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.
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.
Marie A Bailey
Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.