I had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scheduled this morning. They told me I should fast at least four hours before coming in, so I figured the best time would be early in the morning. I would go to the facility, have the test, go home and have coffee and breakfast.
Before I continue this saga, let me say this: I am a good patient. If I need tests I bite the bullet and carry on. No whining. Just do it. Get it done. I’ll be their pin cushion. I’ll take their potions. Mind over matter. Get on with it. I’ll be fine.
A little past my scheduled time, a friendly and apparently competent young woman came to the waiting area to take me back. She introduced herself. Let’s call her Mary. Mary explained the process. I asked a number of questions. I think my most important one (to me, anyway) was “Why, if we now have open MRI machines, do we still use these dinosaurs with their noise and that tiny enclosed space?” Mary knows her stuff. She explained in some detail why I needed this machine. I was satisfied with her answer and appreciated her taking the time to reassure and educate me. Then she continued to strap me in and gave me ear protection to blunt the noise of the process. I had my call mechanism in hand and I was ready to roll.
I went in the apparatus feet first, just far enough to get my head inside. There I stopped. I felt weird. My heart rate increased. I tried deep breathing. Timidly I said, “Mary?” No answer. I had entered the space with my eyes closed. I opened them. I closed them again. I started to sweat. My heart started to pound. I squeezed my call bulb and called, “Mary!” I squeezed again and yelled, “Mary!” And she responded, did Mary, my angel of mercy. I looked up at her with tears in my eyes, “I didn’t know I was claustrophobic. I’m sorry.”