On Monday I went for my third MRI in six months so now I consider myself an "expert" (LOL). Seriously though, this time in the tube felt old hat. I really just chilled, spaced out and planned this post. It occured to me that someone who has never had an MRI might be interested in reading a little about what my MRI experience has been like so here it is in brief.
The first time I ever had an MRI it was on my brain. I got it because a few weeks previously I had an irregular CT after the start of a bout of horrible vertigo. At the time I went for my first MRI I was so dizzy and weak that my husband had to bring me in with a wheelchair. I was wearing a transdermal, anti-nausea patch at the time to keep me from puking but when I got there the technician said I had to take it off because it had metal on the inside and you can't wear metal into the MRI machine. I also had to remove my tongue ring which had been in for over twelve years. I let it close at that point but I was much more disturbed about the prospect of having my head slid into a plastic sheath and my body shoved into a narrow tube when I did not have the patch to rely on to control my nausea.
My husband helped me into a gown and wheeled me close to the room for my MRI. I felt sick and scared. The technician took me in and was very reassuring. They gave me earplugs (because the machine is very loud), strapped in my head and slid some sort of plastic contraption with holes in it over my head. They also gave me a "panic button" to hold in case I got sick, scared or claustrophobic. When I looked up, I could see the technician in the next room revealed in a little mirror above my head. I was still sort of scared. The tube was tight and the helmet was tighter. I told myself to take deep breaths. I started singing in my head. Then I started singing out loud. The machine rattled and I sang for several minutes. Suddenly the technician's voice blared into the room. "You can't sing, you're moving. You have to lay still. We are going to redo this test. If we can't get a clear picture, we will have to reschedule." I was sobered by that. Who knew you had to be so still? I got through it all in about twice the normal time but I was ok.
My second MRI was of my cervical spine. I felt better and was much less nervous. This time I noticed things. It is hard to be perfectly still in the tube. They actually run a series of tests while you are in there. The pallet you lay on moves a little before each new test. Each test feels and sounds a little bit differently. If you breath deeply it goes more smoothly. It is actually not frightening at all unless you are claustrophobic...
My MRI the other day was the smoothest. I knew what to expect. I took a quarter Klonopin to help me remain calm and still. While I lay in the tube I just practiced breathing and meditating. It was easy to stay still. The whole thing went quickly and the experience was restful. All that's left now is the results and I don't expect those quickly. I am unafraid of the outcome. I already know what to look for and I realize this is not something I can control.