Wednesday 14 February 2018

MRI Brain Scan

This morning I headed to hospital for my brain MRI. It was all booked in so fast that I never had a letter telling me what to expect. I'd obviously recently had the breast MRI so I knew about the scanner itself and the noises to expect but I wasn't sure if I would need the contrast dye this time.

This MRI is in a different hospital to the other. I filled out the usual form and sat with my mum in the waiting room. I don't feel nervous at all because I honestly feel that everything that is happening to me with regards to my brain is all down to the stress of everything that's going on.

The nurse calls me through and I'm shown to a changing area. There are no doors just a small - doesn't reach the ends of the rail - curtain. I'm told to take my clothes off, just keep my knickers on and pop the gown on. I'm fuming with myself that I forgot my pyjama bottoms this time. I explain to the nurse that the bra I'm wearing as no metal in it so she says I can keep that on too.

I ask her where I should leave my clothes and she says just leave them where they are. Oh great - behind the tiny surgical curtain - very secure.

I follow her in to the MRI room and she lowers the scanner bed, there is a big window opposite where I can see through to the area where the radiology team are.

This time I have to lie on my back with my head positioned in between two head guards. The radiologist hands me ear plugs one at a time to put in my ears. Then she wedges my head in place with, what feel like sponges, over each ear. She then places another guard over my face. Goof job I'm not claustrophobic. I actually look like my head is in a small prison. As I look directly upwards there is a small mirror in the cage that is reflecting the image of the window so I can see the radiologists in their hub.

Squeezey 'emergency button' in hand, I am moved in to the scanner. No pillows today and my back is not happy to be lying flat with no support. I decide to close my eyes and pretend I'm lying on a beach somewhere. The noise of the machine is so much more intense today without any music. I wish I had the headphones on again. The first scan lasts around 7 minutes and I'm relieved there's no cannula or dye today. "Scan 2 about to begin" the radiologist says across the microphone from the other room. My head wants to nod but I'm wedged.

This scan seems louder but shorter. Then the voice is back "Ok, we'll just take you out now and inject the dye." Whaaaaaat? First time anyone has mentioned this. I'm assuming now that this is what always happens during this type of scan and that by me telling the nurse I'd had an MRI before, she assumes I know this already.

I remain wedged, and I'm asked to hold my right arm out. Tourniquet on, I begin to pump my fist. She struggles to find a good vein but after a few minutes she's in but boy does it sting! The needle feels horrible in my arm, so uncomfortable, it stays in for ages as she pushed the die into my body. Finally it's out, plaster on and I'm back in the tube. By now my back is absolutely killing me.

They tell me to close my eyes for the final scan - I had done that all the way through anyway but now I'm curious as to why. If anyone has an idea then please let me know in the comments. The loud churning of the machine begins again. Constant.

The silence eventually takes me by surprise. I open my eyes. Glance into the mirror above to get some kind of acknowledgement that its all over. It doesn't seem like anyone has noticed! They are talking, another is on the phone. Then I panic, look for clues in their body language - maybe they found something, are they talking about me? I hate the paranoia that cancer brings to your life.

I needn't have worried, the nurse is back in the room and I'm brought out of the tube. She removes the head prison and the sponge and says I can get up. Easier said than done, my back appears to have seized up and they have to pull me up like an old lady! As I stand, my legs buckle. I'm so stiff.

I head back to get changed and head home.

I yawn the whole way home and even though it's only lunchtime, I climb in to bed as soon as I arrive back. I don't know what it is with MRIs but they just wipe me out.

Night night x

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