Friday, January 18, 2013

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

You may recall that three months ago, while in Spain, I ran into a large glass wall while hurriedly walking to breakfast. I hit my head and my right shoulder on the glass, and apparently the shock of it all caused me to pull my right shoulder back very quickly, causing injury.

After an X-Ray, a steroid shot, and two months of physical therapy, my shoulder is still not better. So I had to return to an orthopedic surgeon to see what was up. He recommended an MRI, which I endured this morning.

I don't consider myself claustrophobic, but the thought of being stuck in a tunnel for 30 minutes made me a little nervous. I recruited a couple of friends to pray on my behalf, and I dutifully showed up at 7:00 a.m.

My technician, Ellen, was very matter of fact. She didn't spend much time trying to make sure I was OK with the procedure. She just ordered me around. Once flat on my back with my right shoulder tightly fitted into the scanning cup, she told me to close my eyes. She put headphones on my ears and let me select my favorite music from Pandora. Then she pushed a button, and I went bye-bye into the tunnel.

In order to get the best image, my right shoulder had to be centered in the machine, which meant my left side was squished against the other side of the tunnel. Lying flat on my back makes my shoulder ache, so I was in pain for the whole procedure.

Rational thinking would tell me, "everything's alright... I can get out by squeezing this little button Ellen gave me"...but immediately, my heart started racing. She told me not to breathe heavily because it would make my shoulder move. What was I to do?

I prayed, "Lord, please calm me down!" After that, I became very warm. It was not a good time for a hot flash. "Lord, please don't let me have a hot flash!"

Minutes later, I was imagining I was sunbathing by the pool. The bright light above me in the tunnel made me think the sun was shining down on me, and the warmth made me think I was getting some rays. I did not open my eyes the whole time because it would ruin my daydream.

Once in awhile, that little word "panic" crossed my mind. Back to my happy place in the sun I went. I'm sure Ellen deals with at least one panic attack a day, and I didn't want start her day off on a bad note.

Each image took about three minutes during which the machine made loud, banging noises. There were seven of these, and I counted them. The loud noises didn't bother me because I couldn't think while they were going on.

After a little over 20 minutes, Ellen let me out. She rushed me to my dressing room as fast as she rushed me in before. She must have had an important meeting to get to. I said good-bye, nice knowing you. And I kicked my heels up on my way out the door.

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