Friday, February 22, 2008

MRI Machine 0, Frida 5

Survived my fifth MRI tonight. For the first time I didn't worry much that:
-I might have had surgery when I was small requiring metal implants or pins and my mother won't admit it;
-the technician might have left a pen or his keys or a big metal chair outside the machine;
-I might have actually swallowed part of that piece of metal in my food a few years ago;
-theoretical aliens might have implanted me with metal while I was sleeping;
-the prismatic glasses they gave me to see out are metallic;
-the headphones for the music they let me listen to contain metal;
-the pain in my stomach means that part of a gum wrapper I ate once stayed with me;
-nail polish might count as makeup and does have metal;
-the metal permanent retainer in my mouth might no longer be stable;
-more of my hair will fall out from stress;
-they should have given me the dye and they'll make me redo this next week;
-they'll give me the dye next week and I'll be allergic to it;
-they won't have epinephrine on hand, or I'll react to the sulfites in it, or my high heart rate/occasional arrhythmia will go out of control;
-one of my medicines has an anti-epinephrine effect;
-I'll react to the latex gloves sitting over there, on the shelf;
-I feel too hot and if the machine's too old and will spontaneously catch fire (actually, I did think about this, inspired by the biggest fire extinguisher I've ever seen, right outside the room, and how roastingly hot I was getting);
-I could have a panic attack, and then they'd make me have a myelogram next week instead;
-this nausea could get worse;
-the inside of my coffin will be this close to my face, and I'll know it;
-if I have surgery it's going to be even less fun than sitting here with my head in a padded vise;
-if I have surgery on my neck, how will I tell the difference between bad neck/head pain from surgery and pain indicating CSF leak?
-if I think I have a CSF headache from myelogram or surgery and it's not, and they patch it, and then I have too much spinal fluid? Then what???
-this would be one of those neck surgeries they have to approach from the front, and would I have to have my head immobilized in some way or in one of those awful contraptions, and worse, how would I wash my hair?
-how long will I have to go to physical therapy, anyway?
-if I have surgery, what kind of pain medicine will they give me, and what if I have a bad reaction to a morphine pump like my sister did, and how will they stop a bad reaction since I'm allergic to prednisone, which they gave her;
-they might accidentally leave me in the machine since it's Friday night, as happened at one imaging center (ok, I worried about this, too).

(No worries that I'm normally this nuts, at least not in this way. These ideas only occur to me while in MRI machine. The radiologist did say something about a metallic artifact on one MRI image a while back, but I guess he was wrong.)

The technicians at this imaging center, which I've been to three times (CT and x-rays in addition), are better than at other centers; they don't leave and I can always see them through the window with the mirrored glasses, they bring heated blankets (though that may have backfired on me since I get hot when stressed), and they are good with helping me position comfortably and patient when I get up slowly (not everyone can recognize it will take me a bit). They also stopped halfway through so I could take a break and go to the restroom (and I didn't even ask). They also let me know periodically how much time was remaining.

My husband says I know too much about medicine (or just enough) and that's what causes me to imagine worst-case scenarios. He says he has more trust since he's doesn't know much about medical issues.


Elizabeth McClung said...

I think we have an old style MRI as they do the cage head and then you enter the machine, I certainly can't see anyone except the MRI machine two inches away. What bugs me is when they call they say: "You are scheduled for an MRI on date you have metal in your eyes?" Literally in the same breath. Is that a common event, someone having a chunk of metal in thier eye? How do I know? If they ask, someone must have metal in their eye?

I also called doing the full head and spinal MRI as "getting the experiences a sperm has in extremely slow motion" (which the techs liked so much I think they made T-shirts) - go up big tube very slowly until I am WAY inside.

Glad your MRI went well - where is it and what are they looking for? Any ideas or is it a second one to compare?

FridaWrites said...

It's a second one to compare. My C5-C6 vertebrae press on my spinal cord, and I have degenerative disc disease and a few other quirks that mean updated MRIs every few years. Because of the pee problem and radiculopathy, they want to make sure the spinal cord isn't more compressed. If it's not worse, focused PT might take some of the pressure off.

Ask for the mirror/mirrored glasses--most places have them now and they'll work with any machine so you can see more than the ceiling an inch away. But you have to ask for them. I don't know why they don't hand them out to everyone since it relieves some of the stress.

FridaWrites said...

I've worried about the metal thing in the eyes, too. What percent of people have that? Or anyone?

FridaWrites said...

Actually, it's the disc that presses on the spinal cord, not the vertebrae. Coffee!!