Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hospital Happenings

On Sunday I was scheduled for an MRI to determine whether or not there is any permanent damage in my neck as a result of the accident (car crash)that occurred on February 8, 2007.

It was a bit disconcerting to get the notice in the mail that asked me "Have you EVER had any metallic object in your eye?" and "Are you claustrophobic?". Maybe and Yes. So, I phoned the nurse and had a chat. Upon reflection I didn't think any of the many objects in my eyes over a lifetime were metal, but for sure, I was still claustrophobic.

"Bring a cd of music you like" was the only suggestion. Oh, and I could go to the doctor to get medication.

I brought my eldest daughter instead. Rather, she brought me. She drove, and we laughed and chatted the entire way. I thought I would go and buy a "Selah" cd, so Adeena took me to Wal-Mart, where all we found was Burton Cummings and Brad Paisley. "That would do," I thought to myself. "I'll be fine."

We arrived in the MRI waiting room, and I hadn't finished reading about all the latest Hollywood babies when the technician came in. "Janet?" she asked hopefully.

"Yes, that's me," I replied.

"You can go in here and change into these gowns (two of them, for modesty's sake: one worn forward, and one backward) but just wait here until I come for you.

I changed, then disobeyed instructions while I sneaked around the corner to give my clothes to Adeena for safe-keeping. I dutifully went back to the tiny changeroom, but deliberately left the door open. I wasn't going to be claustrophobic before I had to be.

A little old lady tottered along, then smiled at me and asked me if I was scared at all. I smiled a reply, and she said, "Because you don't have to be scared. I wasn't scared at all. It was fine."

Then she added, "Are you here for a CT scan?"

"No," I smiled weakly. "An MRI."

"OH!" she exclaimed, and the tech lady showed up to take me to my doom right then.

She asked if I had brought music, and I grabbed the first one on the small pile: Burton Cummings' greatest hits, or some such thing. I didn't care.

She took the cd, stuck it into a cd player, then escorted me to the dreaded MRI machine. She explained that the machine would be very noisy, and handed me a set of headphones. "Do you want it louder?


"Do you want me to put a facecloth over your face? Some people find it helpful."

I was noncommittal. She got me to lie down on the trolley. She took my glasses, and got a foam slab to put under my knees. She gave me a button to push if I couldn't take it anymore. Just before I went inside the machine, she popped a facecloth over my face.

The problem was, she didn't completely cover my face. I could still peek out at the bottom.

She rolled me in, and when I felt my elbows touch the side of the machine, pushing my arms into my sides, I began to panic. My heart was racing.

"The important thing is that you must not move!"

I opened my eyes and discovered I could see. Not good. The top of the coffin was inches from my nose. My elbows were constricted against my chest walls. My knee suddenly seized up, but I wasn't allowed to move.

Then Burton began wailing, "I'm scared, Lordy, Lordy, I'm terrified..."

I knew what he meant.

It was loud inside that machine. I didn't dare move, even though my knee complained bitterly to me the entire time. "Just breathe," I told myself. "You can do this."

I figured it would take about five Burton Cummings songs. I didn't really hear them once he stopped declaring how scared he was, but I had the presence of mind to count the songs. Four more...three more, two more, one more. Consternation: Another song? Oh, no...will it never end?

It was sorely tempting to push the button. I kept on hanging on, just a few more seconds...then the blessed, lovely technician lady rescued me.

She got me to sit up, and I wobbled.

"Are you alright?" she asked.

"I'll be fine," I said, cryptically. I was fighting the tears.

"You look a little pale. Just sit there until you feel better."

I didn't want to sit there. I wanted OUT of the room. So I stood up, testing my legs. A few tentative steps took me as far as the wall, where I hung on and put my feet gingerly into my shoes.

I made my way to the outer office, then stood there, leaning on the wall for support. "Was the tech ever going to come back and give me my cd?" I wondered.

She finally did, and I headed out to the waiting room. Adeena talked to me briefly and I just nodded my head in answer to her query. I didn't trust myself to speak... I was fighting the tears, and needed to compose myself.

Not too many minutes later, we were on our way out of the hospital. My heart felt lighter with every step I took away from the dreaded machine. I declared to Adeena that I did NOT like MRIs. In fact, I think if a doctor were to insist on another scan I would actually refuse.

I honestly didn't think it would bother me much to be in a little noisy tube for 15 minutes. The amount of panic I felt surprised me. I was vulnerable and helpless, at the mercy of the technician while I lay there. That's never a nice feeling.

Of course, I knew the Lord was with me, even in the MRI machine. He never fails.

But I am still not. ever. going. back. Not if I can help it.

Jared's hospital visit yesterday was much simpler. He has a couple of plates in his right leg, put there five years ago to repair his shattered ankle. The doc says they ought to be removed. They'll call when the surgery is scheduled.

Jared's not impressed that it took a YEAR to get an appointment, and it will take another 9 months, likely, to get the surgery.

But at least he isn't dreading it, like his chicken mommy. He told the doctor that he'd like the surgery videotaped, so he could watch it later!

What a guy! That's my boy!


Mrs. Dole said...

Wow, Janet! I got claustrophobic just reading your description. I think you're much braver than I, I don't think I could have stuck it out. I can't believe it's been that long since your accident, where does the time go?

Love to you,

Janet said...

Love to you, too, Tracy. It was good to read about your sons and their accomplishments in sports! It's so much fun to sit on the sidelines, cheering, isn't it? (As long as they don't get hurt!)

Anita said...

I don't think I should have read that today, I am scheduled for an MRI on tuesday!! LOL

Janet said...

Oh, sorry, Anita! Well, I do hope that you'll have a less stressful time. Take some good music, and count the songs! Let me know how it goes. Are you claustrophobic at all? My son-in-law isn't claustrophobic, and he was just bored and couldn't wait for it to end. But it didn't bother him a bit.