Not long after returning from the cruise; in fact it was four days after returning I had to attend an appointment at my local hospital for an MRI scan. Although, as many of you will know from reading my last post, the holiday was difficult for me, however a positive of the trip was a break from the monotonous lifestyle of a spoonie, such as the endless days stuck inside the house and the endless numbers of hospital appointments and doctor’s appointments.
But now that I am back home, I am also back to living the life of a spoonie.
And the first step on the ladder back to the life of a ‘sick chick’ was the MRI exam. A test that has been nine months in the waiting! Yes, a nine month wait for such a procedure is what you can expect from the NHS in Wales! And even more surprisingly was the fact that the scan was scheduled for 7.45 at night!
The MRI experience is strange and alien no matter how many times you’ve experienced one… (Click to Tweet)
An MRI scan that many of those of you living with neurological conditions are subjected to regularly. And it’s an experience that is strange and alien no matter the number of times you have had one done.
The machine itself is big, extremely loud, and rather claustrophobic. So, it’s no surprise that it can invoke a lot of anxiety in many people.
I have to admit when I experienced my first MRI, I was petrified and anxious, however with like many experiences in life the anticipation turned out to be much worse than the experience itself. In fact, I rather enjoyed it; feeling cocooned whilst in this strange cylindrical scanner and practicing visualisation techniques as a distraction technique from the noise and my anxiety. For me, I would much prefer the MRI scan and being enclosed than the CT scan which is more open – I may be in the minority there, but it’s true at least for me.
As, the appointment last Tuesday was not my first MRI scan I was therefore slightly more relaxed beforehand but there were still some butterflies in my stomach as although the procedure is not invasive it can still be very unpleasant due to the noise and confinement in the machine for a considerable length of time (this scan of my brain and entire spinal cord took approximately 1 hour).
As there was no receptionist on the desk on arrival we had to phone through to the MRI suite to inform them of our arrival, and then after a nearly 30 minute wait, I was ready for the scan…
The technician helped to lie down on the table and placed my head in a brace to limit movement whilst the scan took place, and gave me an alarm to hold onto that I could squeeze in case of an emergency. And of course was given some earplugs to place in my ears to limit my exposure to the loud noises that the machine can produce when scanning the parts of the body under investigation. When under stress or during periods of boredom (yes, having an MRI can be very boring indeed!) I love to listen to music and I know many people have reported that they had the option to listen to music during their scan, but unfortunately I have never been offered this option.
After settled in the machine, the technician left the MRI suite and situated herself on the other side of the glass window where she was controlling and monitoring the MRI. And then it started…
I knew beforehand that this scan would take longer than the last which I found daunting as during my previous MRI I found it extremely difficult to stay still for the entirety of the scan. I found it true of this scan too, and in fact I was so aware of my body and trying not to move that I was in some considerable pain afterwards. After the scan I also had a headache due to the noise that was produced during the scan – the noise a combination of extremely loud knocking and banging as well as the occasional ringing sounds.
Now, it is just the waiting game until I once again have to visit the neurologist and find out the results of the scan and the other tests that I have been subjected to during the past few months…
Would love to hear all of your MRI experiences? Good or bad? What techniques do use to get yourself through the experience? What techniques can we use to make the experience more ‘fun’ whilst the scan is in progress?
Please get in touch by commenting in the comment box below…