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16 November 2005 @ 09:54 am
Well, add THAT to the top 10 list of ways not to spend your morning....  

I've had an MRI before but not like this one.

I am not claustrophobic by any stretch of the imagination but still, this thing was at the limit of what I could endure, which is a lot, thankyouverymuch.

First, they put this thing on my chest and neck that looked like something you might wear on Voyager as a protection from death rays.

Then they put a plastic cage over my face and head and locked it to the slidey board thing.


Then they put an IV in and oh, I already had the ear plugs in.

Then they slid me into a tennis ball can. No, really. It was about that big. White with a royal blue stripe down the center of my field of vision.

Now, to be fair, they only slid me into the thing up to my hips. But still. I don't know how people who are even the slightest bit claustrophobic deal with this.

The first scan is two minutes, the second one is five, the third is three. At the end of 10 minutes they say "You're almost done. Hang in there."

My right arm has gone numb because Erin jammed into a tennis ball can up to her hips = loss of circulation. So I gamely ask how much longer it will be and they say "Oh, eleven or so minutes."


The first couple of minutes, I sensed panic on the horizon so I started to regulate my breathing and tried to focus on the blue stripe. This is before even the first scan.

By the end of the first scan, my nose was itching so I focused on that.

By the end of the second scan, panic was beginning to creep back in, so I decided to think of C/O plots.

By the end of the third scan, I completely lost the feeling in my right arm, hence, my question of "How much longer?"

The techs ever-so-graciously pull me some of the way out of the tennis ball can to allow the blood to rush back into my arm. Then they slide me back in.

For eleven more minutes.

During which I lapsed into thinking about anything I thought would help:



Casey and Olivia together

Blogging about the whole experience

How to improve upon the design of the MRI machine

How to improve upon the MRI experience in general
(One of the ideas I had was so out of left field that even I was surprised by it, but essentially it involved 10 minutes of privacy before the scanning began and the art of self-pleasuring. You know, to take the edge off? Like I said, way.out.of.left.field.)

How various of my friends would handle the experience

How various of my friends would handle me handling the experience

Tracey and Kelly from TBJ

And yes, I even tried to ponder last night's episode and my upcoming review but I decided that the unease caused by the MRI experience might taint the review and so I dropped that line of thought. I'd rather an episode suck on its own merit than have it suck just because I was pondering my review while jammed head-first into a tennis ball can.

I even tried to hum silently to myself but in my weirded-out state, I could only come up with the song "Buffalo Gals"--which is an idiotic song to have stuck in one's head while jammed into a tennis ball can.

The techs then get me out of the tennis ball can, take out my IV, and ask me two cryptic questions:

"Do you work here?" (Answer: No, but both my parents do. ["here" being the hospital in general])

"Do you take blood thinners?" (Answer: Um....noooooooooooo.....O_o...??)

Then I was free to leave. Which I did. Hurriedly.

So yeah, I decided that that isn't really a terrific way to start one's day. Particularly when one didn't sleep too well in the first place.

On that note, I think I am going to finish my fresh ginger and cinnamon tea and see if I can take a nap.

I'll be up and on later to answer all my comments from last night and to work on my review. :D

You all are the greatest flist, btw. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, okay? ;)



ETA: UGH. I just went through and fixed the idiotic mistakes in this post. The weird tense-jumping you'll just have to live with. I don't have the energy to deal with it right now. Sorry.
My State of Mind: gratefulgrateful
joemacsanne on November 16th, 2005 03:19 pm (UTC)
*ugh* I remember having my MRI and getting yelled at for moving. I'm only mildly claustrophobic so I was panicking at the SIGHT of the machine. But then when they stopped at my waist I breathed a little easier. I also don't do well with 'restraints'. They make me worry that I really SHOULD be scared of something. Whenever I'm in the hospital and you want to make me freak out, strap part of my body in. They had my legs strapped to the MRI table and I about lost it. I'm always like 'Is this safe according to the fire code?! Can I get out of here if the place burns down?!'. Not that I'd be running anywhere if I was unconscious on an operating table, but from an MRI I so could. OMG imagine if you went into surgery and woke up outside with the building on fire? OK I'm creeping myself out here. *panics*
seftiri: Casey Hugseftiri on November 16th, 2005 07:23 pm (UTC)
I actually thought about you while I was in the tennis ball can. I remembered you saying you'd had to have an MRI on your knee and I wondered for about three terror filled seconds if they had to slide you into it even farther than I was but then I quickly thought, No, Erin, they would have jammed her feet-first into the can, not head-first! And then that made me jealous, so I moved on to another topic. ;)

And yeah, I never really considered what would happen if I was in surgery and the HOSPITAL CAUGHT ON FIRE, so thanks for that.

joemacsanne on November 16th, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC)
LOL you're welcome for that mental image of the hospital in flames around you. I was thinking about that after the surgery. And I was also commending myself on the fact that I could walk afterwards ... I'd be able to hop down the stairs instead of waiting in line for an elevator. Well, as long as I was off the operating table and awake. Heh.

I actually remember telling the doctors to not let me wake up too early. That's my biggest fear in a hospital. Being put under anesthetic and waking up too early. I'm not as concerned about not waking up at all, but that still gets me too.

Yeah, they slid me in feet first. LOL but they told me to let them know if I felt any burning on my ankle. I was like "excuse me, what?". That was almost enough for me to leave. But they meant my tattoo. They try and keep newer tattoos away from the MRI machine, so they said if my skin felt like it was on fire (really hot) or if I felt stabbing pains, to let them know and they'd turn it off. I'm sure I went green!! Like this page!!

And the last time they restrained me, I was like "I swear I'm not going to run away!". They laughed ...
penny_grrl on November 16th, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
It Actually Does Happen
Not to scare you further ::devilish grin:: but I actually did wake up quite early during surgery once. The doctor was literally sewing the last stitch on my foot when I woke up. I was royally pissed too, because I was maybe 14 or so and had specifically requested that the anesthesiologist use an injection rather than the gas because the gas makes me sick, and the son of a bitch ignored me and used the gas anyhow. I'm still convinced I wouldn't have woken up early if he just would have listened to me.

Also, do you mind if I friend you? You can do likewise if you want.

-Jenna, 'bekahbabe'
joemacsanne on November 17th, 2005 03:53 am (UTC)
Re: It Actually Does Happen
Oh god, I think I'd die!!! I always get a little antsy whenever they talk about putting me under. LOL, and I get knocked out by gas and an injection, so I've never had any problems. I just don't like the recovery room. I mean, they assign a nurse to you until you wake up and my last one was off chatting with her friends! I was lying there so drowsy and all I wanted was water, and she was off making weekend plans! If I could've thrown something in her general direction, I might've. But instead I begged for painkillers and don't remember a whole lot about the trips to and from my room (for various poking and prodding tests ... ew).

LOL sure, friend away! I've added ya back. :)
Rebeccatheniwokesoftly on November 16th, 2005 04:23 pm (UTC)
::is scared::

::was supposed to get an MRI of her knee 18 months ago and didn't::

Yeah, I get panic attacks. And being jammed in a tube like that means that I would get a major panic attack. But when I told the orthpedist and the X-Ray tech girl that, they told me to go have a regular MRI and that if I had a panic attack, then they'd schedule me an open one. Um, notsomuch. So, I never did get the damn MRI, and my knees have probably suffered. I know that since it's my knees, they said they'd only put me in up to my waist or so, but it would still be close to my face and I would freak. My mom yelled at me about it, because she had to have an MRI of her brainstem, so she had the head strapped down like you did, and I was like HELLO CLAUSTROPHOBIA. She may have been scared, but she's admittedly never had a panic attack. Yeah. Can't fucking BREATHE when I'm in small spaces like that, last time I got stuck in the darkroom I was walking shakily for a full day and couldn't go back in the room for a week. I don't wanna!

seftiri: Kelly from Nightseftiri on November 16th, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC)
For you, sweetie, they'd give you a valium 10 and you'd be conscious but talking to invisible people and/or walls. It might help. Ask your doc about it the next time you see him/her.

Rebeccatheniwokesoftly on November 16th, 2005 07:45 pm (UTC)
The problem there was that at the time, I couldn't get anyone to drive me. When I next get told to, that's what I'm doing.
replevin for a cow.: dh | lynette says ughquasiradiant on November 16th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC)
just out of curiousity-do they ever give people sedatives for mris, or does that affect the results of the scan?
seftiri: Dreamseftiri on November 16th, 2005 07:27 pm (UTC)
They do. They give them to people who claim to be claustrophobic and sometimes to people who say they don't know if they are claustrophobic or not.

I got no drugs but I did (everyone does) get some weird squeezy ball panic button that would notify them that there was a problem.
shay: makeumineshaych_03 on November 16th, 2005 06:19 pm (UTC)
you are eleventy different kinds of brave erin. i'm not horribly claustrophobic, but being strapped in would suck.

*crossing my fingers that it's all good in the end*
seftiri: All Smilesseftiri on November 16th, 2005 07:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I felt rather accomplished for not having freaked the fuck out! Cuz my mother, in the waiting room, could hear the machine running and she was freaking out thinking of me inside it for that long (total time ended up being roughly 32 minutes.)

Results should be ready for me tomorrow or friday. I'm interested in hearing them too.

Especially after the cryptic questions which my parents both thought were cryptic in an interesting way.
shayshaych_03 on November 16th, 2005 07:34 pm (UTC)
oh? how so? like, interesting good or intersting scary?

and you should be proud :) tennis ball tubes are tiny!!
ralstralst on November 16th, 2005 07:08 pm (UTC)
Well, that's a nightmare in a can, if ever I heard one. Ugh!

I could be hallucinating, but I'm sure I saw an advert on the telly the other day about a new form of MRI that isn't all enclosed; a side panel is open all the way down. Now I'm not sure why they'd be advertising that, as I can't see many people wanting to buy one to stick in the front parlour for Christmas, but I remember thinking it'd like a vast improvement, enclosed space wise.

Sorry, rambling.

So, did you get your results? Any improvement on the temp diagnosis?
seftiri: seven of nineseftiri on November 16th, 2005 07:34 pm (UTC)
Well you Europeans are always more advanced than we are medical-technology-wise....or well, you seem to embrace medical technology change more quickly than we do.

I don't know. But yes, the clam-shell design would be a happier experience.

The techs said the doc would call with the results sometime in the next 48 hours, so nothing yet. :)
Rebeccatheniwokesoftly on November 16th, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC)
There are those, but they suck. I asked to have an open one, but they told me to go to a regular one and that if I had a panic attack, they'd let me out and send me to an open one because the picture's not as good. Only I read that for things like knees (what I need done), open ones are better because they won't catch as much movement as the closed one. Bah.
penny_grrl on November 16th, 2005 10:49 pm (UTC)
Easy answer - not well
As to your question about how truly hard core claustrophobic people deal with MRIs, the answer is terribly. Also though, my claustrophobia is in very large part a RESULT of many many MRIs as a very young child (we're talking 2 and 3 years old). Imagine being caged to a board, jabbed with needles, etc. and being to young to even understand why. Then all of a sudden, you're in a teeny weeny tube and it's dark and scary.

BTW, remembering all this, I'm struck with the fact that I had the MRIs for much the same reason as you are now. I was having a lot of full blown migraines complete with all the textbook symptoms--light sensitivity, dizziness, vomiting (sp?), off the charts piercing headache pain, blackouts, etc. I still remember one particularly notable spell when I was about 3 and a half when I was walking home from the park and just immediately fell down and got sick and crying and scared my poor babysitter half to death.... Poor girl, she had no clue what to do.
seftiri: aerynseftiri on November 17th, 2005 12:57 am (UTC)
Re: Easy answer - not well
That's just awful! Are you managing them now or have they gone away?

And I could definitely see how that would make someone claustrophobic.
penny_grrl on November 17th, 2005 03:01 am (UTC)
Re: Easy answer - not well
I had one about two years ago that was really out of the blue. Before that I think it had been since I was maybe 7. I'm 21 now, so I guess I went 12 years without a full-blown migraine.

Anywho, I really hope that things go all right with your results/diagnosis. Here's crossing my fingers that it is something a. impermanent, and/or b. easily treatable. Hugs and warm thoughts across the state of NC. :-)
Danielle: Charmed - dani_ellie on November 17th, 2005 12:13 am (UTC)
Okay, I'm not so much claustrophibic but I HATED feeling trapped. HATE. Crowded trains, any mode of transportation for long periods of time (planes are the worst because I HATE flying to begin with)...serious panic city. I've almost passed out GOING TO SCHOOL because I couldn't see out the window of the train. So I'm practically hyperventilating just freaking reading that.

Gah. *snuggles*
seftiriseftiri on November 17th, 2005 12:55 am (UTC)
*snuggles back* Sorry to make you freak! :(

Danielle: Charmed - dani_ellie on November 17th, 2005 12:57 am (UTC)
No, don't apologize! I'm sorry you actually had to do that! Eep!