MRI am in the moment

This may be my last entry…

Recently, I blogged about immersion therapy and the method I used to combat claustrophobia; well, I can certainly say that it was mostly but not 100% successful.

Today I had an MRI. It’s not something I have had before and I certainly don’t relish it happening again. My appointment went very smoothly and I was in and out of the hospital within an hour – as I walked towards the hospital the university clock struck 12 and as I walked back to the train station, the clock struck 1. Apparently, the machine that I had been booked in for had broken down so I had to wait for a free machine but I still went in earlier than my appointment time so all was good.

The guys at Birmingham’s QE were great and explained what was going on at every stage but nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience.

If you have got here because you were searching ‘what to expect from an MRI’ please believe me that it was all over quite quickly and it’s usually a vital step for diagnosis of various conditions.

I was shown into the MRI room and lay down flat on my back on a moving bed. A cage was then placed over my head – this does 2 things, it keeps your head in a single position and carries a lot of the imaging equipment. Once I was ‘locked in’ as it were, I was moved into the chamber of the MRI. At this point I had a full-on claustrophobic episode. It was weird to feel that way given that I have been ‘phobia-free’ for so long but knowing that you can’t and shouldn’t move (keeping still is vital to a good MRI scan) really piles the pressure on. I had been given a buzzer to press if I wasn’t feeling great and, heart racing like I’d just jogged up Everest, I had to stop myself pressing it a couple of times. The only thing that stopped me was the knowledge that stopping the scan would mean that I would have to start from scratch either right away or some time in the future. Knowing that there was nothing I could do to stop the scan I called on some meditation to get me through.

For the most part, meditation worked. I focussed on my breathing, counting each breath in and out and sensing the rise and fall of my shoulders. Occasionally my thoughts would return to the claustrophobia but I reigned them in and carried on meditating, periodically noting the changing sounds of the MRI. Eventually, after about 15 minutes, the scan was over and I was brought out of the chamber. It was tough and I was shaken but it wasn’t the end of the world.

I told the imaging technician that it had been quite a claustrophobic experience and he agreed. He then told me he much preferred the machine that had broken down because it was roomier! Ah well, not to worry – it’s done now.

I left the imaging department and sat down in the main atrium of the hospital to reflect on what had happened over a Dr Pepper – it was done and the rest of the day could be spent relaxing.

No, it wasn’t the greatest experience of my life but it wasn’t the worst either. Here’s hoping I won’t need another any time soon!

Thanks for reading, now beeeeboooo-beeeeeboooo dugga-dugga-dugga-dugga.

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