5 Things to Do Before Going for MRI

MRI, short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging is not new to me because I work in the healthcare industry. The surgeons I work with often refer our patients for MRI to get detailed images of specific body parts they wanted to examine further. Before sending the patients off for their MRI appointments, the referring surgeon always ask whether they are claustrophobic because most claustrophobic people cannot stand lying inside a tube for half an hour or more.

Some of our extremely claustrophobic patients opt to be sedated when they do the MRI. I used to think it was a waste of money, until I myself was asked to do an MRI to confirm whether the growing lump on my left shoulder is a lipoma. The experience was completely new to me. Although I was already quite hesitant to do it, I never really prepared myself for the worst. I am not trying to scare anyone here, we all learn from first hand experience. Please allow me to share with you five things I should have done before going for the MRI. I highly recommend that you try doing it too if you have an appointment made for MRI:

1) Prepare yourself (you are familiar with psychology, right?) to go in a war zone or in a construction site sans the need to wear a bullet proof jacket or a safety helmet.

So, I was told it's going to be very noisy as the radiologist's assistant handed me the earpiece playing Let it go, let it gooooooo... I kind of expected some noise similar to a screaming boy throwing a tantrum (is it too obvious I am a mom to a toddler?) but boy oh boy was I so wrong!

After enjoying Frozen's official soundtrack in the initial stage, there came the unexpected ratatat ratatatatat sound  like I am inside a cinema watching an action movie with the main character trying his utmost to shoot the villain with his son of a gun. The loud gun firing sound instantaneously drowned the song playing in my earpiece.

As if that wasn't enough to scare the hell out of my soul, there came the drilling sound. The kind of sound you only hear in construction sites with endless drilling and hammering all over the place. Goodness gracious me, I now wonder how I managed to stay put for half an hour in that tube yesterday with all those eardrum breaking sound!

2) Request for an ear plug or opt to bring your own.

This is very self explanatory so I need not elaborate anymore as it is 100% related to #1.

3) Practice at home not to move for half an hour.

I am not really the type of person who is kitikiti (moves nonstop like a mosquito larva) but I cannot stand staying put in one position for very long, say maybe 5 minutes or even less? When you do MRI, you are NOT allowed to move for 30 to 45 minutes. If you do, you will be damned! Ok, that sounds too scary but what I meant is, you may need to repeat the whole process if you happen to move during the scan.

"Breath normally because breathing hard can cause movement", the radiologist's assitant warned me. But the moment she pushed the button and let me go inside the tube, I started breathing harder than usual because I feel like I couldn't breathe. Good thing only half of my body was inside the tube and it isn't too dark. I am not claustrophobic at all but I never expected myself to panic once I was inside the tube!

So the question is, did I manage not to move for half an hour? The answer of course is a resounding NO. Good thing they placed something heavy in my left arm so that I won't be able to move it. The only part of my body I dare allowed to move is my fingers, because I started to feel really numb towards the end of the scan.

4) Memorize a relaxing song or a poem.

Why? Because you need something to mumble to yourself to help you relax during the entire process. As for me, I lasted the half-hour torture because I kept mumbling to myself, hang in there, it will be over before you know it (repeat gazillion times). So I thought, giving life to a nice song lyrics or reciting a poem like a true blooded poet would have been better than desperately convincing myself to hang in there repeatedly. LOL.

5) Prepare extra money.

Of course, you need  money to settle your MRI bill but what I really want to convey here is prepare extra money for shopping. Why? Because after the scan, you very well deserve a shopping therapy. LOL. Kidding aside, it worked for me. I went for a quick shopping therapy after my scan before heading home and I went home not feeling tortured.

I hope you learned something from my MRI experience, and I really hope I didn't scare anyone. This post is more of a warning, no other intentions intended. It is best to consult your doctor if you have any medical related concern before going for MRI scan. :)

*Photo credit: medicalnewstoday.com

1 comment:

  1. Love how you described what you felt. When you told me you were about to go in I thought you've been briefed thoroughly what to expect hahaha :) This is great to be read by people about to undergo the procedure. I don't think I could remain immobile for that long and tolerate the sound hahaha.