Wednesday, April 02, 2008

MRI Interrupted

This morning I went for what was supposed to be my first MRI in four years. Key words in the sentence: supposed to be.

I should have known from the get go that this wasn’t going to be the best day to get this done. There were plenty of warning signs, every single one of them ignored by me.

One big clue was that I had not slept at all the night before.

For some odd reason, my sleep schedule has been horribly messed up for months now. I cannot get to sleep at night unless I use a prescription sleep aid, and even then I usually only sleep for a few hours. Sleeping during the day -- no problem at all. I drop off easily and naturally, and sleep well, the kind that leaves you feeling as though you’ve slept for a day even when you’ve only been asleep for an hour or two.

When I haven’t slept well (or at all), my pain levels go crazy, my emotions grow raw, and my ability to focus goes away. And that’s exactly what happened this morning.

Memo to self: thinking, “I sure hope my pain meds kick in better once I’m in the scanner” is not a good thing. My pain was quite manageable yesterday -- I even managed to skip two of my regular doses of meds, which I usually need to take every three hours. I was feeling great -- until midnight. At that time, my pain levels went to a 10, and I spent the rest of the night trying to get them back under control. It didn’t help that I had taken a dose timed to be in fell effect at the time of my appointment, only to have my appointment bumped back for almost two hours (right about the time the current dose expired) because an emergency case was using the scanner.

The pain and the raw emotions weren’t helped by the fact that the first thing I thought of thought of when I saw the MRI scanner isn’t the four poster bed the HipHubby had described. To me, it looked more like a cheesy little plastic stand I had to raise my monitor up a few inches. Compared to a torpedo tube closed MRI, this machine is WAY open, but it was still a little too close for me. Once the tech (a wonderful, caring man named David) had wrapped this 2 inch wide flexible coil twice around my neck after finding out I couldn’t use the “hockey mask“ type coil because my kyphosis was too severe, I had serious doubts about my ability to handle this.

Between the pain I already had, the new pain triggered by hitting my bad shoulder on the “hockey mask” coil when trying it out, having the flexible coil rub against that same bad shoulder, being uncomfortable from my cast, and then being shoved into this tight space, I couldn’t do it -- and I lost it. My mouth went dry, my lips chapped up, my pain went nuts, and I started to have my first full blown panic attack ever.

And that was before the first part of the scan (pre-contrast) ever started. ~sigh~

So I had my DH get nice tech David to pull me out so I could get a drink, get some air, put on some lip balm, and try it again.

I’m used to having my scans is place where the room was wired with speakers so the tech can talk to you, and you can talk back. Here, you have to wear headphones to have that option, and for some reason, they didn’t fit on me that well and I couldn’t hear the tech at all. It’s maddening to me to not be able to get reports on how much longer I need to hang on. Yet even so, I tried to just listen to the radio and forget where I was.

This time, I actually lasted about 10 minutes before a whole lot of pain -- and a little panic -- forced me to call it all off, for good for that day.

I am so embarrassed I could just die. Even though David and my DH were both very nice about the whole horridly embarrassing decision, I can’t help but feel I’m being a huge wimp about the whole thing. I’ve never backed out of a medical test before, but for some reason I knew that there was no way I was going to make it through this one.

I’m supposed to go back next week for a thoracic scan. David, tech extraordinaire who thanked me for breaking up his boring days, thinks that he can do the cervical and the thoracic at once. That would be awesome, as long as my stupid body cooperates and my brain can get past my failure.

I know now to take extra pain meds with me to the hospital in case the scanner is occupied well into the time of my appointment, and I’m going to call my neurologist and ask him for an anti-anxiety drug to help me through it. I really don’t want to let this stupid test defeat me.

Wish me luck next week-- I’m going to need it!


Jonderson said...

Well that sucks. I hope you aren't letting it diasappoint you too much though, it is just a machine and you are only human after all.

I was in one of these new "open" MRI machines in February, and while it is certainly more open than the "torpedo tube" kind that you mention, the only way you would ever notice the open sections is if you were to turn your head to the side...which, for obvious reasons, you are not allowed to do. And I wouldn't swear to it, but it seemed to me that the distance between your face and the surface of the machine while you are in it is actually less than the "torpedo" type. Not being remotely claustrophobic it didn't bother me any (I actually have yet to remain awake through an MRI). Still, I was in there wondering why do a redesign if it wasn't going to actually make it appear to the person inside it that things were different. I do not understand why they can't/don't use some sort of shielded projection system to have long-distance landscape scenes displayed on the surface in front of you to at least give the illusion that the distance is greater than a few inches. Or maybe some non-magnetic mirrors placed in such a way that the person can see out. Hell, even some creative graphic design worked into the actual plastic could at least give an illusion of more distance between your face and the machine.

I also had the same problem with the headphones. Not with fit, but with sound quality. I couldn't hear the guy at all. So I ignored him. He eventually came in and asked me what was up and I told him, but he of course doesn't have any control over things like what audio equipment is available.

Better luck next thing I know though, is that you are not one to be done in by something as simple as a machine. So I have confidence in you yet!

WhiteAngel said...

Yeah those MRI's are a pain, I have a small frame but i do find it uncomfortable like you because of the kyphosis, I have pressure sore right on the tip of the kyphosis, it's not ideal but you do what you have to. I haven't been in the new MRI that are open, I just close my eyes and try to picture the scene from the God father with the machine guns, no music in mine...I do hate the injection but at least i know that i'm half way done. Anyway I do hope that next time things will go better for you...I'll be thinking of you..Love & Light...let go let God!