My First MRI and Other Bizarre Experiences

Today was MRI day for me.  I silenced my own inner activist, walked up the street to the private medical imaging clinic, and handed over my debit card to the nice lady behind the counter.

Having been through the INCREDIBLY busy imaging facility at the hospital, I was stunned by how relaxed and friendly everyone was.  Kind of like the dentist's office, except the television was up on the wall instead of set into the ceiling, and it seemed unlikely that anyone would approach me with sharp metal instruments.  (I hoped.)  And CLEAN!  I mean, our local hospital is not dirty by any stretch, but it is old.  It does get a lot of use.  (And I, for one, am very grateful that it rarely shuts down for maintenance.)  At this private clinic, everything right down to the chairs was new – without wear, stains or visible damage.  Again:  Like the dentist's office.

Bizarre.

I signed documents confirming I have no bits of metal in my body, haven't had any metallic ink tattoos applied or removed, haven't had surgery of any kind ever, and have never attempted welding.  Combined with the docs I signed at my physician's office, the telephone conversation with the booking staff, and the questionnaire I filled out in the waiting area, I must've addressed the no-metal-in-my-body issue at least six times.

Were they overreacting?  Maybe.  After hearing about how silver-infused athletic underwear can cause burns when exposed to the super-magnet for too long....  Weeeell, it IS good to be thorough.  I removed my copper fibre sport socks and marveled again at the grit-free floor.

As a matter of fact, I removed everything.  Right down to my pillow-case panties.  You see, one must enter the MRI machine in a "one size fits all" blue hospital gown.  One size fits ALL.

Uh huh.

I consider myself to be a basically average sized person.  I'm about five feet, four inches tall.  Somewhere between 140 and 145 pounds.  I wear a size 6 or a size 8, depending on the manufacturer and the cut.  And what boobs I had more-or-less deflated after my kids were born, lending padding to my back and thighs through some cruel hormonal magic.  So, I would not describe myself as "tiny" – though the intake technician certainly did.  Vocally.  Especially when four sets of cloth ties and a whole whack of medical tape were required to keep me inside that gown.

Me:  "I've been in a fair number of locker rooms.  I'm really not that worried about you all seeing my skin."

Female Intake Clerk:  (*Uncomfortable chuckle, followed by uncomfortable silence.*)

Me:  "Well, I suppose it would be drafty...."

Fully gowned, taped and sockless, I lay down on the narrow sliding table and focused on my breathing while the chatty ladies complimented my TAN – Oh, yes.  They did. – then ran me through the no-metal-objects-in-my-body confirmation (again), and advised me to relax, breathe and keep as still as possible.

Yoga, you say?  No problem.

And it wasn't, really.  I silently metred out rounds of 108 breaths while the machine made its crashing, whirring, screeching, clicking, humming sounds.  Noise-cancelling headphones piped in easy-listening rock n' roll, occasionally interrupted by the chatty ladies' warnings that it was going to get loud.

Because, you know, the previous round of klaxon blast decibel magnetic explosions had been quiet....

But still.  It was soothing.  Watching my breath and taking in the same kind of sensory overload I'd used to soothe my son during the height of colic, I could practically see myself pacing the room while thumping his back with a cupped palm and breathing SHHHHH so close to his ear....

Yeah, I've been sleepy, ever since.  Despite four cups of coffee and a couple rows of Oreos.  (I have no shame.)  Thank goodness there was only a skeleton crew at the dayhome today, because otherwise the slack of watching movies, eating leftover pizza and playing in the mud just wouldn't have been possible.  (Thank you.)

My doctor will see the scan tomorrow, and will hopefully call to discuss before the end of the week.  Maybe three days before I know what's next with this injury.  Three.  More.  Days.

Yup.  You would think I'd be good at waiting, by now.

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