Sunday, October 17, 2010

Things you should know BEFORE an MRI...

(let me preface this by saying I AM FINE!!!)

"Take the last elevator down the hall and press B for basement."

"Thank you." I say cheerfully, but turn to my husband in mock horror and whisper, "she's sending us to the basement?!?!?"

We round the corner and exchange nervous smiles while waiting for the elevator.  Unlike most people, hospitals do not make me nervous, quite the opposite actually.  I feel safe in a hospital.  I like to know that there are hundreds of people who know how to function in a crisis situation milling around the halls. 

I have had good luck in hospitals, delivering three healthy babies with no complications.  This hospital reminds me of friendly nurses and helpful food service staff, always willing to sneak an extra slice of chocolate cake for my husband. 

On this particular October morning, however, I am nervous because my husband and I are at the hospital for my MRI. 

My nervousness is only complicated when an armed security guard enters the elevator and gives us a once-over with a high-arching eyebrow.   This look seems to say, "What are you two doing on a Saturday morning going to the basement of a hospital?"  I want to answer him, "This is a valid question, I'd love to know."

We follow the signs to the MRI waiting room and find a dark room.  There is nobody in the office, nobody anywhere. 

I find the lack of general hustle and bustle quite disconcerting.  If I hadn't been received, confirmed and instructed by the woman in Patient Registration to come to this basement office I would begin wondering if I did have the correct time, date and location.  Just as I was getting ready to head back upstairs, a young man wearing scrubs came around the corner.

This kid looked to me as if he just rolled out of bed, which is perfectly acceptable if you are 22 years old and working at The Gap but in this case he was going to be inserting me and my pelvis into a steel tube and I would have preferred a slightly older technician.  But ce la vie.

I ask him if the office is open and he says that it is only open for certain special circumstances.  This answer sends my freak-out-o-meter through the roof since the details of the questionable test result that necessitate this MRI have been sketchy at best.

"Where is your pain?" he asks me. 

"Umm...nowhere."  I answer.

"It says here that this is a pelvic pain rule out." he reads off the chart.

"Well... I have some shin splints from a tough run the other day but no pain in my pelvis, sorry."

I make jokes when I'm nervous.

The kid shrugs his shoulders and mumbles something about coming to Changing Room 2.  I look at my husband and he smiles reassuringly.  I give him a quick kiss and then report as instructed.

In the "Changing Room" the tech comes in and tells me to take everything off except sock and underwear, lose the bra, keep your shirt and put these pants on. 

I hold up the oompaloompa sized pants and stifle a laugh.  It is not a fashion show I remind myself. 

Things they don't tell you about an MRI; you should wear socks. 

I did not have socks on, instead chose to wear my "fake Ugg's" and had to choose to tip toe across the hospital floor in bare feet or to rock my boots to the MRI. 

I chose the boots, thank God, because the second thing they don't tell you about an MRI; its flipping cold in there. 

The kid tells me to lay on the table and with a series of questions I painfully pull out the information about what exactly is about to happen.  After he answers the fifth or sixth question he says, "Is this your first MRI?" 

"No genius, I'm quizzing you to see what you know..." I think this but opt not to say it out loud, factoring in that he is going to control how long I stay in the scary tube. 

He asks me about music choices, I think for a moment that he is making conversation but quickly piece together that the big machine makes noise and they give you music to listen to instead. 

I politely tell him "thanks, but no thanks"  I have three kids, you see, under the age of six and 120 decibels of jack hammer noise is the stuff that naps are made of.  He shrugs again, he doesn't get my humor, and hands me two spongy ear plugs.  I put the plugs into my ears and can no longer hear his mumbles, just see his mouth moving. 

He hands me a "panic button" and without any further instruction as to why I might need this or what would happen when I push it, he leaves the room, sealing the door behind him.  

It makes me wonder what exactly they are doing that requires me to be in a sealed room and him to be safely outside of said room? 

For the better part of an hour I lay completely still inside the steel tube listening to the echoed hammering of the machine.  I drift in and out of consciousness and write post upon post of mental blogs.  When he pulls me out of the tube at the end he seems surprised that I could sleep. I start to make a joke but think better of it, knowing my wit and humor will be wasted on him. 

I have no idea what the results of the MRI will be, I choose to believe that they will be unremarkable and just a scare for nothing, but one thing is for sure, if nothing else questionable test results are good for blogs.


  1. Sounds like an interesting experience to say the least!!! I hate hospitals! keep me updated as far as the results! love you

  2. Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog.
    Have a nice day!