Shaken, Not Stirred

I had an MRI Monday.  Not my first, but by far my worst.  When I arrived, they told me that as the doctor had ordered two studies, I would be in the machine for at least forty minutes.  Okay…but then I find I will be posed in the position that is quite possibly the most painful they could have chosen.  And it took an hour.

Have you ever had an MRI?  You’re on a narrow table, and depending on what part of you they’re studying, you’re inserted partially or fully into a large (but not that large) tube.  During the test, there are loud banging, knocking and buzzing sounds, easily heard over the headphones they offer (playing your choice of music, which you can’t hear).  You can’t move, and at least in my case, your shoulders are pressing on the sides of the tube, leading to numbness in your arms and hands. 

I freaked.  While I’m not good with small enclosed spaces, I’ve managed MRIs before with only minimal distress.  However, this time, I literally freaked.  Now, while you’re holding an emergency button, don’t bother using it.  I did, and the tech came in and basically bullied me into finishing the test.  That’s what I get for being a rule-follower.

Between the pain, and the numbness, and the noise, and the behavior of the tech, I was completely shaken up.  And not like a martini, though perhaps one would have helped.

When I finally escaped, I was not only shaken but shaking.  It lasted for a while… and I’m still angry at the lack of concern shown by the techs.  At home,  I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t relax at all… thank God for the cats!

And no, I didn’t have that martini.  I didn’t do anything but sit on the couch and tremble, until the purring calmed me enough to lay down. 

I’m not sure why this happened, and why I still feel the stress.  I’m not sure why I’m writing about it either, except I really like the title.  It’s not like I have any profound comment to make about the experience.  It sucked.

Oh, and here’s a photo of the martini I wish I had had…vodka, not gin.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alfred Fredel
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 09:20:00

    I have had my share of MRIs and they are never pleasant. Having 5 herniated discs and some pretty severe heart issues, it is always the “go to” test for my doctors. I do not like small spaces and the behemoth that is the MRI machine always makes me nervous. Part if that nervousness is the question that I always ask, “What will they find next?”

    While you are a yoga enthusiast, I have been working with the martial arts for about 25 years. There are a few similarities, one of which is meditation. I find that if I meditate and use some breathing exercises before I go into the tube, it helps me to clear my mind. As a matter of fact, I have actually fallen asleep during the procedure when practicing this focused meditation. Be like water! LOL

    Good luck Flora.


  2. travelswithslippers
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 09:33:30

    As I said, I’ve never had a problem before, because, I think, of my yoga practice. That’s why this was significant enough to write about.


  3. bonniefranz
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 09:35:49

    Aw that sucks- I’m so sorry. When my da was having cancer treatments for some reason the absolute worst experience for him was the MRI- he got incredibly sick all over the whole machine and we had to throw out everything he was wearing- even his watch. Even now I can’t think about his experience without getting upset and a little guilty because I told him it wasn’t a bad test- because it wasn’t for me in all the times I’ve had them. I wish there were a way to make it easier for you next time- hopefully there won’t be a next time!


  4. Kim D. Sherman
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 15:07:03

    Next time (hopefully not soon or ever) bring a friend with you.There is nothing worse than feeling vulnerable AND isolated after something like that. Call me. xxx


  5. Gablesgirl
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 16:41:36

    I have to have an annual breast MRI. Face down for an hour and 20 minutes. I take prescribed Valium as I am prone to panic attacks. I suggest it the next time.


  6. Suzanne Demcisak
    Mar 30, 2012 @ 19:01:19

    As someone who works in the healthcare field, give the hospital or whatever facility you went to some feedback, including that you can’t hear the music in the headphones and that you thought the tech was insensitive. It may or may not help you feel better, but facilities know that anyone upset enough to actually make a complaint is very upset indeed, so the more they hear from unhappy patients, the more likely they are to change things.

    I’m so sorry you had that experience. I’ve never had that serious a freak, but for a long time I was so noise-sensitive and so easily over-stimulated that going out in public was a torture. It’s always the sensation of being unable to get away from it that makes me want to go over the edge, and being stuck in an MRI has that in spades.


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