I Had an MRI and Lived to Tell About It

Yes, indeed, I had the dreaded MRI. Events happened so fast, I barely had time to be afraid. Here’s what happened.

On a Wednesday morning, I saw my chiropractor. I had already decided to request an MRI. A “new” pain was affecting the right side of my neck so I was done playing the game of patience. He anticipated me and thought out loud about how to proceed: should he jump through the insurance company’s hoops or should he ask my primary physician to jump? He decided on the latter, made some adjustments to my back that only a chiropractor can make, and sent me on my way.

That afternoon (yes, that very afternoon), my primary physician’s office called to say that my docs had talked to each other, and I needed to make an office visit with my primary doc (one of the hoops we both jump through). To our surprise, a morning slot was available on Friday. Yes, that Friday, less than 48 hours away.

I met with my primary physician who was motivated to get me an MRI. She ran a few assessments on me, to check my strength and resistance. They were worried about stenosis, about the possibility that my nerves were being compressed. Sound familiar? Severe spinal stenosis was what my husband had surgery for last June. If he has stenosis and I have stenosis, does that mean it’s contagious?

My doc proceeded to caution me that if I have the MRI, and, based on the results, she refers me to a neurosurgeon, she will expect me to be compliant. She lectured me on the risk of developing atrophy in my arms. I didn’t need the lecture. I let her know that I understood, that my husband had had to fight to get an MRI and be seen by a neurologist. Although she was wearing a mask, I could tell she winced.

I asked if she would prescribe drugs for me. She said she usually didn’t. I said I was claustrophobic. She asked if Valium would be okay. You know my answer.

That afternoon (yes, that very afternoon), my primary physician’s office calls to tell me I’ve been scheduled for an MRI. The appointment was for that coming Wednesday morning.

Okay, that was some pretty fast scheduling. Here’s the kicker: I had to show up at 6:45 am.

Not only am I not a morning person, but I am also a retired, not-a-morning person. I concede that, for the past month, I’ve been getting up before 7:30 am to feed our cats and then walk for a couple of miles in my neighborhood. That’s different. I don’t brush my teeth, wash my face, or even put on clean clothes (sorry if this is too much information) to go for my walks. The key to successfully walking in the morning is to do as little preparation as possible. Going to a facility where I’ll have to interact with people is a whole other thing. Plus, I’d need Greg to drive me since I have to take the Valium an hour before my appointment.

Greg took it all in stride. Let’s make an adventure out of it. Let’s try and find a place to have breakfast! I don’t know why, but Tallahassee has very few restaurants open for breakfast, other than the usual Village Inn, Waffle House, and iHop. We found a place close by and … it was okay. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We arrived at Radiology Associates with me starting to feel pretty good. Check-in was efficient and, before I knew it, I was being escorted to the locker room. Everything but underwear and socks came off; hospital gown was put on and then I stood in the hallway for a while, waiting, but not for long.

I asked if I could go in feet first, but the technician said no. He helped me put in earplugs and draped a blanket over me. As he adjusted the cloth around my head, I drifted back to all the times I’d ever been in a hospital, all the times I yielded to someone else’s care of me. I closed my eyes.

Dang, those MRIs are LOUD!

I don’t know how long I was in there. Maybe 20 minutes, but I was surprised and even a little disappointed when it was over. On to the Egg Cafe and breakfast! I got scrambled eggs with Greek trimmings and Greg got an omelet with smoked salmon. Our meals must have been sitting awhile because the eggs weren’t hot; they were the cool side of warm. We were too hungry to complain, but, chances are, we won’t be going back.

That evening (yes, that very same evening), my primary physician’s office called with the MRI results. No “spinal column compression,” but several bulging discs. So, good news and meh news. Next stop is an orthopedist and that appointment is a month away. Meanwhile, I continue my cold/heat therapy. although haphazardly. I’ve resumed my yoga practice and lifting light weights at the gym. I do chin tucks and neck stretches. I do what I can to avoid surgery.

Even though my doc prescribed just one 5 mg tablet of benzodiazepine, I was in withdrawal on Thursday. Totally sunk into a funk. What can I say? When it comes to drugs and alcohol, I’m a lightweight.

Red-shouldered hawk in tree.


The above photo is one reason why I go for morning walks. The next two are from this morning, the first at the beginning of my walk, the next at the end of my walk.

And here is a gratuitous cat photo: Junior throwing me a little shade.

Junior tries to snooze while his mom plays paparazzi.

43 thoughts on “I Had an MRI and Lived to Tell About It

  1. When I told my primary care physician that I already knew about a condition because my mother had it, she went right on describing all the terrible things (which I had been clear I already knew) that were going to happen to me if I didn’t do what she said. Then at my next visit, she did the same thing about an advanced directive, which she did not have a copy of but seemed to have memorized, even though, again, I told her I was familiar because of my mom. Yep, she’s a bully. Yes, this is what she does, lecture, instead of actually touching me in any way—the nurses do all the actual checking. And that is why I have not been to “my” doctor in several years. sigh

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    1. I’ve had much better success with primary care physicians than my husband. The one I had before my current was the best. He never lectured and, if I had a complaint that was outside his expertise, he’d say so and then find me a good referral. He retired a couple of years ago; I suspect he got tired of having his medical decisions questioned by accountants. I miss him, but, fortunately, my current physician is proving to be proactive. You know, my mom, who is 98, would say her longevity is due in part to rarely ever going to the doctor. You’re in good company 🙂

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  2. I agree that shoulder MRI is much shorter time than others I’ve had. So. Please research shockwave therapy. For me it was a miracle. A quick check on google looks like it can be used for your problem. If you decide to go after it let me know and I will email you a few details.

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  3. I’m glad you made it through ok, and that the news was not horrible. I haven’t had an MRI, but I’m glad it didn’t take too long. Sorry about your breakfast–you’d think a place with “egg” in its name would do a good job with them. (We’re still not eating in restaurants, and going out to breakfast sounds fun.) Good luck with everything!💙 Is Greg’s back l better now?

    Obviously I am a morning person! 🤣

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    1. I’m happy you’re a morning person, Merril. You take such lovely photos of the sunrise 🙂 Greg’s back is getting better. He’s still limited in what he can do, but he’s not debilitated. He just needs to respect his back 🙂 We have been going out to restaurants but cautiously. The Egg Cafe has two locations; we went to the other one a couple of years ago (pre-pandemic) and really liked it. I’m willing to go to the other one … someday 😉

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  4. I’m happy to hear things went well and the MRI results showed nothing serious. Bulging discs can be managed with the right exercises. Just make sure you do them! 🙂 I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in my early 30’s. I had two surgeries and avoided a third. I’m long overdue for an MRI since I’ve recently been experiencing a lot of issues. I’m very good at procrastinating, but I am a morning person…up at 3:30! 🙂

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    1. Oh, dear. One of my cousins was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease when she was quite young, too. Like you, she’s had surgery and still has issues. My heart goes out to you. But, 3:30? That, my dear woman, is still nighttime in my book 😉

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  5. When I had cataract surgery last week, the appointment was at … 6:20 a.m. Like you, I’m retired now. I just don’t get moving that early anymore. Yes, I still wake up around 6:30, but I putter for a couple of hours before I do much of anything. And like you, my spouse had to drive me. So, we were both up at 5:00 to leave by 5:45. Not my idea of a fun morning!

    Glad you didn’t get the worst news from the MRI.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, cataract surgery … I wonder if that’s in my future too 😉 The only good thing about having an early morning appointment is you still have much of the day left to enjoy. I hope your surgery went well!


  6. So glad you got that MRI over with, Marie and are managing the pain, though I’m sorry you are experiencing it. My sister-in-law might have this issue. Waiting to hear results. Glad you’ll keep us posted on your visit.

    Beautiful photos as always.

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    1. Thank you, Carla! The Valium really helped with my anxiety 😉 Bulging discs can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy. I was given a number of neck exercises to do when I was first diagnosed with cervical osteoarthritis. I guess I should start doing them again, but part of me wants to wait until I see the orthopedist. I don’t want to do the wrong exercises 😉

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      1. Oh my, that sounds difficult! Yes, Valium is helpful when undergoing such a procedure. My dentist provides it when I’m going to have a significant amount of dental work done. Love all the perks of contemporary times!

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  7. Oh wow. You’ve been through a lot! But the speed at which that fell into place is almost unheard of. I’m glad you got some answers. And it’s fairly good news—so that’s good! And that little kitty is the cutest! ❤️

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  8. That was amazingly fast. I’m happy it’s not stenosis and hope you can solve your issues through various other treatments that don’t include surgery.
    And I get the least prep possible when you go out for your walks. I do the same.

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        1. Oh, yes, and I need some. I’ve been wearing lightweight hiking boots on my neighborhood walks. A friend GAVE them to me, and they are the best fit. But I need new shoes for the gym and warm weather walking. Shopping is no longer a favorite pastime so it might be a while …

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          1. I was able to purchase a second pair of running shoes online (like the ones I’d worn out already) and then a third pair over this two-year shopping stalemate. In my early forties I started running in hand-me-down shoes that were a full size too small—dreadful mistake.

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  9. Your scheduling story clearly was a miracle. Did you go buy lottery tickets? I’ve had some good luck with doctors but never that much! Sort of good news, indeed. I hope the neurologist has good news for you.

    I, by the way, have become increasingly claustrophobic with every mri. I got through the first one with biofeedback. I used to teach it and figured I should use it, after I stopped screaming at them to get me out of there. We moved onto drugs, then more drugs. Now, if I absolutely have to have one they put me under anesthesia. They say it’s more common than you’d think.

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    1. What really got me was how loud it was in there. Good grief. It’s a good thing I had to remove my hearing aids 😉 I can imagine becoming more claustrophobic with each experience. I think the mind and body become weary with the effort to “keep it together.” I’ve had a number of surgeries in my life, and the mere thought of having to have any kind of surgery (even outpatient) is enough to bring tears to my eyes.

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  10. I had an MRI but then they discovered bad things, thyroid nodules, a tumor, and then they operated on me. They opened my neck and pulled everything out: the nodules and even the entire thyroid. It was bad to stand still on the cold bed before entering the operating room. I didn’t see any light during the anesthesia but I’m still alive and they were good and I don’t have any marks on my neck. I hope that you will be fine and that they never find anything bad. Greetings from Italy. 🤗🤗🤗🌸🌼🌺🌹💐

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      1. Yes, I was hit by a less aggressive form. My sister instead had 40 lumps all in her neck and they made a very long wound, still visible, right under the ear. Now she still has other 2 lumps and take them always under control.

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  11. Ugh I’ve had my fair share of MRI’s and I absolutely loathe them. I’m so sorry for your struggle! As for not getting “properly dressed” before your morning walks and feeds… of that I can assure you that you are not alone. I can’t tell you how many times my neighbors have caught me feeding the farm in pajama bottoms and muck boots. My hair looking like a rats nest from rolling around in the sheets. Thankfully I have the most non judgmental neighbors 💪🏻 or at least they keep the judgments to themselves 😅. Either way they are quick to offer a friendly wave and I go on about my day. I’m not a morning person ❤️😜

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