"It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes." Psalm 119:71

Friday, May 13, 2011

Humor Me: An MRI Rant by a Future Nut Case

Have you seen the news about a 14 pound baby being born last week?

Today, during my MRI, I kept thinking of how much I'd give anything to be out of the tiny tube. I was longing to be doing something easy, like giving birth with no epidural to a 14 pound baby, while lying on a bed of nails and watching Jersey Shore.

Here is what an MRI tube looks like for a breast scan:

I really do understand that to many people, this is not a big deal. People like my husband. But if you, like me, are claustrophobic, then you can understand my disdain for this procedure.

I don't know why, but this time around was SO much worse than last year. I told two nurses that I was claustrophobic this morning, and also indicated it on the paper work I had to fill out. But, somehow, they missed that info and gave me just one Xanax and later told me that if I'd told them I was claustrophobic then I could have had more. Maybe last year's MRI wasn't so bad because I had more drugs. Ahh... drugs.

So, here's what happens during a breast MRI.You have to lie face down on top of a board that has two holes. Since this is a breast MRI, I'll let you use those Sherlock Holmes skills of yours to deduce what these holes are for.

So, once you're positioned on the board, they cover you with a sheet because these types of rooms are always cold! Then they push a button that slides you into a tiny tube and they tell you that you are not to move an inch for 45 minutes.

Now, I do know that people have MRI's done all the time with no problems. I am just not one of those people! They are just not my thing. In fact, I really thought I was going to lose my mind near the end of my 45 minutes today. The machine makes an awful banging and beating sound while it's gathering images. So, imagine lying really still, face down with your head in a hole, your chest in a hole, your arms above your head, and a panic button in your hand. Then imagine that a sink begins to drip, a toddler bangs incessantly on a pot with a spoon, a tv is left on and tuned to a snowy channel, and all of this is at a noise level that's so loud that they have to put ear plugs in your ears. That's an MRI.

The thing that sent me over the edge was an unlucky timing of a hot flash. I have gotten used to hot flashes in the months I've been taking Tamoxifen. They pass within a few minutes and I've found that the best way to get through them is to stand in front of a fan or grab a cold drink. So there I was today, just lying there, panicking and imagining that if I had to stay inside that little tube for only 3 more minutes, I would officially lose my mind and then they'd lock me up in a padded room where I'd never get out and my claustrophobia could really take over and eliminate any remaining brain cells within my already warped brain. 

Only, I couldn't throw the blanket off of me like normal, or ask Terry, "Run, turn on the fan!" I had to lie there and feel my skin melt off of me and drip down into those humiliating holes that were in my board. (Slight exaggeration. Slight.)

 I did try to distract myself. First I tried to pray but I kept hearing Pastor Larry's sermon on prayer in my head. And, I'm sorry, Pastor, but I just have a really hard time praying without saying "just!" (If you don't go to my church, you won't get that. And I'm not gonna explain it either. Hey- if you want in on the inside jokes, you'll just have to come to my church!)

So then I tried to play the movie Dirty Dancing in my head. Cause, you know, after prayer, Patrick Swayze is the next best thing (again, I exaggerate). But I couldn't get the order of the movie right and my brain kept jumping scenes (it must be time to have 'the time of my life' again!). So then I abandoned that and my brain began to turn to mush as I tried to settle on a topic...

I need to add some Boyz II Men to my IPod. Takes me back! Go to the end of the road! Ooh, you know what, let's not think about anything that has to do with 'end of the road'... Maybe Terry will take me shopping after this. Hmm... what is it about medical procedures that suddenly makes me so materialistic? Hope my boys' future wife's won't be materialistic. Well, just materialistic enough to want to go shopping with their mother-in law-sometimes. Maybe Micah and Caleb will marry Hazel and Annabel. Then I can go shopping with their mom. If I don't get out of this flippin' tube soon I'll scream! Maybe I'll just scream in my head and see if that helps. AAAAAGGGGHHHHH!! agh. AGH! Nope, didn't help at all. When will it end? I can't take it. Why am I here? Think of the boys... ok, that's better. I see big blue eyes, toothy smiles... Ok, maybe I can go one more minute...  

And just when I think I can't handle it, I've got to push my panic button, the tears are right there, bubbling below my eyelids, I hear a magical voice say, "Ok, you're all done!"

Then I got dressed and walked around with a huge red circle on my face from the compression of the padding around the hole my head was in. And that red circle stayed for over an hour. Which is nothing compared to the scarring I feel inside after that MRI.

(Ok, I'm done ranting. It's over now and I've got a whole year to go before I'll have to do it again. (And by it, I mean the MRI scan, not the rant. I make no promises about future rants!) And all joking aside, please pray for CLEAR scan results!!! Jesus, I just want to avoid recurrence!)


  1. I started getting panicky just looking at the machine on your post and totally realate to what you feel. I had 2 MRIs in March and demanded total anesthesia. When the guy checked me in he called me "chicken" and started clucking real loud. SO RUDE! I've tried open MRIs, stand up MRSs, valium pills and IV sedation - nothing works so now I happily ask for whatever it takes to knock me out - no matter what the response. Claustrophobia and anxiety/panic attacks are real and not to be down-played by those that can't relate! Glad this is behind you and we're still praying for all of you. Leslie

  2. Hazel and Annabel's mom gladly agrees to the marriage arrangements!
    Praying for you. Sorry it was so bad...my heart was beating really quickly while reading this. I have a feeling I wouldn't do well at ALL with this!

  3. Sarah, when I had my almost two years ago, when my mess all started, I got sick and started getting rid of everything that was in my stomach right before it was done...I had to be taken out of the tube, all of the stuff that they had on me and all of the restraints had to be taken off, until I was done expelling my stamach contents.. Only to stick me back in and finish!!! I know how you feel..well kinda I did not have the HOLES!!!!!!! But I do understand to some extent. I loe you and I am praying for a completly clear scan!!!!!


Your comments and emails keep me going. So keep 'em coming!