Today I had an MRI for the first time. It wasn't for anything scary (I hope) - just a peek at the elbow I injured last year. It's considerably less painful than it was at first, but recently it's developed some swelling and a lump near my bicep, so I figured it was time to seek a professional opinion.
Because it's me, I somehow failed to write down the name of the imaging center on the calendar entry for this morning. Fortunately, I had managed to register in my brain that it was within a couple blocks of my office, so I figured out which one it was (on the first try!) and made it there almost on time.
After filling out a smattering of paperwork and taking off my rings and necklace, I went back and put on a gown that covered my upper body. Then it was time to get propped into the MRI machine. The tech taped something that looked like a pair of Vitamin E capsules over the area of my arm where the little lump is. Then she had me lie on the table so she could tether me into the ideal position for the scan.
She told me that the whole process would take about 45 minutes, during which I was not to fidget, cough or clear my throat. The machine is loud, so she put headphones over my ears and then began to slide the table into the machine.
I don't think of myself as being claustrophobic, but there was something very oppressive about being inside the MRI. It was the open-sided kind, so at least I wasn't completely enclosed, but I quickly realized that keeping my eyes shut was going to be a good idea to keep my anxiety down.
Lying still for 45 minutes is no easy task, but I concentrated on my breathing and let the MRI noises form themselves into little songs in my head. I think I nodded off from time to time, but luckily I didn't twitch too much when I woke up. It seemed to take a long time, but the tech spoke to me from the next room from time to time and gave me updates about how long each imaging session was going to take and how many were left.
At the end, I was relieved when the table slid back out of the machine and I could finally move freely. My sore elbow was stiff from being restrained, but it shook out pretty quickly. I left the center with a CD of the scans, which of course I looked at immediately. It was full of pictures of...cross sections of my arm. Yeah, I don't know what I'm looking at there. That's my doctor's job.
So that was my adventure today. Have you had an MRI? What did you think of the experience?