Today was the MRI scan. My brother took me to this appointment and did really well. Driving through Bath can be hairy at the best of times. But when you learnt to drive in the States and are driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, in a hire car….well it all added to the thrill factor!!
We were a little early and had a coffee first. Unlike the CT scan I was allowed to eat and drink beforehand.
The appointment was at 5.10pm amd I was gowned up and ready to go by 5.15. I was given a ‘menu’ of music I’d like to listen to. There were about 40 cd’s covering the full range of music. Joseph’s Technicolour Dreamcoat anyone?? I chose Crowded House – The very best of Crowded House.
The Radioagrapher was fabulous. She started by putting the now familiar canula in and explained that I didn’t need dye this time but would be injected with a drug, buscopan, I think, that would relax all my stomach muscles as they didn’t want them moving as the scan progressed. It does make me smile when they tell you of possible side effects. I suppose there is always an option to say ‘Nah, I think 10 minutes blurry vision is too much of a risk to take……’ As it happened I didn’t get blurry vision.
I was laid out on the table, with my arms crossed in front of my chest..you know..coffin style! A plastic board type thing was belted across my pelvis to keep it as still as possible. She asked for my music choice and gave me the headphones and a rubber balloon thing to squeeze, in case of emergency!! It was explained that it would be incredibly noisy, and even in the room there was a ‘beat’ like a bad House track that needed to get going.
She slid me into the machine feet first. She had to push my elbows in to get them to fit through the hole. I freaked. ‘Jesus.No’ I said. So she had me back out and suggested I put my hands above my head. This was much more comfortable and far less claustrophobic, however she warned me my arms may get tired. I asked her long the scan would take and she said 30 minutes. When I looked up the edge of the scanner was probably in line with my eyebrows so I could look behind me and still see ceiling. As soon as it started I kept my eyes shut.
The scans started. It is not just one scan, they do a number. Each one has a different sound and in between each one it goes quiet except for the bad House beat and the apalling sound quality tunes through the headphones! Occasionally she would say I was doing well through the headphones, or would warn that this particular scan was a noisy one. It was noisy but the noise didn’t bother me in the slightest….too many years being a teacher perhaps?!
At one point she told me she was going to move me. I felt myself moving further into the machine. Then after a couple of minutes back out. Later she said she was going to move me again and this time I made the fatal mistake of opening my eyes. My head was totally in the machine and I freaked. I squeezed the emergency thingy, and she asked if I was ok through the intercom. I told her I just needed 30 seconds break. She came in and got me out. I had been in there for 18 minutes, over halfway. She let me get out, and I was allowed to sit up. As luck would have it…I had broken the machine!! Haha. SHe explained that as she had stopped the machine during one of the actual scans it would have to be turned off and rebooted. I was allowed to get up, have a wee, and a 5 minute pace!!!
Round two. I asked for a change of tunes. This time asking for Oasis-Whats the story? I asked her if when she moved me she could just do it without telling me because when she spoke to me she broke my ‘trance’ where I was just focusing on the music. Off we went again for about another 15 minutes. She then came in and told me that the next one was really noisy. It certainly was. It sounded like a bag of bricks on a spin cycle and the whole table shook. This didn’t bother me, but I’m guessing it would freak some people out. It lasted about 4 minutes.
After that she came back in and told me that they had all the info they needed but the last scan would be a bonus. It would mean that my head would have to be completely in the tunnel. It would only last 2 minutes and was I up for it. I did it.
So. MRI….noisy, claustrophobic but very, very clever.
My scans have been sent for urgent analysis and on Friday I find out what the results of them are.