Monday, October 15, 2012

Because An MRI By Itself Isn't Freaky Enough

I have been getting migraines for the past year or so.  It started out that they would happen rarely, but when it regularly because a once or twice a week issue, I made an appointment with a neurologist to see if I can figure out what's going on, especially because so many in my family suffer from migraines.  The fact that I developed a funky shoulder on the same side as my migraines five or so months ago - around the same time the migraines because that much more common - was only added fodder.

The neurologist, not surprisingly, ordered MRIs on my brain and cervical spine to rule some things out before we move forward.  I wasn't thrilled by this, as I'm somewhat claustrophobic, but I'll do what I have to do to get answers.  In talking to others who have had MRIs, my fears weren't allayed.

The actual MRI was not good.  The MRIs were back to back, so I was stuck in that little tube for a good long while.  I kept my eyes closed the entire time, so I didn't really know how small the space was, and I think that was a good idea.  But no one told me how the table shakes and horrible noises it makes - all sorts of different horrible noises.  And there is a halo they put over your neck that sort of straps you in.  And a helmet that goes over that.  And they screw the helmet tight so the earphones press into your head.

That was not pleasant.

But what made it worse was the release I'd signed prior to the MRI starting.  I don't remember the exact language, but essentially it said that if there are any fragments or shavings of metal in your eye at all that the MRI would make your eyes bleed that could lead to permanent damage and blindness.  If my eyes were to start bleeding, I released the hospital to do whatever care necessary.

Because apparently this happens a lot?

The entire time I was in the tube, all I could think about was whether I felt any unusual liquid in my eyes.  And whether maybe I picked up some metal fragment somewhere and rubbed my eye with it.  Or if this is an issue with our eyes, would it be with teeth, too?  I don't have any fillings, but I was born without one of my permanent teeth, so I have a fake one.  What if that one has metal in it?

I get the warnings that appear on medications of side effects that can freak people out.  But this release just has me all the more convinced that the MRI - for all it's diagnostic benefits - was invented by a sadistic freak.

Disc with MRI images


Tami October 15, 2012 at 7:26 PM  

I'm very claustrophobic too. I don't know how you did it. Can they give you anything as a relaxer? Or does that affect the MRI results?
Hope all is well with you.

Michelle October 16, 2012 at 9:35 AM  

Tami - That was the best part. After the MRI, multiple people asked if I had gotten a Valium. Before? No one mentioned this was an option. If only I'd known then :)

anymommy October 16, 2012 at 2:14 PM  

I'm feeling panicky reading this. Glad you made it through and I hope everything is okay.

Pat October 16, 2012 at 2:24 PM  

I realized why it is so unnerving to have one's eyes open during an MRI. It's because the inner surface of the tube is only about 4 or 5 inches from your eyes and so it causes your eyes to continually try to focus at that short distance, which is aggravating and stress/anxiety-producing. So I kept my eyes closed the whole time, too.

I agree with you about the noise. It sounded like a jack hammer (pneumatic drill) pounding away, even with the ear plugs and helmet. My husband had told me that it was a very loud, noisy procedure, so I was somewhat prepared for that.

I do hope the MRI will reveal the cause of your frequent migraines. I've never had a migraine, but I know several people who have them and it sounds horribly excruciating. Best wishes for a successful treatment for you.

Sandra October 16, 2012 at 2:25 PM  

I've had MRIs when I was much younger. I would have told you about the horrible noises, but I don't remember the eye thing!? It didn't bother me then, but it'd be a whole different story now. On the migraines--my DH has had them for years, and it got bad enough that he's on prophylaxis meds for it. It took a while to get used to the side effects, but now it works really well and is definitely worth taking. Keep us posted and let me know if you need any other info if I can offer them.

Tara R. October 17, 2012 at 9:46 AM  

This does not sound at all pleasant. I hope the results are helpful, and nothing serious.

Michelle October 17, 2012 at 8:21 PM  

Stacey - I can hear you hyperventilating all the way from Washington :)

Pat - That would probably do it. I didn't know how close the top was to me. For good reason. And loud and noisy doesn't do it justice. The variation and the types of noises just aren't normal.

Sandra - I'm wondering if the eye thing is relatively recent after tons of lawsuits. I'm hoping not to have to go to routine meds, but I can't sustain this way either.

Tara - It wasn't. And I sort of hope they find something. I haven't heard back yet, but....

kim/TheMakerMom October 25, 2012 at 3:56 AM  

I've had a couple due to my back, but my head was relatively free during those. I don't recall the bit about bleeding eyes, but like you, I kept my eyes closed so as not to realize how small the tube is.

When my son needed an MRI around age 7, we went to Children's where they not only explained the procedure first, but they let him have a good look at the machine and best of all, play a recording of the funky sounds he's be hearing. They should do that for adults.
So, you okay?

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