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Thread: MRI, positve experience despite nerves and sketchy info

  1. #1
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    MRI, positve experience despite nerves and sketchy info

    I was definitely an MRI scardy cat. I am claustrophic and then read of others' fears of metal being pulled out, or heating up and so on.

    I did the humane thing for myself and others, and pre-visited the imaging center where I got to talk to a technician. Harrington Rods made of stainless steel are a non-issue as it is non-ferrous (no iron). I was told they do the MRIs all the time and have never had a problem.

    I also learned my legs would be out of the "tomb" and it's not a tomb... it's not dark in there, it's quite light and white. Also standing in front of it you can see end to end.

    I was still nervous though for the week proceeding the appointment. The pre-visit helped because I knew where to go, had my questions answered. On the other hand I was so nervous, during the pre-visit, I finally grabbed onto the age of the desk to hide it more. Didn't work, "You're very nervous right now aren't you."

    My doc gave me three Valiums. Call me silly but I had never taken a Valium before and while I tried to find out what they might be like... a GOOD drug right? I am 5'4" and about 120 lbs right now. I took one, I took the second... nothing.... and I still had some nervousness. I took the third, still didn't really notice anything except well, I was ready to go and face it.

    I was actually fairly calm, not dopey, not drowsey, none of it. I was alert and thinking and I did get a worry now and then, but I didn't "go there."

    The sounds didn't bother me. If you've seen sci-fi movies, the sounds are well... repetitive. They also call in, okay, next one is 6 mins. They began at 45 seconds. Then 10, then 2, or 4 ... The whole MRI is white. Yes, the first time I saw the top of the MRI from inside, it was a tad startling. I just shut my eyes. Later the top became a friend. Nice, white, with lighting on the sides.
    Last edited by ck43; 10-22-2006 at 06:44 PM.

  2. #2
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    Grand Rapids, MI
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    So glad to hear that things went well for you

    Hi CK43,

    Glad to hear that the preparation helped and you were able to have the MRI without much problem. MRI's can be an unnerving experience even for us without claustrophobic issues. I have steel rods and wondered about the heating up thing, also.

    That's great that the dr. was thoughtful enough to give you some valium and that it did help without being too groggy for the test. Can't remember what you were having the test for, but hope that the results are helpful


    Deb
    age 47
    posterior surgery 7/24/06
    for s curve T70,L76
    30 degrees correction
    DON'T WAIT TO GET STRAIGHT!!!

  3. #3
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    Dec 2005
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    new jersey
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    I will always remember my long MRI!!! I thought I'd be in there for an hour but it was way over that! I was sweating & ready to scream at the end...they had to do several images over again & that's what took so long....
    I put my blindfold on immediately on entering the room & that's the only thing that saved me.... did'nt see a thing...but man was I glad to get out of there at the end!!! Ly
    http://lynnebackattack.blogspot.com
    fused T-11 to L-5

  4. #4
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    I'm not claustrophobic but I can see how people would easily become cluastrophobic... those bores are so small! After having so many MRIs I can put myself in a trance and the time passes by pretty quick. I do hate it when the techs don't let me know how long each sequence will be. I wish I could combine the MRI tech's I like from one radiology group with the radiologists from the current one I goto. hehe.

    I need to have another scan but my lovely insurance company is not giving me the pre-auth I need to get the scan covered.

    So far I've been lucky and was able to divide my full-spine MRI scans over two days instead of all in one... I dread the next round which will probably be the entire spine in one day. I imagine it'd take two hours at least.. bah. Hmm.. too bad all my doctors know MRIs don't freak me out, I lost my chance on getting some happy meds j/k.
    30 something y.o.

    2003 - T45, L???
    2005 - T50, L31
    bunch of measurements between...

    2011 - T60, L32
    2013 - T68, L?

    Posterior Fusion Sept 2014 -- T3 - L3
    Post - op curve ~35



  5. #5
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    Phoenix, Arizona
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    Why did your MRI take so long? I am not blaming you, just trying to understand. Part of my calmness was the knowledge that hey, remain calm, it will be over faster.

    I refused the white soft covering for my eyes. One I saw it wasn't going to feel like being underground I wanted my eyes open, though I closed them from time to time, but opened them out of boredom, curiosity or whatever. I found the ability to see reassuring while I realize others may not have. Personal choice.

    I also refused a pillow or cushion for under my knees. I said freer the better, thanks.

    I am VERY glad that I looked into the radiologist's eyes and exchanged a few words, such as "It's not black! It's white!" and he exchanged a few words, "Have you ever had an MRI before?" No, what was your name again? Ah, Mike, I have a brother named, Mike. So when Mike piped in his voice, "Next one is 6 and a 1/2 minutes," I knew his voice, thought he "cared" and said "Thanks" and "Thank you." He was being professional but also polite. Sure I can do 6 minutes.

    I am sorry your experience was so long to you .... didn't your doctor ask if you were claustrophic? Mine did. I didn't even want the Valium because I was scared of that too, then asked if I could have the option.

    Other doctors offer Atevin. I was asked when I checked in for the MRI, did you take your Atevin?

    Those must be the ones who get drowsey or go to sleep, you think? Honestly I didn't "sense" the Valium, but I didn't freak out so something must have worked.

    And yes, it was humane of my doctor, a Physician's Assistant actually, who also helps the Ortho-surgeon in surgery, to order Valium. Valium is "extra" great becuase you don't have to eat anything, nor fear throwing up. ohmygosh what if I am stuck in there and have to throw up???? oh me oh my, lions and tiger and bears

    Believe me, I had had all kinds of fears.... walking out for the appointment my husband and I quipped, that maybe I got placebos. I laughed back, maybe so but for now I am going to believe the pharmacist got it right and this is just Valium. Not a whoopi drug.

    Was it shakiness that caused you to have to redo parts? I'z a shakey girl. I have to limit my coffee, but with the Valium, and a little conversation with "Mike" I was fine. I did have a few worries like oh no, I feel like I am going to cough, will they have to redo this one? I quickly tried to direct my mind to other things, like wow producers of sci-fi movies must surely have heard an MRI. Whomp, whomp, whomp, and meanwhile "someone" hammering nails consecutively. Images of four by four wood, nice smelling, and sci-fi, picturing the Star Trek Enterprise, and Scotty working at the core.

    Okay, MRI was for C5-C6 (that's the neck all) for degenerated disc and narrowing yada, discovered by "me" who experienced all the pain (initially neck, trapezius, deltoids) then settling into a fine fine area of my shoulder, concentrated. It's been going on for .. by george I do believe this marks day 50.

    The last couple of days have been really good though, good as defined by nothing signicifant.

    Alright alright, I will admit to one last detail. The bed is a sweet cotton (one thinks but it could be so) and at the top, just for me I think, a cradle for my neck. Actually it was quite comfortable. They tucked some pads on either side. I knew this was to keep my neck in one place. No panic. AHA! But then, kiddies, you'all remember your Milwaukee Brace nighttime attachment? Take out screws, remove throat place (choker), twist off, bring on the frankenstein head gear so you don't move your head or neck around alot at night. Do you remember it? Sort of a half halo?

    Okay, I was fine at MRI, then Mike attached a "square" white peice of place and secures it down around my head. I quipped (but was serious but trying to be humorous but also trying to let him know, "Oh, I'm not claustrophic, not me!" I knew it for what it was, fear of the "past" and not of the present. I was in good hands right?

    Dear Scoli community, I hope the days of embarrassing, unthoughtful treatment and mannerisms is over for us. What did I learn out of this? Seek a professional, ASK questions, pre-visit if necessary, express fear.

    We're not 13 anymore wondering, well, yeah I got some pain but should I complain or not complain. IS it complaining? MRI? Hey, I feel fear, or anxiety... well I have heard of others getting Valium...

    I am not hawking drugs here just saying, demand or ask for a little more and don't be afraird to "bother" anyone with questions or fear. We're all troopers here. What scoli kid isn't or wasn't? Even if you don't take the Valium it's there just in case. I saw it sitting on the prescription for the MRI for a week and I've got to say, the "thought" of it was helpful.

    I am so sorry you had the experience I had the nightmare of having. oc, anything to do with scoliosis is one of my bete noires.

    Okay, 43, at 13, traction, one day (left alone without explanation of what was really happening at 13, pain pain, scared, etc., can't move, no one around, no call buttons.)

    Oh yes, I have had some history, but gone be those days. Us "kids" are talking up. Milwaukee brace, two of them. I was allergic to the first one.... should I complain or be a trooper, gee whats all that water in my t-shirt under my brace... ? Next one was leather. Surgery at 15, Harrington Rods, upper curve upper 50s, lower ... hooks, no screws, fusion using chips off my pelvic bone -- good fusion. Do they still do this kind of fusion?

    Why am I here? Surgery was mentioned as option, a fusion. MRI should show what's really going to help, in the long run. "They" said it had nothing to do with scoliosis but I think we veterans... well anything to do with the spine, I don't mess with amateurs, and I was dealing with an amateur in the midst of all my pain, "Oh probably old age, have a happy life, just don't over do, sorry the Naproxen isn't working." Nothing was working, just constant standing up movement, or sleep. I am lucky. I am not complaining, but I am going to ask again because I was/am a scoli girl, "You sure this has nothing to do with scoliosis?"

    Ok, one last. So the "have a happy life" office, calls me, finally: a real amateur... "Right should is fine but you have cohliosis." What? Why don't you spell it. S-C-O...

    Scoliosis. They couldn't tell that from the x-ray? Please understand I had had the run around with this office, and as well, in Arizona, there is I think a disturbing trend of getting information from you doctor's office via an electronic voice. "Your-doctor-has-a message for-you. Please dial..."

    I am sorry to be passionate but I am a big girl now, educated, and I can ask questions, and I can also say, hey thanks alot, I got my diagnosis on a Saturday morning, and if I didn't have research skills I wouldn't have even understood it. My new doctor or PA offered Valium? You bet he did, the shakiness in just hearing, "I need an MRI...." Afterall, he needs a clear image and me shaky wasn't going to do it. Otherwise it was humane. Ask for it. Talk to professionals instead of just asking here, at NSF, compare notes, pre-visit, whatever you have to do.

    I even went to the bathroom before the MRI, just to make sure or to eliminate any fear ... I did what I could to eliminate my fears.

    To the person whose MRI took an hour and it was nightmare.... didn't they wheel you out, tell you what they needed from you, what the delay was and offer you sedation? They have that too, directly at the facility. Didn't they talk to you? Know what was going on? If they didn't, it's okay, girl. I have seen bad medical practices too.

    btw, David Brashears, world class mountain climber, ala Mt. Everest and others, was frightened of the MRI. They had to put him in twice, and then a doctor held his hand throughout. David was more at ease when he realized how to use the call button. While I appreciated this story, I then thought, I was going to have to figure out the call button. His MRI was in 1997, for the study of altitudes. In my case, it was comforting little black oblong shaped ball, I only had to squeeze. All I had to do was squeeze it.

    Sorry for so much passion and text but I can not stand to see anyone suffer and I can not stand it when I too, become some object that just goes along with what they say. I never asked for the Valium but I have a face read by all, and really what's the harm in a prescription for three Valium. It's not morphine, and from what I read (of course I read about it!) it's not physiologicaly but rather psychologically addictive. I can see why!

    We are not just patients, we are customers, yet even I am susceptible to being cowed by the medical community.
    Last edited by ck43; 10-22-2006 at 07:55 PM.

  6. #6
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    attn Green M&M

    Does a person have to be "freaked out" to have some humanity?

    You wrote you dread your long day MRI. Tell you doc. I dread it!

    Tell your doc, hey, other people get meds what do you think?

    So you know, my bottle of meds contained exactly 3 pills. There's no refill on it etc.

    I was sort of hoping Valium was the "happy" med I read about but on the other hand... I mean, when one is worried about things.... and one is somewhere confined for two hours of their life.... why not be "happy?"

    Gosh dang. Is scoli like women's problem, just about endurance? "Most women can tolerate the procedure...." Um. Thanks.

    Wow, I am thinking of this periodontal surgery I had to have and ... my blood pressure was noticeably high. What did I say? "It ain't going to get any better so...." Jiminee Christmas, you are going to cut the gums, roll them back, and the dentist office is one of the worst places for me in the first place.... It would have been a lot easier for everyone rather than the narcotics I got AFTER that I threw up anyway.

    You know what's weird though? The nurse at the ortho place, and the pharmacist said be sure you don't drive after taking the Valium. My husband knows me better than anyone and even he did not notice a change. He took me to lunch afterward since I didn't get a lollipop from anyone for being a good girl at the doctor's office.

    Just ask. Then you know you've done what was in your control. Mine were 5 mg tablets. Light.

  7. #7
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    east coast
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    I'm joking about getting sedatives.

    I only dread the 2+hr MRI scans because I'll get discomfort around my sacrum due to enlarged sacral nerve roots. And no, pain meds or sedatives won't help me in that case since the discomfort is due to compression... so as long as I have to lay on my back it'll annoy me a bit.

    For me, MRIs or any other scans for that matter is no different than getting a blood pressure taken. I don't see the scans as a stress factor, only the events leading up to it is. You gotta love trying to get those pre-auths... it frightens me the CS reps can barely pronounce medical terminology and they are part of the people responsible for giving the 'ok'
    Last edited by green m&m; 10-23-2006 at 06:18 PM.
    30 something y.o.

    2003 - T45, L???
    2005 - T50, L31
    bunch of measurements between...

    2011 - T60, L32
    2013 - T68, L?

    Posterior Fusion Sept 2014 -- T3 - L3
    Post - op curve ~35



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    269

    Prior Auths

    Getting prior auths is fun!!!!! I work for a physician as a referrals coordinator, so that is what I do all day long. Sometimes it can take awhile to get tests like MRI's approved, but from my experience it usually doesnt take too long. My suggestion is to be a squeaky wheel, call your MD's office, or the ins. company until you hear something definitave. They cant put it off forever.

    My last MRI was about 1.5 hours because they did it w and w/o contrast for my herniated disc. I think after that experience I will ask for something to relax me from now on. I have never had too much of a problem before with them, but this time I could not relax/get comfortable, and was in the worst pain ever. There was one point I wanted out, but the tech said that if we were to stop I would have to come back on a diff day and start all over. That sounded even WORSE!!!!!!! I have had too many MRI's to count (because I have had a knee injury as well as my scoli and had surgery to correct that), but hopefully I am done now!! I cant take them anymore, lol.

  9. #9
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    east coast
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    Quote Originally Posted by CurvySAT05
    Getting prior auths is fun!!!!! I work for a physician as a referrals coordinator, so that is what I do all day long. Sometimes it can take awhile to get tests like MRI's approved, but from my experience it usually doesnt take too long. My suggestion is to be a squeaky wheel, call your MD's office, or the ins. company until you hear something definitave. They cant put it off forever.
    Oh, that's the thing, I AM being squeaky. I've called my doctor's office, my insurance company and I've called CareCore. It seems that the initial request was denied and no appeal has been made since. But, the woman I speak to at my doctor's office keeps on claiming it's under a 'review'.
    30 something y.o.

    2003 - T45, L???
    2005 - T50, L31
    bunch of measurements between...

    2011 - T60, L32
    2013 - T68, L?

    Posterior Fusion Sept 2014 -- T3 - L3
    Post - op curve ~35



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