When the fear sets in

MRI is done. Thank god. I almost couldn’t do it. That machine is just too damned small. Thankfully I didn’t have to go all the way inside of it, but even to about my waist was bad enough. I’m not claustrophobic, per se, but something like that can trigger off the little bit of me that is. It doesn’t help any at all that I’m overweight, I know that. That’s a big part of why the machine was closing in on me like that.

As soon as I was first put in the MRI machine, I thought to myself “there’s no way in hell.” But I convinced myself to try. Try to hold out for as long as possible. Even if they were only able to get a few pictures, that would be better than none at all, right? So I closed my eyes tight, balled my hands into fists, and try hard to stay calm and still. I had headphones on, and I did my best to focus on the music, but it was difficult to hear it over the noise of the MRI. I kept making bargains with myself while I was in there: “Get through this song, and then I’ll let you press the button and ask to get out.” “Okay, you made it through one song. Just one more. You can do it. You can hold out, I know it.

Since the sounds of the MRI itself were louder than the music, I was also trying to pay attention to the placement of the machine. On the set of tests during the 2nd song and commercial break, I knew it had started on my right side, so the bargains I was making were to get me to try to hold out until it got back to about where it started. After what I had guestimated as 10 minutes (but I found out later had actually been 12 minutes – Go me!!), I just couldn’t take it any longer — I was starting to have a panic attack and I had to get out of there. I squeezed the button, and when she buzzed I asked to be let out.

Once I was out of the machine and sitting up again, she gave me the info on how far along we were and everything. When I had buzzed to be let out, there had only been 2 seconds more for that set of tests to complete, so she went ahead and left me in there that additional few seconds to finish it before pulling me out. Her reasoning – it was a 3 minute test, and if it wasn’t completed, we would have had to start that one over again from the beginning. I didn’t notice the delay in getting me out, so I was grateful that she went ahead and finished it; and I was also proud of myself for managing to be almost accurate in guessing when the machine was back to where it started. Haha.

Like I said, I had already been in the machine for 12 minutes. What I had left was 1 test that was 2 minutes long; then I would come out, have contrast injected and go back in for a 5 minute test. I knew if I was able to sit there for a few minutes and could calm down I could probably handle going back in for another 2 minutes, but there was no way I would be able to handle the 5 minute one. The tech was very nice and patient with me, she explained all the tests, and even let me know that the for headaches they don’t usually need the tests with the contrast, and if they saw something that made them want the contrast tests, that I could always come back another day and have those done. (And I can have Valium next time, if I have to go back for the contrast tests. haha.) So I struck a deal with her, if I could sit and calm down for a few more minutes, I’d go back in for the 2 minute test, and we’d skip the contrast ones. She got me a glass of iced water and sat and chatted with me for roughly about 5 minutes while I got my heart rate back down and was able to get my courage back up to go back inside the machine.

Once I got inside the machine the second time, a new song was starting on the radio. So I was able to tell myself I’d be out of there before the song was over, and I did everything I could to focus on the music. Thankfully the two minutes went by very quickly, and I was out of there before I started to have another panic attack. I’m still having residual mini-attacks, even 2+ hours later. Nothing bad, just my pulse racing, breathing speeding up, and feeling shaky/jittery. I’ll settle down for a while, and then one will start back up again. (And of course, writing about it isn’t helping with the mini-attacks any. Hah.) After I left the MRI center, I decided to break my diet. I deserved a reward for making it through that, especially since I went back in the machine for a second round after the panic attack. I got a burger on the way in to work. :$ But I got a Jr burger, with almost nothing on it, so I tried to be good, while I was allowing myself that reward? Haha. And I’ll just adjust the rest of my calories for the day so I don’t go over or anything; but I really needed some kind of “comfort food” after that.

Now it’s time to pray they find what they need to find on the MRI’s, and that I don’t have to go back for the contrast ones. Even with 2 Valium for only a 5 minute test – I don’t wanna do it! Haha.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *