Music to My Ears
Oh minimalist industrial German techno! It’s been so long. I had an MRI (Magnetic Resonating Imaging) yesterday and that is the best way I’ve heard the noise made by the MRI machine, so that how I’ve described it ever since.
The specialist appointment I had several weeks ago now was supposed to result in an MRI but, best laid plans and all that! But my regular monthly appointment with my GP Dr Chris last Tuesday sorted it out in only 6 days.
My GP is a genius, more about him another day, but in the meantime, I thought I’d give a little ‘non-doctor’ advice about what to expect when you go for tests like an MRI.
Mostly, I’ve had a few in the last 10 years so my response is very ‘Meh!’ (Shrugs) Whatever: Next!
But for me, I know what to expect, so on a very rare occasion someone I know tells me they are going for a test or procedure that I’m the person to explain what’s going to happen and what to expect. Sometimes, knowing helps relieve the anxiety. So, I think my next few posts will be about that!
Here’s what to expect for an MRI.
It gives more detail than a CT scan, but I won’t elaborate because I don’t speak enough “DOCTOR!”
The first part is pre-planning, you get this part right, it’s a whole lot easier when you get there.
Take out your piercings (don’t argue, just do it) I have 3 piercings in my ears. That’s it! And I wear a light chain around my neck.
Don’t wear any metal objects. I live in tracksuit pants these days. NOT daggy ones, but not dry-clean only either.
Yesterday, I filled in 4 pages of questionnaire. The barrage of questions is intense.
It’s a bit of a tick and flick affair. Even for me things like, any pacemakers, stents? Surgeries? Is there any chance you could be pregnant? Um? If I had a dollar for every time I’d been asked that in the last 10 years and are you breast feeding? I hope you have all read my profile stating I’m a single celibate barren spinster? Well, that’s the answer for that one! Tattoos? I don’t have tattoos so I don’t know what that would do for the people covered in them. I like a good tattoo. I always meant to get one, just didn’t yet?
So generally. You go in, change your top half of clothing and put on a gown and then you usually lie down on a bed that is slightly curved to fit your body. It’s quite comfortable. Your head sits between a slightly raised frames. They give you a squeezy thing that is like an emergency button, so you can tell them if you need stuff. (Not like a cup of tea, but if you don’t feel well or can’t cope)
Love it when this bubble-thing that is offered to my left hand because that hand is going to do big fat nothing! Yes it happens! If they offer you a blanket, take it! They will give you some ear plugs (foam disposables) and wedge some bits of foam near your ears so your head won’t move.
Usually a plastic foam is pushed down over the top and if you’re lucky there is music. (Besides the minimalist German Industrial Techno) and above your face inside the MRI machine, sometimes theirs a mirror so you can see a clock or timer down on the wall beyond your feet.
Sometimes it’s just nice to have something to focus on.
If you’re especially lucky they will talk to you throughout the scans. It might only take 15 – 20 minutes but each scan might only be 4 minutes long. If they give you warning be sure to swallow. Makes you self-conscious that if and when you swallow your head will move. I can guarantee you during that 20 minutes you will get an itch somewhere and a hiccup or an itchy throat. It’s Murphy’s Law.
Don’t get grumpy if you have a set appointment time for your MRI and then find yourself waiting. Some people may be anxious or claustrophobic or have an epileptic fit and they have to come out to calm down before returning to their scans.
Be patient! All I’m saying.
Afterwards, you will get back into your clothes and maybe wait 5 – 10 minutes before departing. Some places will hand you a CD of your scans. Only Doctors have the software to see the scans and your referring doctor will get the results.
Sometimes, if they need to see your arteries they will inject you with a small amount of iodine or contrast. (Without getting too “Doctor”)
This is often injected into the back of your hand or inside your elbow.
The iodine some people can have an allergic reaction to. My experiences have been that other scans (yet to react) I’ve felt nausea and vomiting but small doses it’s OK.
One miraculous sensation is a nice warm flush that travels to your groin. Super! Kinda has that sensation you may have “pee’d” (just a little). Don’t worry, everybody feels that sensation. The best comment from a technician was that ‘no one in his experience has actively “pee’d”. That technician has been working at the same place for 20 years. So I trust his judgement.
The iodine or contrast usually absorbs into your system very quickly, so you needn’t panic. It’s good to drink a little water before you leave and that it’s nothing to freak out about…. Yet!!!