By the time this post appears, I am probably already stuffed in the tube for my annual MRI.  Nothing new really, I’ve only had 40 or more, I should be a professional by now.  But Today is a First for me.  I am going to attempt to go in without being drugged.  Lately, I have been pushing myself to do things outside my comfort zone, you know like dealing with FEELINGS and shit….. :(,  So I figured why the hell not….?

Tonight (well now last night) Thing two looked at the dry erase board with all of our schedules on it.  She saw that I was scheduled for an MRI at 10 AM Friday, and asked who was taking me.  Like a proud 4 year old that learned to tie their shoes, I replied, “I’m going by myself.”….. The NEIGHBORS could hear her laughing……smh heh Thanks for the support kid!

I guess I should start at the beginning and maybe share some of my MRI tragedies with you.  The very first time I went in for an MRI was 20 years ago, when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  I had never even heard of such a thing.  The doctor explained,  “it’s just a glorified xray machine, but it will take much better pictures”.  If she was still in practice I would find her and let her know exactly how I feel about her bullshit explanation by placing my foot in her ass.   SMH….

So about 20 years ago, My sister in law and I show up at the hospital for my first MRI of my brain. I thought they were looking for a pinched nerve or something simple to explain the numbness in the left side of my body.

c spine coilI was 25 and had no idea that I was claustrophobic.  I laid down on the table and they put something that is called a coil around my head.

Coil my ass!  This thing felt like a vice and I couldn’t breathe!

While they were trying to calm me down, the doctor called down to say that she wanted a cervical spine and thoracic MRI as well with GAD otherwise known as Gadolinium for contrast.  This meant another coil and two more hours to the one I was already committed for.  The second coil looks like this.

head neck

Oh fuck no!  Although the coil is very lightweight, it felt like 100 lbs on my chest.  I started panicking  and hyperventilating before they even put me in the tube!!!!

Hey guess what…. I’m claustrophobic as fuck!!!!!!

They called the doctor back and told her I was being ‘uncooperative’, could they give me something to relax me?  After all these years, I still can’t believe I was the first person to ever freak out about being put in a tube, in fact I am positive that I wasn’t.  Seriously though, no warning!!!!

I don’t know what they gave me to sedate me, but I kind of remember climbing back onto the table, being “strapped down”, given a little “panic bulb” and being  pushed inside the machine.  I must have fallen asleep.  When I woke up, still inside the machine, I tried to squeeze the little panic bulb, but I had dropped in in my sleep.

I started yelling, and kicking the machine from the inside.  No one was coming!!!!!  My sister in law could here me yelling in the waiting room and came busting through the door yelling, “can’t you hear her in there, get her out!!!!”…. That is the LAST time I ever let anyone put me in an MRI machine without being drugged to some degree.

In fact this is the perfect time to share another MRI mishap.  It was 5 years and several MRI’s after that first bad experience.  This time I was going to be smart though…or so I thought…. I had scheduled the MRI for 6 am on Black Friday.  My thoughts were, that I would stay up the entire night before shopping and I would be so exhausted that I wouldn’t need as many drugs to go in the tube.  Sounds like a good plan right?

We went to Thanksgiving at my parents, did black Friday shopping, but I couldn’t stay awake.  The last time I looked at the clock it was 2 am Friday morning.  The next time I looked at the clock it was 11:30 am.  I started yelling at my husband, why didn’t you wake me?  I had to be at the hospital by 6 am!!!!  When I stopped yelling, he said, “Grace, you were at the hospital and you had your MRI, Honey it’s 11:30 on Saturday!”

NO fricking way!!!!!

My stomach was growling so loudly, so I went in the fridge to find something to eat.

veggie tray I found something like this with a section filled with turkey, another with sweet potatoes, and so on and so on.

When I finished stuffing my face, I told Ken that he his idea of filling the veggie tray with leftovers was brilliant.

He responded, “I didn’t do it, you did.”  “after we went for your mri, we stopped by your parents, you ate almost a full plate of deviled eggs, and filled this up with leftovers”

I have absolutely no recollection of anything after 2 am Friday morning.  Apparently, everything he said was true though.  Looking back, I Think I self medicated TOO much.  That’s the only explanation for it.

I really scared the shit out of myself with that one!

Since that time, I have learned better and SAFER coping mechanisms for being placed in the tube, but it has taken me years to work up to this.

  1.  I know how to disconnect the coil myself.
  2.  I only schedule one mri at a time.
  3. I do keep my eyes closed the entire time.
  4. I keep the music on very loudly in the headphones
  5. I “tie” the panic bulb around my hand
  6. I make the technician talk to me between each picture and tell me how long the next image will take.  (so I can break it down into 5 minute segments)
  7. and perhaps most importantly, I go to the same place with the same technicians each time, so I have developed a bit of trust for them.
  8. I know that if I can’t make it, I always have the option of LIMITED drugs

I hope to write tomorrow (later today) that it was a piece of cake.  I have to try!  MS is not going away, nor are the yearly MRI requirements to stay on Tysabri, so I might as well give it a shot.  If you are interested in learning more about my experiences, with Tysabri, please type tysabri in the search box, I think I have made several posts.

How do you deal with repeated MRI’s?  Any tips?


35 thoughts on “NOT THE TUBE!!!!

  1. I have had had about a half dozen, but I am not claustrophobic. I usually fall asleep and wake up when they start to pull me out for the brain cage. I know, I know. you hate me. Seriously, Grace, I do hope this time is different, but worry that you are a glutton for punishment.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. They don’t START you in the brain cage?!?! So I made it to the hospital, forgetting that they were upgrading to epic and had to wait forever ( ok 45 minutes) by which time I got myself all worked up….I took 1/2 of a xanax and did ok… to be honest, the worst part was when they pulled me out for GAD and had to access my port trying to hold perfectly still while they did all that was a little trying….. BUT YAH I survived!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I take a lorazapam 30 minutes before my MRI. It relaxes me enough to deal with the enclosed feelings. While in the machine and music going – I take my mind to a favorite place – like the beach where I spend my time relaxing in the war sand. I rarely have the braces put on me – as they are mainly used to see specific areas that are hard to see if you move at all – thus the reason to lock you down. Then again I know you as the wild girl and I would probably tie you to the table to keep you there. lol

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good luck lady . Being a fellow claustrophobia suffer I can relate. Let us know how it goes. My system is to have one of the boys come with. They have strict instruction to hold my foot. If I wiggle my foot they are to pull me out if he machine by my feet. Hadn’t had to do it yet. Just feeling someone holding my foot calms me.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Yep. Nope. Valium, please. I have cried, screamed, yelled, and now know the complete horror of being claustrophobic. My sister told me since ‘that’ babysitter locked me in a closet I’ve been terrified of tight spaces. I should find that lady and lock her in one! Can’t do it, won’t do it, I’m a wimp. Bring on the medications!!!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. It’s not funny, but my father had to be one of my drivers a few years ago, and he was a bit “put off” that I NEEDED a ride, until he had one the following year……needless to say I would have a ride anytime I wanted now…lol

        Liked by 4 people

  5. Here’s hoping this one goes well. I fell asleep during my MRI. Having the music turned way up helped, although I’m not sure “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” was the best choice for something where I was supposed to remain still. At least it wasn’t like the CT that always makes me feel like I’ve wet my pants.
    I hope it’s a gas, gas, gas.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Ugh. MRIs suck! I hope yours went alright today. I knew I was claustrophobic the first time and told my gp (aka moron). I assumed he called something in to the hospital, having no idea how it worked, so when I got there, there was nothing. Normally I’m not one to cause a scene but I flipped so loudly my husband came running down the hall. I had already waited 6 months for the bloody thing so I just wanted to get it done and get some answers. The technician was really sweet and let my husband sit at the end of the tube and keep his hands on my legs. I managed to stay calm and get it done, but I choose Ativan now. Strange thing was, when we went to leave the hospital, he went to open a door and before he touched it, a couple of inches away, the bar depressed by itself and the door opened. We figure he was magnetized from the machine! 🤣

    Best tips are keeping your eyes closed THE WHOLE TIME and the last time I tried counting backwards from 1000 which really helped to give me something to focus on. I think I got to 883 before I fell asleep. 😊

    Hope your results are good too! 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes I kept them closed from the moment I laid down today! I am a “frequent flyer” in the mri department and they know my by name and face, they both knew I was “undrugged” today, and talked to me the whole time….5 minutes for this one, 2 minutes for the next….You’re doing great etc…. I asked them to wait before they pulled me out today, and I took the rag off my eyes and was able to “look around” a bit (30 seconds) before I asked them to pull me out…baby steps!…. That’s funny as hell about the door opening by itself….lol ty for sharing!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am also claustrophobic and my last MRI was two weeks ago at a new imaging center with a state of the art “open” MRI machine. It was only 4 feet long and i went in feet first. The tube was not real close to my face and i could see out into the room. The MRI was only on my back, so I’m not sure how it would be for a neck or head area.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t have a problem when I went in feet first (but I was prepared), the brain ones with the coil still make me feel like my head is in a vice. My doctor is still of the opinion that the closed mri’s give better pictures, and he prefers even the same machine to catch any sign on PML immediately. Maybe he secretly doesn’t like me? j/k… hope your test gave you some answers!


  8. I haven’t had the pleasure yet, but it sounds fun! I’ve gotten real good at sleeping through … well … just about anything. I’ve even had the dentist nudge me awake a couple of times. Inside the tube it sounds like there’s nothing to do but sleep! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. remember your post about not being able to drink coffee?….that is what I equate being stuffed in and having to lie still to…. I have fallen asleep at the dentist myself too though.


  9. MRIs are the devil himself. I hate them and we have the donut version here and I still hate them!😁 I had memorized a yoga CD I used to do at home nightly pre-illness and I went through it in my head a couple times just pretending I was doing it while in the machine. It worked! But I still hattttted it. They really need to up the MRI game, you know the whole man on the moon saying… And my son sat at the end with his hand on my foot and kept asking me if I was okay. Just knowing he was there helped too.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.