MRI Update

Thank you to all who were praying for my MRI last night. I was really nervous about being shoved into the machine without an escape hatch but I did it.


I took my Xanax an hour before and was feeling pretty mellow by the time we got there. In fact, I was yawning through the intake paperwork and looking forward to a nap.

Until they told me I needed an IV. Then I woke up.

Apparently they need to use contrast dye so they can see all of my brain nerves and whatnot, which reminded me that they’re looking at MY BRAIN because I’m having a problem, and all sorts of things started running through my head. Oh God, please don’t find a tumor. Don’t let there be metal shavings behind my eyes for some reason and have my head explode. Don’t let the techs go home and forget me in the machine.

Fortunately, the first nurse I saw was Karen Zinnecker, who goes to church with me. If you are ever in the hospital, you want Karen Zinnecker at your side. Her whole aura is peace and tranquility. Even though she was with another patient, I felt better just having her in the room.

So I got undressed, got an IV stabbed into my arm, and head into the MRI room.

At this point, I wasn’t nervous at all. I looked inside the machine and was relieved to see that it had openings at both ends, was roomier than I expected and shorter, so my feet hung out. I was relieved. I can do this.

And the MRI guy (I’ll call him El, because those are the first two letters of his name but I can’t remember the rest) was so nice and patient, I wasn’t nervous at all.

I got up on the table, and they adjusted the knee pillows.

Then they put the Tweety bird cage on my head.

Wait, back up to the music. I brought two CDs to have them play, Daughtry and a new one from Paul Alan. To listen to music, they gave me these massive headphones and had me put my hair all up in a net bonnet to keep the headphones sanitary. They handed me a button to push if I needed anything and El said that if I needed to get out it would only take 6 seconds to get me out.

So half my head was clamped into huge headphones and my hair was bound up in a bonnet.

THEN they shoved Tweety’s cage over my head.

Talk about confining. I couldn’t have moved even if I wanted to.

The table moved me into the hatch. I had my eyes closed, but I could still tell when I was inside because the light went away and everything was dim.

That’s when I panicked. And opened my eyes.

I probably wasn’t even in the machine all the way before I was pressing the button to get OUT. OUT! NOW!

I started crying. El comforted me by telling me he couldn’t even stay in it the entire time when he had an MRI, and that 30% of patients can’t ever do it. He said we could try again, or I could reschedule and take more Xanax.

Then Karen came in and started hugging me and asked if she could pray for me. I said that would help and laughed, so she prayed. I have no idea what she said, but I know that after a few minutes I calmed down. I took out my contacts (which were now covered in mascara), told them to skip the headphones, popped in basic earplugs, and said I’d try again.

This time I knew what to expect when the light dimmed, so I just took a long deep breath. I knew that if I freaked El really would have me out in 6 seconds.

They put the music on loud in the room – we went with Paul Alan’s CD, El’s choice; I’m sure he regretted it because it’s overtly Christian – and for the next half hour I counted songs and did deep breathing. In … out … this song is over so that’s 3 minutes passed … in … out … another song, another 3 minutes …

With about 8 mins left to go they took me out to inject the dye and the MRI guy said that whatever zone I’d found to go back there for a few minutes, and that he couldn’t believe how great I was doing.

By then I had to pee so badly I didn’t know if I could hold it, and I was cold so I was shivering, so the last 8 mins were less calm. But I did it.


I felt a little bad for El, though. I kind of subjected him to not only open prayer but really overtly Christian music. When I went back in for the last 8 mins I told him to put on whatever he wanted, so he turned on the local FM rock station. But he was a good sport about it and I appreciate his patience with me.

Anyway, that’s the story of the MRI. Thanks for praying!

Part of me wished I’d taken more Xanax (which my doctor had suggested) but if I did I wouldn’t have had the chance to let God calm me down. Seriously, that’s a better feeling than being drugged.

I won’t know any results until I see the neurologist next week.


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