Posted by: forgingahead | January 16, 2009

I’m Claustrophobic. Who Knew?

I had an MRI this morning. It was the worst experience of my life.

It’s not like I’ve never faced fear. I nearly died in a white water rapid one summer. Ok, perhaps not *nearly died* but it sure felt like it at the time. I was extremely shaky when I finally broke free of the raw tumbling power that was holding me at the bottom of the river bed.

This was worse.

And I think the thing that really shook me up was I had NO idea my brain and body would response this way. Sheer, unadulterated panic. Made worse because before the test actually began but after the medical folks had left the room I tried to get a reprieve. And *No. One. Heard Me.*

I felt like I was in deep space. Quite alone. My heart started doing this weird tap dance against my rib cage. Which I could feel all too well because of the death pose they’d put me in, crossing my hands over my chest.

The MRI was for my tummy region and the technician assured me my head would stay out of the tube.

He lied.

I kind of expected the loud banging noises to be the thing that would push me towards the edge. Oddly I found a little comfort in the beat…it reminded me of some of the music I run to.

There was just something about the confines of that tube that were totally freaking me out. I’m pretty good at the visualization thing and believe you me I was frantically scrambling for any scenario that would calm my panicked mind and soothe my galloping heart.

I can see now, with the benefit of 7 hours distance and a beer, that I was pretty successful at talking myself back down to reason. But in the heat of the moment I felt my connection to sanity was tethered by a very fine thread indeed.

They pulled me out after 25 minutes to inject some dye and send me back in. I told the tech that I wasn’t doing very well. I explained it was kind of lonely in there. He suggested I sing a song about being lonely to cheer myself up. Seriously?

I said I needed to know *exactly* how long this next set would take and he said about 10 minutes. To show you just how desperate I was I made him promise no longer than 10 minutes. He promised, though why I believed a man who had so clearly lied to me just 25 minutes ago proves that I was not quite in my right mind.

He suggested counting. Says that helps him. So I took his advice and sang 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.

I made it to 74 bottles and it was finally over.



  1. Whoa. Are you okay? Why were you having an MRI?

    • MRI was for the fibroid and the cyst they found last week – the Dr. wants a better view of what is where before they operate to remove one or both. No worries…standard stuff. I was just totally unprepared for my brain freak out. Thanks for asking 🙂

  2. Sorry to hear about your scary MRI experience. I hope this is the last MRI you need!

  3. i always close my eyes and go to sleep. ive had a lot of mri’s.

    hope everythings ok!

  4. Oh man, that sounds awful. Awesome job singing! 🙂

  5. […] more tests. Blood work. Maybe an MRI – though given that was the worst experience in my whole entire life ever I’m pushing my doctor to explore other diagnostic options […]

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