|About 65% of all people suffer "dysphoric psychological reactions" when having an MRI.|
Photo by: Steve Jurvetson (jurvetson on Flickr) CC 2.0
Must Repress ImpulsesI laid down on the MRI bed, my arm was propped up with some pillows and cushions. The tech says this will take 30 minutes and I can't move at all - not even wiggle my toes. He put some headphones on me. The weapon of choice was soft rock. As I was conveyor-ed into the tube "I Can't Go for That" by Hall and Oates was playing. It seemed appropriate. I was feeling good. Marc Anthony's "You Sang to Me" came on and I'm less enthused, but I plug along. Then the MRI clanking noises started, but I was still good because I watch House and I know what an MRI sounds like. Plus I wasn't bleeding profusely or convulsing in the first 2 minutes, so that was cool.
Muscles Resent ImmobilityMJ's "Rock with You" comes on, and I'm like "oh, hell yes." But then the music starts breaking up pretty badly, like the Magnetic Resonence or whatever is messing with the radio waves. So I think about how these MRI waves are going through my body and damaging my gametes and I become hyper-aware of my body. I start thinking of every muscle and I slowly tense up. But I can't move, at all, so I'm afraid to relax, because if I relax, my body might move and mess up the images. By this point, "(I've Had) The Time of my Life" comes on. The music is still breaking up, coming through infrequently, punctuated with rhythmic ominous low thumps.
The music turns off and the tech says in his microphone that I had moved slightly and that he would have to do that last image over. And I think, good God, as if 30 minutes wasn't long enough, everytime I move the slightest bit, he has to redo the image and an extra 5 minutes will be tacked onto my time in this death tube. Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do with It" comes on next. The muscles in my body start firing randomly and I've just about given up. Each twitch means more tube time and the longer I'm in here, the more I want to twitch. I start thinking of my life outside the tube. And what I'm going to do once I get out of the tube. If I ever get out of the tube.
Miserable Ruthless Intensity
Things get a little hazy here. I feel as though I'm not getting enough air. I want to take a some deep breaths, but I'm afraid that inhaling too much will cause my chest to move too much and distort the image. So I just concentrate on my breathing and my now sweaty hand that's rested on my stomach. I wouldn't be surprised if it left a wet hand print on my shirt. How embarrassing would that be. I close my eyes and try to relax, but without relaxing too much, because that might distort the image also. My right arm is aching.
Most Restless Incident
At some point, a crappy cover of "Don't Dream it's Over" is playing. The tech tells me I only have 2 minutes left. Awesome. I contemplate counting down the 120 seconds, but I realize this will make me crazier. So I stare at the ceiling of the tube, 2 inches from my face... and wait... God, this is taking too long. I bet the tech quoted me 2 minutes, but it's actually 2 and a half minutes. Or 3 minutes. He's doing this on purpose. Because he's a sadist.
When I got up, I was so pumped full of adrenaline, I was having problems speaking. Don't get me wrong, I know the MRI wasn't that bad, it was just a million times worse than I thought it would be. I imagined it would be something like an extended x-ray. I didn't realize what that would mean. My doctor had told me previously that if I was claustrophobic or if I thought the MRI machine's loud noises would bother me, that she could prescribe a sedative. Since I'm not claustrophobic and I can't hear, I passed on her offers of free and legal drugs. Idiot.
Greg cartoonized me: