A while ago I wrote an update regarding the whole rheumatoid arthritis situation and mentioned that my rheumatologist wanted me to get some MRI scans done of my feet and hands (where most of my pain and jointinflammation is) to get a better idea of what was really happening in there. My X-rays always come back “clean” (as in, no joint damage) but clearly something is going on so we are hoping that a deeper look via MRI scans would do the trick.
My appointments were originally scheduled for the end of December (yeeeeeey free health care!), however I was lucky enough to get some last minute cancellation spots this past Thursday at St. Michael’s so away I went. I won’t lie to you, I was pretty nervous. I was originally supposed to go for one 90 minute appointment and then come back a few hours later for another 30 minute one. When my rheumatologist gave me the referal, when I originally received my appointment times, and when the receptionist called to ask about the possibility of me coming in on Thursday I was asked “are you claustorphobic?” to which I always, albeit with diminishing certainty, replied “no”. However, mere hours away from my appointment I started to freak out and so I did the most ridiculous thing you could do in this situation, I consulted the internet.
Although I was innocently looking for tips about the process, and first-hand reassuring stories that the MRI process is a piece of cake, I instead found message board after message board of posts along the lines of “HELP! I tried doing an MRI, had to hit the panic button and have not been the same ever since…” or “An MRI machine killed my family…” … you know how it goes. So, as shakey as ever, I left work and made my way to the hospital.
Upon arrival I got lost in some sketchy basements for about 30 minutes (that is why you should always try to arrive early) I found the MRI department and checked in. I suppose I expected a bit more hand-holding but it was all business…put on some gowns and hang out in the waiting room. I asked the receptionist if he thought I would be there for the full 90 minutes and all he said was “just try to hold still…that will cut down the time”. Eeep.
After waiting for a few minutes, I was up. I folowed the technician behind some scary looking doors with some scary looking warning signs and enetered one of the rooms with the “beast”. This is the actual model the hospital had…heh…Philips…
But you have to picture it in the middle of a cold and somewhat dimly lit room. Kind of intimidating. My feet were first, one a time, starting with my right. I lay on my back, my foot went into a crazy contraption, got weighted down so I could not move it and in I went. For the feet I was only in the machine from my feet to about chest level but it was still a very unsettling experience. 30 minutes later, the other foot. 30 minutes after that I layed on my stomach, with my hand extended in front and went head first into the machine. I am extremely grateful that they did my feet first because it let me get used to the whole idea of not moving while all this craziness was going on around me for 30 minutes at a time. Actually, by the time we did my second foot I was able to block out the noise (although the ear plugs they provide helped!) and kind of fall in and out of a light sleep. By the time we did my hands (they snuck my second hand in to the appointment so that I did not have to come back later that night) I was pretty comfy and did not mind the process at all. My body got kind of cramped up from not being able to move but really, not that bad overall. And now I wait for a few weeks for results. Cross your fingers ya’ll!
Things I learned from my MRI experience:
- Those machines be loud man! Very very loud! Sound like lasers, machine guns, etc…depending on the stage of the process.
- MRI machines do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT give you superhuman strength. I was kind of hoping for a Magneto type of superpower. Nope.