I have had the “pleasure” of a number of MRIs over the years and have NEVER had a problem with claustrophobia… that is until the day that I did have a problem…and a big one at that. Although it was just like every other MRI, same tube like machine, with a technician talking to me over a speaker, music pumped-in to make the whole experience more “pleasurable” (as if that is going to help me FORGET that I am in a tube, instructed to NOT MOVE while loud beeps and tones and a lot of shaking and vibrations take place….maybe I can pretend I am in a nightclub!?!?!)
I FREAKED OUT AND COMPLETELY LOST IT!!!!
Laying completely still for that long, the pain slowly began to increase, and although I tried everything; every meditation technique, breathing method, and thoughts of my “happy place,” NOTHING worked. The panic set in and started to grow; became all-consuming! I tried SO hard to just suck it up, to be OK and make it through. After all, I had managed to get through all the other ones, being the “model” patient. I didn’t want to fail; to not please the people on the other side of the glass, outside my little “bubble of magnetic forces.”
But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be in there for even one more second…and so I did what I swore I would never do. I squeezed that little “bulb” they hand you just before they say goodbye and roll you into the tube. The “OH-SHIT” BUTTON. I had always held on to that little squishy thing, taking solace in the fact that it was there…that at any minute IF I needed help, magic would happen. They would stop the agonizing sounds and shakes and get me out! Up until that very moment I had always prided myself in the fact that I never squeezed it – that I was strong enough to get through it, without moving, or doing anything to fuck up the scan.
I SQUEEZED. Over and over and over.. I squeezed that stupid little thing like I have never squeezed anything before. (I’m tempted to make some inappropriate sexual reference here, but will refrain since I AM trying to convey just how scared I was.) Guess what happened….NOTHING. The sounds kept going and the machine kept shaking.
Complete and utter terror set in!!!!
I had to get out and no one was listening! Where the HELL were the people? All cheery and supportive when they left me in the tube; now NOWHERE to be found!
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity (but was probably more like a few seconds) the technician’s voice came through the speaker.
I have just realized that I left out one small but IMPORTANT detail that will help you understand how, later, I could see the humor in all of this.
The radiology technician’s name was….
I SHIT you not!!!! I didn’t believe it either and so when the doctor introduced her, I had to ask that he repeat it…three times. Which meant I had the doctor saying “poopie, poopie, poopie” just before my hell began.
Poopie (who was Asian, and I am pretty sure I have the spelling wrong, so my apologies) let me down. She was supposed to be my savior. I frantically squeezed that “panic bulb” but she didn’t stop the machine and she sure as hell didn’t roll me out! Instead, I heard
“yes, what is the problem?”
I responded with “I NEED TO GET OUT, I CAN’T DO THIS.” She then calmly explained that there was only ten minutes left to the scan and told me to stay still.
WAS SHE KIDDING!?!?!?!
I didn’t have the ability to last even one more second, let along ten minutes. The pain that had now taken over my entire body was all I could think about. I had to move, to get out and stretch and try to make it stop! But good ole Poopie didn’t have my back! She was determined to finish, and told me
“you lay still and we will be done soon.”
This is NOT what I wanted to hear, and I have to admit that in hindsight, I am embarrassed at what happened next, but I truly don’t think that I had control over my actions at that moment; I was SO panicked and in SO much pain, I did not have a thought for anyone or anything but me, and getting the HELL out of there. I screamed, at the top of my lungs…
“GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE YOU BITCH!!!”
Guess what! It worked!!!!
This was certainly not one of my finer moments, and I can assure you that the awkwardness that ensued once they did roll me out and came back into the room is not something that I would choose to ever endure again.
In my defense, the pain was real, and so was the panic. My breathing was labored and because I had been still for so long, my legs did not work at all. Eventually – I was able to pull myself together and allow then to put me back in the tube to complete the scan, but thoughts of what I had just done, and how incredibly scared and panicked I felt remained for a long time. Even writing about it now and remembering, sucks. I have never felt that “out of control” of myself and my actions, and given the choice, I would NEVER want to “go” there again.
Wondering how in the world I will face the inevitable NEXT MRI?!?!?
You can bet that I will look to cannabis for help!
**This is my personal blog and all opinions are my own. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one here on my blog. The content here is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of medical professionals. Be sure to contact your doctor before trying any new medications/vitamins/supplements, physical activities or therapies **