Top of the Evenin' to Ya! It is St. Patrick's Day! Yesterday (March 16th), I had three Pre-Op appointments at Stanford (as mentioned in my last entry). I had a chest X-ray done, followed by a pace maker check and last but not least (drum roll please)...... The all inclusive MRI!! The first two appointments were back to back. Once I finished those, I had an hour and a half's worth of time to just sit and think. As frightened as I was at the mere thought of an MRI, I found myself looking deep within to figure out which part of what was coming was the scariest for me. I kept on coming back to the same thought and that was the anesthesia. I really did NOT want to be put to sleep for this test. But how would I muster up the courage to cooperate with them and actually lay on the table in a tube for an hour? I decided to ask the receptionist if she had ever had an MRI and if so, what her experience had been like? This surely was my lucky day, because she just had her first MRI last week in the same place where I was going to have mine. She asked me what I was most afraid of, and I started out by telling her that I did not want anesthesia. She told me that the technician talked all the way through and explained how long each segment of X-rays would take. She also noted that they will bring me completely out of the machine half way through the procedure. At that point, they will inject dye into my arm, which will then travel on up to my brain. That dye (referred to as "contrast") will improve the clarity of the images my Dr. will be studying before and during surgery. Those images will help guide him as he strategically places two microscopic wires deep within my brain. Getting back to the receptionist's experience, she told me that they asked her if she wanted a warm towel to cover her eyes. This way, she wouldn't have to look at the inside of the tube. She actually fell asleep during the MRI! After listening to how positive her experience was, I asked if it was too late to cancel the anesthesiologist. She called downstairs to the Radiology clinic and they said it was not too late and to come on down!
Wait...... Did I just agree to do my MRI "cold turkey"? Why Yes.... I did! The team who worked with me were fabulous. I had my anti anxiety pills with me (Ativan) so I took a whole tablet forty minutes before the MRI started (If I ever need one at home, I only take half a tablet). It worked like a charm! I changed into the usual soft hospital gown, pants and socks. Once changed, I headed over to the MRI room. Upon entering, my mind was put at ease, as all I could see were smiling faces welcoming me. There was an entire team of specialists waiting for me. Before I even laid down on the sliding table, the cardiac team took over. They adjusted the frequency on my pacer so that it would be in synch with the MRI machine. Once that was complete, the MRI technician introduced himself and explained what the process would be like. I told him that I was very scared, as I have never had one before. He gave me a special soft ball to hold and said that if at any point I needed him to stop the MRI, all I needed to do would be to squeeze that ball and shout as loud as I could to stop. He also asked me if I wanted a warm towel to cover my eyes and I said "Yes". He then placed warm, cushy pillows all around my neck. I felt like I was laying down on Velvet. Lastly, he handed me ear plugs to block out the noise. He asked me if I had any other questions for him and I told him that I did not.
So in I went until my feet were completely inside of the tube. I have to say that it was a very zen experience for me! The loud noises coming from the MRI machine were not bothersome at all. I became so relaxed that I actually fell asleep a few times while inside the tube. When the technician was finished, he pulled me out and had to wake me up!. I was so relaxed that I had no desire to leave! When I actually turned around to see the size of the tube that I had just spent an hour in, it was not quite as scary as people made it sound. Save the drama for your mama! Before I could leave to go and get dressed, the Pacer team had me stay for a bit to readjust my pace maker for everyday life. I have now jumped through another DBS hoop and I am one step closer to March 26th!. I still cannot believe I had the strength to persevere on this one. " Just Breathe" comes to mind right about now.
It must have been the hospital socks which made all the difference in how well I did in the MRI tube. I can now use them for my Pilates practice as they have grips on the bottom. Who knew 🤷🏻♀️