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MRI scan worries

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by lucyrose50, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    I had to have a pelvic MRI scan yesterday to investigate some problems I'm having with uterine fibroids. I'd never had an MRI before so I read some
    stuff about it and looked at some pictures of the machines so I knew
    what to expect, and although I know some people have a problem with
    being enclosed in the machine, I didn't think it'd really bother me and I
    was completely fine when I went in. But guess what? Turns out I'm
    substantially more claustrophobic than I thought - who knew?! Does anyone have any advice about how to cope with it if I have to have another MRI scan?

    Since they were only doing a pelvic scan I didn't think I'd have to be
    all the way in the machine, but I started off in about to my chin, and
    they kept scanning a bit (which sounds like someone drilling next to
    your head whilst sounding a car alarm in your ear) and then moving me a
    bit further in. There was only a couple of inches of space above my
    face, it was a lot more enclosed than I'd expected and dark in there,
    and I was basically strapped down with quite heavy things draped over everywhere apart from my pelvis (presumably to stop the waves going
    through the rest of my body?). I was trying not to breathe too deeply as
    they'd said I had to keep as still as possible, and lying on my back is
    the most uncomfortable position for me as the pain I have is worst in that position plus the vibrations from the
    machine were making it hurt as well. I held it together for about 20
    minutes, by which point I was in up to my forehead and thinking
    that I REALLY wanted it to be over soon, then they moved me a bit
    further in again and I lost it and pressed the button to call the
    radiologist. Although he came straight in and moved me partway out of
    the machine and said it'd only be another 5-10 minutes, I freaked at the
    thought of going back in the machine and we had to give up on it. I'm
    so annoyed with myself, because I think if I'd just stuck it out and not
    got them to stop I'd have probably managed to make it to the end of the
    procedure, but once we'd stopped I just couldn't face being put back in
    the machine again. I'm generally a pretty calm, non-neurotic person, I
    don't usually freak out at anything much and I've never really had an
    issue with claustrophobia before, but I was a shaking, snivelling mess
    by the time we gave up on it!

    They got some of the stuff they needed but hadn't done
    the most important part of the scan yet, which means my surgeon won't have all of the information he needs to be able to decide the best course of treatment for me. I'm dreading the thought of having to have
    another MRI scan to get the missing information, the radiologist was very reassuring and said that lots
    of people take one look at the machine and can't go through with it so some people need to either be
    sedated or put under general anaesthetic, but he said there's a
    really long wait for that. I've already spent the last 7 months waiting for appointments for scans and being passed from one person to another and it was already looking like I wouldn't get to the stage where I was getting any treatment until after the summer, so if I have to go on another long waiting list for a second MRI then it's going to make the wait even longer. Really frustrated and annoyed with myself, stupid
    human self-preservation instincts about not being in enclosed spaces!
    Does anyone have any positive advice that might help me?
  2. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    I've had several MRI scans, the last one was last year when they did one of my head to find the cause of the Trigeminal Neuralgia.
    All I can do is say that it won't hurt and there's nothing to be afraid of, but that's probably not enough. I wish I could help, but all I can suggest is maybe listening to some music before you go in. Can't rememnber if you can have music on in there, Maybe ask.
  3. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    I was inside an MRI tube for nearly an hour recently. Their headphones played almost audible music of your choice, but best of all if you are claustrophobic, I'm not, thankfully, you can have a frame thing with mirrors over your head with which to see the great outside. I was in so long I fell asleep!
  4. rouseau22

    rouseau22 New commenter

    Im having my first one tomorrow for a pinched/trapped nerve. Apparently - from what ive heard- if you are very very nervous you can arrange to be sedated a bit before hand. Though you might need someone to drive you home. Call them and ask about it xx
  5. I recently had 2 MRI scans on my head and found it fine - I had one of these frame things over my face and basically kept my eyes closed the whole time. If it hadn't been so noisy it would have almost been relaxing! Can you ask for something like this? And the music helped too.
  6. Tigger1962

    Tigger1962 New commenter

    Is there any option in your area for getting an "open MRI" scan? - you don't do in a tube for this type - it is more akin to lying under a giant sunbed
  7. Twinkles

    Twinkles New commenter

    I'm sending you a virtual hug, Lucy! ((()))
    I had a pelvic MRI on Christmas Eve 2010 and I chickened out as soon as they got me into the bl**dy thing! I insisted on my husband coming in and holding my hand so we could get it done and they agreed. He had to wear ear defenders and I had headphones with awful Christmas music, so we couldn't communicate and he had to stand up for the whole time (around 45 minutes) but I couldn't have done it without him holding my hand and stroking my arm. I wished they would talk to me through the headphones but they didn't, apart from telling me when we got to the end! There was a horrid bit when they suddenly appeared and got me out and I thought it was over, but they just wanted to inject something into my arm so they could see better.
    I take diazepam for trips to the dentist (don't get me started on dental phobia!) and I would definitely advise you to get some from your GP if you have to have another scan - and insist on your boyfriend being in the room with you (unless he has a pacemaker, or something, of course)
    Good luck with everything [​IMG]

  8. They gave me a chair when I was with my dad, but yes horrible ear defenders.
  9. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    The reason for not having a chair is that nothing metal can go into the room because of the powerful magnet. I have seen training film of chairs flying through the air and getting stuck to the machine, potentially seriously injuring anyone in its way. The scanner would then have to be switched off to remove it causing hundreds of pounds and delaying people appointments. A completely plastic chair would probably be OK, my husband can't even wear a watch to work.
  10. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    I know all about the no metal rule - I had to take all of my piercings out before I went and I had a hell of a time getting them all back in again when I got home! Still, better than them being forcibly removed by the giant magnet...
  11. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    Especially any (ahem) internal ones - that would really hurt!

  12. Roboteer

    Roboteer New commenter

    I've had qutie a lot of MRIs of my spine. For my early ones you didn't get music and the machines were even noisier than they are now (if you can imagine that!). Once I got to take a CD in with me to listen to - I usually went for something quite loud (I like metal) as it helps block out the hammering.
    For my first scan one of my parents sat at the head of the tunnel (behind my head) and could talk to me in between the noisy bits. When on work experience I went in the scanner with a 6 month old baby whose Mum was too nervous to do it. I lay on the bed behind her and kept her occupied to keep her still enough to get the scans. If you have to go again, definately insist you have someone in with you.
    I often used to just lie there with my eyes shut and the music on and I too have even fallen asleep during a scan. At one point of extreme boredom I started counting how many dots there were in a square centimetre of the plastic housing and then trying to estimate the total number on the interior!
  13. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    I wish I got bored in there...my brain was far too busy going "getmeoutgetmeoutgetmeout!" to be bored! That's partly the problem though, if I'd had something to occupy my brain then I probably wouldn't have been nearly as bothered about it. It's the fact that you're in there with nothing for your brain to do but get upset about it.
    Thanks again to everyone for the advice!
  14. I sign up to do studies and had to have a mri scan on my brain. I didnt think I was claustrophobic but its like going into a coffin from the bottom end. it was awful the machine is right round you closely and you really feel trapped even though you know no harm will come to you. I dont want to scare anyone but I freaked when they put my whole body into the machine and I had to ask to get out and had to stop.Traumatic and im not over exaggerating, get put to sleep first especially if you dont like small spaces which I though I did!! You cant explain the feeling unless you actually go in one yourself. I think it would be better if they blindfolded you first then you wouldnt feel so confined. The one I went in was much smaller then the ones you see on tv so there was no open space around you, but the whole body in a tunnel its like extreme pothole caving!!
  15. It is something you get used to.
    I've had a number of MRIs and am very claustrophobic but so long as I close my eyes and visualise being somewhere else I can cope now.
    The noises they make are something else though!
  16. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I knew I'd get into a state when I had mine done so I got the doctor to prescribe Lorazepam. It worked a treat at keeping me calm but when I came out of the hospital I felt so devil may care that I went and spent hundreds on new clothes.
  17. I'm impressed! [​IMG]
  18. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I was taken aback when I came round as I hate spending money on clothes in the normal run of things!
  19. I know what you mean. I'm not much of a shopper.
    Did you wear them though? Or did you end up with a whole load of stuff you really wouldn't buy?

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