My battle with vertigo-like symptoms has returned. A VNG test showed a vestibular issue on the right side, and we are ruling out possible causes. Nothing shakes your world like having the doctor mention “tumor” as one possibility. His next suggestion was, “You need an MRI of the brain and ear canals to rule that out.”
What’s that going to cost? I’ve heard stories about MRI experiences. What if I… The mind is a wonderful tool, but for professional-class worriers the runaway thoughts take us places we don’t need to be.
The internet is a great resource, and I found pages that describe the MRI procedure along with a YouTube video that captured thirty minutes of the noises the clankety-clank machine would make. I only listened for about five minutes, though, enough to know the noise would not be an issue.
I imagined a torpedo tube with a rammer that pushed against my feet and thereby inserted me. I guessed some type of compressed air wave would shoot me out the other end once the test concluded. Would I be slathered with lubricant to make the journey easier? The newer machines are large-bore with an opening three feet in diameter. Whew!
Every medical office I visit hands me a stack of questionnaires to complete and asks for dates and data I cannot remember. I am still scratching my head over this winning inquiry which I’ve never been asked before, “Do you have any additions to your body that you weren’t born with?”
“Well, I sprouted hair in my ears and added about 200 pounds. Does that count?”
After the paperwork and mandatory credit card transaction I was instructed, “Wait and someone will fetch you.” Nurses come in a bunch of flavors. Some do the job professionally, but I’m just another patient between them and their lunch. Others are outgoing and work to calm my fears and put me at ease. The ladies I met at Raleigh Radiology, Patty, Erin, and Judy, were upbeat, compassionate, and interested in me as a person. I felt like I was visiting good friends.
First thing they took was my pants, though, but I expected that. I wore my tighty-whities instead of the pastel drawers Shawn has been buying for me. I was given a pair of scrub shorts, loose fitting, big enough for me and someone else. That is a good strategy. If I start running, the shorts will collapse around my ankles, trip me, and make my recapture easier. Nurses are so smart.
I am not ashamed to admit I am a wuss when it comes to labs, doctor’s offices, medical visits, tests, and all that jazz. When I was offered “happy juice”, I accepted. The little plastic IV tube went in with no pain, but the juice would not be added until I was clamped to the clankety-clank machine.
It is a big machine, but I did not get to survey much of the room. Eye glasses are a no-no during the MRI, so I completed the next phases with fuzzy vision. I was instructed to lie down on a flat table almost on the floor, and hydraulics lifted me to a working height just like an old Buick in the shop for transmission work. During this time I had much encouragement from the nurses, and their positive vibes counteracted my rapid breathing and increasing heart rate. Ear plugs were inserted along with a headset piping music. The helmet was clamped across my head to immobilize me, and I was ready to go.
And then…the happy juice was injected. The doctor commented that I might feel a burning sensation working up my arm. In thirty seconds I was loose as a goose and did not care what they did to me. That’s good stuff if it can tranquilize a guy my size so quickly. Maybe Shawn needs it in dart from so when I embark on a tirade she can drop me for a brief rest.
A periscope-like mirror provided a view of my feet and my hands. I wiggled to make sure I was watching real-time and not a looping video designed to fool me. I could see and hear the nurse who was monitoring my vitals. I even had a panic button on my chest I could squeeze if needed. Time to relax. This is a cinch.
The MRI lasted about forty-five minutes and there were many strange noises, but the volume was comfortable with the ear plugs and headset. I drifted to sleep a few times.
Before I knew it the helmet was being removed and the whole thing was over. I was dopier than normal thanks to the happy drugs, but I did remember my manners. I hugged those sweet ladies and thanked them for taking good care of me.
The MRI procedure was easy, and the images will give the ENT doctor the vision he needs inside my head. This method is much preferred to having him drill a ½” hole and root around my brain with a screwdriver or however they do that stuff.
People, don’t be wimpy. If the doctor suggests an MRI for you, believe me. It’s painless and easy. If I can do it, you can do it. Sometimes we have to man up and live a little faith.
But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.
Isaiah 43:1-2 NASB
He is with us, even in the clankety-clank machine.
(PS – The doctor called this morning to tell me that everything looks good on the images. No tumor! That’s good news!)