I did it! I survived an MRI. I didn’t even take the Ativan that Dr. D. had prescribed me when I told him how claustrophobic I am. I feel like I can do anything right now! I was beyond afraid to have this test, and last night I could not sleep at all. It’s not so much claustrophobia as it is being stuck in a place where I can’t escape. I guess that’s more so agoraphobia. I was so afraid that I’d have a full blown panic attack. But I didn’t! Months of meditation have surely paid off.
My appointment was early so I stayed downtown to avoid rush hour traffic. I headed over to St. Paul’s Hospital at about 6:30 am and waited for the Radiology department to open, again, pacing up and down the halls. Once you’re registered, they tell you to put on two hospital gowns, and when you’re really nervous it’s so hard to understand any kind of instruction. I had to ask them to repeat it, “So the first gown goes on which way again?” Then I proceeded to forget once I got in the change room. Anxious brains are dumb brains. So I waited in the hallway for awhile until I was called into the MRI room. This really was my worst nightmare, agoraphobia speaking. I laid down on the MRI table and was strapped to the table. Then a vest/camera was strapped to my chest, next came my headphones with my chosen music- Bob Marley- and nice blanket on top to keep me warm. I was so strapped down, head to toe that I could not move a muscle, which obviously is the point. I told the MRI tech that I was nervous, so she put a wash cloth over my eyes and told me not to open my eyes during the procedure- definitely try this if you’re scared of having an MRI! Then they rolled me in, holding onto my panic button for dear life. One thing that I didn’t expect is how noisy is it- constant clicking and odd sounds. Some people say it sounds like dubstep. It actually does have a cool beat to it.
Anyway, my tips for getting through it are first to focus on your breathing, which is pretty easy to do seeing as the whole hour is spent doing series of inhales and exhales. I can still hear the radiologist in my head, “Breathe in, hold your breath.” Haha. The physical act of controlling your breathing will calm you down. Next, don’t open your eyes even if you’re really tempted! Lastly, what really helped is imagining somewhere where you feel perfectly safe. Really visualize it- this helped me a lot. And of course, you do get to choose music. Unfortunately, they were having technical difficulties, so for the first half hour I didn’t get to listen to any music. Luckily, they did fix the problem, and for the last half hour of the test Bob Marley started playing and told me that everything little thing is gonna be alright.
So, now I’m back to waiting for the results and a follow up appointment with my cardiologist.