Tuesday, November 25, 2003


Well I guess I'm not totally claustrophic as I managed to survive my first MRI but it wasn't particularly pleasant.

The machine looked so much bigger from outside the room than when I was lying inside it staring at the "roof" just inches from my nose. To give you an idea of size, lie down and pull your arms close to you. The edges of the tube were just about at my elbows to stop me going anywhere. Now draw a semi-circle round above your body. That's it...all the space you get. Looking down my body I couldn't see out the end....freaky really.

The technician was very nice about it all...I had headphones so she could play music to me (I requested anything but Christmas carols cos I'm sick of them already) and talk me through what she was doing....and I was able to talk to her as well while I was in there...not that I was particularly full of witty repartee...think the most I could come up with was "OK" and "uhuh"! She had to take about 5 or 6 different pictures. Each one involved holding still, remembering not to swallow or cough (cos they were looking at my neck) and breathing normally (yeah right...I'm sure my heart was racing most of the time) for about 2 to 2.5 minutes while a very loud "buzzing" of the magnetic rays (I think that's what they are) was "pushed" through me. Each picture had a different sound to it...guess that was things going in different directions?

On about the fourth picture, I wanted to tap my feet to the music playing (can't remember what the song was). Then the thought of my feet sticking outside the tube, tapping up and down, made me want to giggle....all very surreal really. Had a moment of near panic when the music stopped for a few moments and everything went totally quiet....luckily she'd only gone to change the radio station but I started thinking "what happens if there's an emergency and something's happened to her and I can't get out".....it's amazing how I can make myself panic about really unlikely stuff! I had a panic button to hold..."push this if it gets too much for you and we can stop". I got close to it but restrained myself.

We did good though...all the pictures were perfect first time so no retakes needed. Thank goodness for that - you can have enough of a good thing!!!! Guess I was actually in the machine for about 30 minutes and that was way long enough. I wish I could say I'm never doing that again but I have to have the lower spine done so gotta go through the ordeal once more :-( I'll be further in but not far enough in to come out the other side (the tube's about 5' long)....yukkkkkkkkk. There was something consoling about knowing that part of me was out in the open and I'm not sure how I feel about being totally enclosed. She did say that I might be able to see the other end next time...that would be nice....I wouldn't feel so bad if my head were free...why don't they make those tubes a little shorter...at least a nice transparent top would help instead of that awful white with the blue stripe!

What I didn't expect was going in fully clothed. I thought they'd make me wear one of those sexy white gowns that cover absolutely nothing. But no, all I had to do was remove my bra (in case of underwiring), glasses and watch (which I don't wear anyway). Took my boots off as well cos they were wet from the snow...and went in wearing my thick wooly sweater, t-shirt and jogging bottoms. The last picture was the worst....they had to take one that blocked fluid so the machine was vibrating like mad and it got so hot in there I was regretting keeping the sweater on. Plus I wear two rings....one of them kept vibrating with every picture....in another panicy moment I had visions of rays flying around inside the machine setting fire to me.....Claustrophic? Probably not. Over-active imagination...definitely!!!

Have to say the results were amazing. I've never seen MRI pictures before and she showed me, on screen, what they could do with them. Quite fantastic seeing my spine from all different angles - from the side, the back and then as if it had been cut horizontally through the different vertebrae. Absolutely no idea what any of it meant but it looked very pretty. Came home with a bundle of film that I've been staring at. To my untrained eye it all looks OK but I should probably wait for a medical opinion! Been a bit shaky since I got in...not sure if that's after-effects of being vibrated so much or just nerves...either way, I'm more than ready for bed....nice safe bed with no top to it and no loud buzzing...mmmmmmmmmmmmm


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