs of noises and one flowing to the next.
What I found the weirdest other than the many MANY different tones, sounds, bangs the machine made, was the sensation of hearing them almost change positions and then feeling like a vibration go through my hands which were clutched tightly over my belly. Not that felt the MRI per-say but I’m guessing because my hands were so tense that the vibration of the machine as it did, whatever it does passed through them. I also always hear words in sounds, that’s weird right? I hear words in sounds all the time like when a fan is running. The words the MRI seemed to be shouting at me at different times were GONE!GONE!GONE!GONE!GONE!GONE!GONE! and “DEADDEADDEAD” rather morbid words really! LOL
I wish I’d found this site before I had my test because in the links is an MP3 recording of a brain MRI along with some other useful info. Anyway, I got through it okay and I’m glad to see the back of it! I was told 10 days before the results are with my doctor so we shall see. I really hope it will provide some answers but who knows, probably not. My doctor said even if there is something starting, they may not show right away on an MRI and they would “monitor me” whatever that means. Next up is an appointment with a Neurologist in late April.
He’s probably gonna say it’s stress too. Rawwrrr.