So how bad is an MRI for a slightly claustrophobic person?

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Posted 11/14/2012 by scrappygirlnextdoor in NSBR Board
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scrappygirlnextdoor
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Posted: 11/14/2012 7:46:05 PM
Due to my recently discovered Degenerative Disc Disease, I have to have an MRI in the next week. I get kind of "wiggy" in small, tight spaces. I instantly asked my dr about the open MRI that you hear about on commercials, and he said they weren't as accurate and that I had to have the regular closed kind. So how small is the tube? They said it lasts 20-30 minutes. Kind of having a hard time breathing just thinking about it...!



bugluver
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Posted: 11/14/2012 7:58:02 PM
Usually they will have headphones and you can pick the music. I have a hard time but I make it thru. My good friend had to have vallium to relax her before she could do it. Good luck!

Katybee
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Posted: 11/14/2012 7:59:25 PM
I have an issue with them. Get a washcloth or something else to cover your eyes and pretend like you are at a spa. If you open your eyes (without them covered) you might freak out. Also...Valium (or something like it) is your friend. Ask your doctor for a prescription.



FromtheGong
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:01:41 PM
I struggled with this myself. Deep breathing and eyes screwed shut helped me. While I was offered a light seative I couldnt take it as I didnt have someone to drive me home after. Good luck with it.

revirdsuba
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:02:30 PM
I managed. Great advice about having something to cover the eyes...

WiiPii
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:04:16 PM
When I have it done they cover my face with a washcloth so that if I open my eyes I can't see how tight it is. Having something touching me like that is also strangely comforting even though I didn't see the point of it the first time I went. I was freaking out and they were so good at calming me down and talking me through it.


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Momof1sweet-lil-lad
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:08:45 PM
If you are worried, ask your doctor for something that will relax you.

I'm not the least bit claustrophobic & had to have an MRI on my brain almost 2 months ago. It was performed in an open air machine.

After a very short period of time, I could feel the panic building. That may have been because of my head being immobile and the contraption that they put over my face. Reminded me of a pitcher's mask.

Fortunatley, I was able to manage to make it clear through the MRI. But, it took every thing I had to keep myself calm.





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scrappyjennw
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:10:01 PM
I tried it the first time without a valium as my doctor forgot to fax over the prescription. They ended up having to pull me out in between scans. They did it in sections instead of continuously. The techs talked me through it as well as providing the cover for my eyes. Just be warned, it is LOUD in there, even with the headphones and music.

I have since had 5 more MRI's and have made sure to have the prescription in hand. Never again without a sedative. The sedative made a world of difference. In fact, I slept through the last one. Perfect!

I don't know what level to classify my claustrophobia though. Probably I'm a little worse than "mild". Good luck!


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myboysnme
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:12:17 PM
Many people are claustrophobic. They have pen MRI's so you can see if you are a candidate for it.

I find that keeping your eyes closed like you are sleeping or resting works great.


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babybeansmom

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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:18:44 PM
I struggled big time....because I didn't keep my eyes closed. And I'm not claustrophobic!!!

The tech was so great...she pulled me out, I calmed down, I covered my eyes, and the rhythm of the machine and the clanking almost put me to sleep once I went back in.

irishscrappermom8
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:19:30 PM
I have to have an MRI of my liver every year. I'm mildly claustrophobic and I have realized that each time I have an MRI I'm getting a bit more worked up about it. I can't wear headphones to listen to music because I have to listen for the cues to hold my breath.

My MRI takes about an hour. I think I'm going to have to ask for something for this next one. I'm already feeling a bit apprehensive about it and it's not due until January.





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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:26:58 PM
I am mildly claustrophobic too. I have had a couple of MRI's. The noise bothered me more than the lack of space. For the 2nd one I tried to think of "games" before the appt that would occupy my mind to make the time pass. For example, I went thru the alphabet and thought of names of people I know, then song titles. Sounds kind of stupid but it did help.


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obsidian
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:31:03 PM
It gets very boring in there. I discovered I was beginning to hate MRI's and I figured out it's not being enclosed as I can adjust. It's the mind numbing dullness of it all.

I used to bring tessellated fabric to put over my eyes. That way I had something to concentrate on.

Scrappinnut01
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:33:07 PM
I had to have two of them and they let my DH come in with me. He was able to hold my hand, although he had to really reach in and he was really uncomfortable, but he did it. When they moved the machine in too far for him, he kept his hand on my leg so I knew he was there. If he wasn't there, I would have totally freaked out. I can't take closed in spaces at all.

Angieh1996
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:33:20 PM
I'm severely claustrophobic and when I have a MRI for my bulging disks I have to have Valium. I also keep my eyes closed the entire time. If I open them I'm done and I'll freak out. Maybe ask your Dr. about a mild sedative. Good luck.


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ketsmom
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:33:52 PM
I've had several because of chronic headaches. I never thought I was claustrophobic till I had the first one. I think they are better now than when I had the first one 25 years ago but still, it's pretty restrictive. I didn't take the sedative the first Time they offered it and had to have the test rescheduled because I couldn't finish . The next time I took the Xanax but it wasn't strong enough and I still panicked. The last one I had they gave me IV Valium which helped a lot. I'm a psych nurse so am very familiar with relaxation techniques and guided imagery. I tried both. I listened to music too, still none worked. I'm an anxious mess I guess. I do think I'm an exception though as I know plenty of people who made it through without trouble.

ketsmom
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:34:54 PM
I've had several because of chronic headaches. I never thought I was claustrophobic till I had the first one. I think they are better now than when I had the first one 25 years ago but still, it's pretty restrictive. I didn't take the sedative the first Time they offered it and had to have the test rescheduled because I couldn't finish . The next time I took the Xanax but it wasn't strong enough and I still panicked. The last one I had they gave me IV Valium which helped a lot. I'm a psych nurse so am very familiar with relaxation techniques and guided imagery. I tried both. I listened to music too, still none worked. I'm an anxious mess I guess. I do think I'm an exception though as I know plenty of people who made it through without trouble.

Basket1lady
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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:48:09 PM
I had one a few months ago to check my middle ear (I have vestibular hypo function). It was H.O.R.R.I.B.L.E. I had 2 Valium and it wasn't nearly enough. I'm mildly claustrophobic, but the movement of the scan made me want to vomit, and my head was strapped down in this cage thing. If I had vomited, it would have gone all over my face.

I practiced a lot of deep breathing and just gritted it out. I couldn't sleep because of the breath holding commands, and no music, either. But I had an urgent scan and the next available appt was in 5 weeks. I just had to get it done. I did it, but told my dr that for the next one, I wanted my Valium upped!


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Zella
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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:04:23 PM
Another vote for "get a prescription!"

The tube is very small. The surface sits less than a foot above your face, and you can't move at all, partly because of how narrow the tube is, partly because any movement messes up the images. Several people have mentioned the noise: it is intense. Not just loud, but repetitive. Like a pneumatic drill.

If your head is in the tube, there is normally a mirror angled so that you can see outside of the tube. There are headphones, and you can listen to music, but you will still hear the noise of the machine.

Having said that, you can deal with this. One thing I do is count the number of bangs noises between pauses, because then I have an idea how long the next "session" will last. Meditate. Go to your happy place in your mind. Think of this as a chance to have a rest.

I'm not claustrophobic at all, and I am the weirdo who almost fell asleep in one of my MRIs, lol!

Don't psych yourself out beforehand. Concentrate on your breathing (look up breathing exercises online if you don't know any). You can do this!


Trying to live each day for itself


Zella
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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:04:37 PM
Another vote for "get a prescription!"

The tube is very small. The surface sits less than a foot above your face, and you can't move at all, partly because of how narrow the tube is, partly because any movement messes up the images. Several people have mentioned the noise: it is intense. Not just loud, but repetitive. Like a pneumatic drill.

If your head is in the tube, there is normally a mirror angled so that you can see outside of the tube. There are headphones, and you can listen to music, but you will still hear the noise of the machine.

Having said that, you can deal with this. One thing I do is count the number of bangs noises between pauses, because then I have an idea how long the next "session" will last. Meditate. Go to your happy place in your mind. Think of this as a chance to have a rest.

I'm not claustrophobic at all, and I am the weirdo who almost fell asleep in one of my MRIs, lol!

Don't psych yourself out beforehand. Concentrate on your breathing (look up breathing exercises online if you don't know any). You can do this!


Trying to live each day for itself


iteach3rdgrade
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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:07:18 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:07:32 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:09:24 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:09:38 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:12:41 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:12:55 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:14:01 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:14:15 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

hollymolly
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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:14:28 PM
Having something over my eyes made the biggest difference for me. I just told myself that on the other side of the washcloth was blue sky, and I was ok. I am mildly claustrophobic, but the washcloth over the eyes was enough.

I didn't have a problem with boredom because I'm a really good daydreamer.

hollymolly
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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:14:42 PM
Having something over my eyes made the biggest difference for me. I just told myself that on the other side of the washcloth was blue sky, and I was ok. I am mildly claustrophobic, but the washcloth over the eyes was enough.

I didn't have a problem with boredom because I'm a really good daydreamer.

Zella
PeaFixture

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:15:08 PM
Another vote for "get a prescription!"

The tube is very small. The surface sits less than a foot above your face, and you can't move at all, partly because of how narrow the tube is, partly because any movement messes up the images. Several people have mentioned the noise: it is intense. Not just loud, but repetitive. Like a pneumatic drill.

If your head is in the tube, there is normally a mirror angled so that you can see outside of the tube. There are headphones, and you can listen to music, but you will still hear the noise of the machine.

Having said that, you can deal with this. One thing I do is count the number of bangs noises between pauses, because then I have an idea how long the next "session" will last. Meditate. Go to your happy place in your mind. Think of this as a chance to have a rest.

I'm not claustrophobic at all, and I am the weirdo who almost fell asleep in one of my MRIs, lol!

Don't psych yourself out beforehand. Concentrate on your breathing (look up breathing exercises online if you don't know any). You can do this!


Trying to live each day for itself


Zella
PeaFixture

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:15:22 PM
Another vote for "get a prescription!"

The tube is very small. The surface sits less than a foot above your face, and you can't move at all, partly because of how narrow the tube is, partly because any movement messes up the images. Several people have mentioned the noise: it is intense. Not just loud, but repetitive. Like a pneumatic drill.

If your head is in the tube, there is normally a mirror angled so that you can see outside of the tube. There are headphones, and you can listen to music, but you will still hear the noise of the machine.

Having said that, you can deal with this. One thing I do is count the number of bangs noises between pauses, because then I have an idea how long the next "session" will last. Meditate. Go to your happy place in your mind. Think of this as a chance to have a rest.

I'm not claustrophobic at all, and I am the weirdo who almost fell asleep in one of my MRIs, lol!

Don't psych yourself out beforehand. Concentrate on your breathing (look up breathing exercises online if you don't know any). You can do this!


Trying to live each day for itself


iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:15:48 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:16:02 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:17:26 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:17:40 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:20:51 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:21:04 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:22:58 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

iteach3rdgrade
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:23:11 PM
I've had two breast MRIs, so I was on my stomach. The first was difficult as I opted for face down. The lack of air movement got to me not to mention I wasn't positioned well and many body parts were falling asleep.

The second one was better. I was positioned better and turned my head to the side. It wasn't bad at all.

There is a lot more room if you aren't overweight.

moodyblue
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:50:02 PM
I am somewhat claustrophobic and had to have an MRI to confirm a herniated disc in my neck. My head was immobilized with the cage thing, which was not fun.

I will be the unusual one and say that they offered me the washcloth over my eyes and I immediately said "no!" I did not want a sheet or blanket over my legs either. Anything on top of me would have felt like I was more constrained and somehow weighted down, and that would have upped the stress.

I will say it was not easy, but I made it through - I took my own music and kept having them crank it up so I could really focus on that, I absolutely forced myself to keep my eyes closed, and in between scans the techs talked to me, which really helped. I didn't use the panic button, but I thought about it.

Make sure your eyes are closed BEFORE you go in, if you don't have your eyes covered. Make sure your arms are fairly comfortable before they start, because they won't want you to move at all.

I was not that bothered by the noise, but some people are.

moodyblue
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:50:15 PM
I am somewhat claustrophobic and had to have an MRI to confirm a herniated disc in my neck. My head was immobilized with the cage thing, which was not fun.

I will be the unusual one and say that they offered me the washcloth over my eyes and I immediately said "no!" I did not want a sheet or blanket over my legs either. Anything on top of me would have felt like I was more constrained and somehow weighted down, and that would have upped the stress.

I will say it was not easy, but I made it through - I took my own music and kept having them crank it up so I could really focus on that, I absolutely forced myself to keep my eyes closed, and in between scans the techs talked to me, which really helped. I didn't use the panic button, but I thought about it.

Make sure your eyes are closed BEFORE you go in, if you don't have your eyes covered. Make sure your arms are fairly comfortable before they start, because they won't want you to move at all.

I was not that bothered by the noise, but some people are.

Skybar
Perfect Peaing

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:56:34 PM
I had one decades ago and survived it. Then about 15 yrs ago I needed another one. They had to pull me out of it rather quickly.

I had to reschedule and my sister went with me and sat right by my head and talked to me the whole time. That's the only way I made it thru it. hopefully i'll never need another one.




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"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

Benjamin Franklin wrote his epitaph:

"THE BODY of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN - Printer. Like the cover of an old book, Its contents torn out, And stripped of its lettering and gilding, Lies here, food for worms; Yet the work itself shall not be lost, For it will (as he believed) appear once more, In a new, And more beautiful edition, Corrected and amended By The AUTHOR."

Skybar
Perfect Peaing

PeaNut 188,727
January 2005
Posts: 24,389
Layouts: 0
Loc: AZ desert

Posted: 11/14/2012 9:56:47 PM
I had one decades ago and survived it. Then about 15 yrs ago I needed another one. They had to pull me out of it rather quickly.

I had to reschedule and my sister went with me and sat right by my head and talked to me the whole time. That's the only way I made it thru it. hopefully i'll never need another one.




"A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education."
- President Theodore Roosevelt

On June 28, 1787, as Governor of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin hosted the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, where he moved:

"That henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning."

Franklin wrote April 17, 1787:

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

Benjamin Franklin wrote his epitaph:

"THE BODY of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN - Printer. Like the cover of an old book, Its contents torn out, And stripped of its lettering and gilding, Lies here, food for worms; Yet the work itself shall not be lost, For it will (as he believed) appear once more, In a new, And more beautiful edition, Corrected and amended By The AUTHOR."

ScarlettForever
PeaNut

PeaNut 283,414
November 2006
Posts: 339
Layouts: 0
Loc: Louisiana

Posted: 11/14/2012 10:08:59 PM
I had one where they had big glasses u put on that played tv or movies before ur eyes - great distraction


Save a life: adopt a shelter pet!

ScarlettForever
PeaNut

PeaNut 283,414
November 2006
Posts: 339
Layouts: 0
Loc: Louisiana

Posted: 11/14/2012 10:09:13 PM
I had one where they had big glasses u put on that played tv or movies before ur eyes - great distraction


Save a life: adopt a shelter pet!

jgpea
StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 378,405
June 2008
Posts: 2,152
Layouts: 9

Posted: 11/14/2012 11:05:44 PM
DH had his first years ago when he was very heavy. He lasted oh, maybe 15 seconds. Ended up doing an "open" one which took 45 minutes, as opposed to the usually 15.

And it took three additional weeks to schedule, all the while he endured severe back pain.

Had a second years later (after dropping 80 lbs) and it was a piece of cake
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*Delphinium Twinkle*
I'm just a pea:)

PeaNut 163,613
August 2004
Posts: 78,773
Layouts: 236
Loc: *Sunny Southern California*

Posted: 11/14/2012 11:13:00 PM
They can give you a mild sedative before if you need it. But make sure you let them know before you come in


Bethie
proud Fiskateer #269
{My Blog}
*My Scraproom*
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doesitmatter?
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 509,811
May 2011
Posts: 6,639
Layouts: 27

Posted: 11/14/2012 11:46:59 PM
I need a serious amount of Valium


Child of God, follower of Jesus, and so thankful for His presence in my life <><
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crayolamamaa
PeaNut

PeaNut 503,391
March 2011
Posts: 329
Layouts: 0

Posted: 11/14/2012 11:59:28 PM
I have had several MRIs. I always bring a washcloth to cover my eyes. I think I would freak out if I was inside the tube with a catchers mask on and I opened my eyes. I have learned that I am more comfortable with long sleeves or if they wrap a light blanket around me. The sides are cold. If I have sleeves or a blanket it seems a bit cozy. I appreciate if the person doing the MRI communicates often and lets me know how long each test is going to be. I try not to breath deeply while they are scanning. I also try to match the sounds of the machine to the music my kids listen to...usually heavy metal. My favorite sound is the one that sounds like the bells out in the ocean.
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