What the hell?
I calculate this is the 15th or 16th MRI I’ve had since 2002. I have had my entire spine done, my brain (repeatedly for monitoring MS), and my elbow. Today, I had a second MRI on my elbow to try to track how much progress I’ve made in PT over the past year. I couldn’t do it. I don’t know why. At first the tech set me up on my back, but this is tricky because the rest of your body has to squeeze onto the platform. When she slid me into the instrument, my other shoulder was crowded along the interior – this sent me into a panic attack. OK, so we try getting me set up on my stomach, which is how we did it last year. Take a minute, breathe deeply. OK, try again. She kept saying, “watch your head. Maybe you need to lower your head; I don’t want it to bump. We’ll slide you in and then see what happens.”
BOOM! Panic! Back out! Back out! I started crying. I was desperately wishing for a Klonopin, but I forgot to pack my bottle. (I’ve been trying to avoid taking them whenever possible.) I asked her to go get DH who was in the waiting room. He came back and calmed me down. She said he could stay in the room. I was able to get into the instrument (eyes closed) and get through the first scan. Then, DH, decides during the second scan that he will kindly count off the number of minutes remaining on my leg. It’s distracting and it tickles. I tried to kick him to get him to stop, but he took this as a sign that I was OK. It’s really difficult to communicate in a room containing an active MRI.
In between the second and third scan, I threatened him. This stopped the tickling but then my nose started to itch. When I mentioned the itchy nose, the tech asked if I could reach to scratch it. I didn’t dare do that. First, those instruments don’t have a lot of room. Second, I was afraid if I opened my eyes, I would panic again. At some point during my third scan, I began to think about my impending gallbladder surgery, and that started to freak me out. So, I backed off from that idea and instead counted the number of MRI’s I have had in my life.
My husband thinks my panic attack is a result of all the stress I’ve been under. How does a person suddenly become claustrophobic? Or is it just that I can’t handle all this medical crap that’s been heaped upon me?
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