Monday, March 29, 2010

Cooped Up

In about three hours, I'm going to get to participate in a "fun" ritual: the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Aside from continuing problems with my arthritic left hip, I have been experiencing severe pain in my right shoulder and elbow for months. Originally, I simply chalked it up either as one of the aspects of my fibromyalgia or, possibly, the development of tendinitis, but the pain and limited range of motion has not abated. So, it's high time I get it checked out.

Unlike a wide variety of medical procedures, an MRI is non-invasive. Consequently, it doesn't involve pain -- unless reclining on one's back is painful. I like pain-free procedures, but I'm still not looking forward it. I'm very claustrophobic and being placed in an MRI apparatus is like being stuffed in the barrel of a cannon! There's not a lot of remove to maneuver and everything is very close-in.

The way most patients with claustrophobia mitigate this situation is by taking a sedative before the procedure. Of course, THAT strategy won't work in my case because I also have a severe phobia about medications, particularly the kind that might make me feel loopy. Therefore, I'm simply going to have to suck it up and try to make it through my 45 minute trip in the "tunnel of love".

Since this certainly will not be my first time inside an MRI tube, I have some strategies up my sleeve that have helped in the past. Still, each incursion is different and what helped to get me through one experience doesn't always help me get through the next one.


  1. Best Wishes! You'll make you said, you've done it before.

  2. Taoist-style belly breathing helps. Focus on the bellows. And I think of things like this as opportunities -- times when I can't be bothered by annoying phone calls!

  3. Hang in there... it's only a tunnel. (not that I have any experience to confirm with).

  4. good luck. :) actually it seems as if most of the blogs i follow are written by people with fibromialgia or another severely painful condition.
    perhaps life gives people with these painful conditions the ability to effectively communicate with others through the written word.

  5. Well, I made it through, but it turned out to be quite painful! The position I was forced to recline in sent my ailing hip into spasms. At one point, the tech asked me if I could continue and, when told it was only another 10 minutes or so, I told him I would gut it out.

    However, once out of the tube, I couldn't sit up. I had to have the tech and his assistant pull me up. Both of them commented that they could hear the cracking going on. It took me a good three hours to stretch it out somewhat.


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