I wondered if the reflected image of the MRI room ceiling would be the last thing I would see before the strong magnets of the machine pulled the metal rods from my back, ripping me to shreds.
Surely the techs read my chart info and either knew I was there for a cervical scan (thus not requiring them to go lower than my neck) or they read my registration info and knew the Harrington rods in my back were there, thus keeping the scan above the placement of the rods.
But I hadn’t gotten a chance to verbally remind them (putting my nervous/semi claustrophobic mind at ease) after I found out that I would have to be stripped virtually naked for this neck scan.
I picked my clothes out the night before and made sure they had no metal buttons or bits. I had my aide remove my huggie earrings but left my chain, remembering to have a hospital tech remove it before the scan. My beenies are cotton with no metal bits as per habit. My sandals have Velcro closures. I made sure I was MRI scan ready.
Until it was my turn and the tech who came to retrieve me informed that not only would I have to don a gown, my pants would need to go, as well as my beenie.
I generally don’t mind being butt naked in front of medical personnel – they’ve seen it all. But something about having to expose my Alopecia ravaged and shorn scalp (thanks Celiac ) made me feel… really naked.
After she removed my top, put on my gown and informed me about my beenie, I found myself looking to the floor; not seeing it but averting my gaze so as not to show my… embarrassment? shame?
I asked if there was anything I could cover my head with. At this point it felt like sacrilege being asked to expose my bare head. It bothered me a bit that she had not offered or didn’t think to protect that part of my privacy.
There is who we are, dressed in public. There is who we are, in the sanctity of our homes with our loved one. There is who we are in the privacy of our showers. There is who we are in sacredness of our hearts. Being that exposed felt like the latter, for all to see. There are parts of us that I firmly believe belong to Us and should not be witnessed thusly. And if it must, in this example of a necessary medical procedure, should be protected, solemnly by all in attendance.
She darted into the gown area after seeing my distress and produced a filmy blue surgical cap. Then retrieved another and covered my ill crown before ushering in the next set of technicians to transfer me to
Outside of my wheelchair, repleat with its many hidden supports, my body is flimsy, like a rag doll. I must be propped and supported when laying on surfaces that are not my cushy, double pillow topped mattress. My body must also be moved in careful positions to minimize injury.
There is this compartmentalizing I do in moments of being transferred by strange people in strange places for strange circumstances. I pull inwards and experience my body almost in third person. Noting how it’s being twisted, turned, handled. Careful to speak up so it won’t get hurt. Not associating too much or too closely with this body. It helps to keep me aware of what’s going on and to have a voice should I need to use it. #TraumaLessons
Once on the gurney and wheeled into the MRI room, my shoes and pants are removed. A thick plastic transfer board is placed under my body – first the right side (slide), then completely. I am transferred to the MRI table, where my neck is positioned, a wedge (thankfully) placed under my knees, thick headphones
placed over my ears.
I am wrapped like a human burrito, a cage-like apparatus placed over my head and a hard-for-SMA-hands-to-squeeze bulb, in case of emergency.
“Can you press it?”
“No worries, I’ll check in on you.”
She pushed a button and the MRI bed slid me into the tube up to my elbows. Looking at the reflected mirror image in front of my eyes, I could see my chest rise and fall in nervousness.
I tried to get their attention, thinking they would be listening in and would answer. But after repeated ‘Hellos’ with no answer, I knew I was in this tube, good or bad, by myself.
I wish she would have checked in on me before the scan started. I wish she would have checked on me after the first smaller scans. Those were when I began to notice how warm my shoulders and upper back were
That was when I began to wonder if seeing the reflected image of the MRI room ceiling would be the last thing I would be conscious of.
Lack of faith of medical personnel to pay attention to details is par for the course for me. They often miss a lot. Including the humanity of those they are helping. Helping becomes mundane. They get sloppy, small important details get missed.
The tech did wind up checking in before the last scan. What I didn’t know until after the scan, was that MRI machines make the human body warm up. If you have metal in your body, it makes you heat up MORE. Think: a ripping hot cup of tea. Add a metal spoon to it and the metal spoon gets ripping hot too after a while.
The MRI machine was the heat. My body was the tea. The rods in my back are the spoon – in such proximity to the MRI magnet, my rods were heating up too.
So I wasn’t wrong to have felt the heat difference. Or to be worried.
This scan was the lesser evil though. The Evil being the stomach churning, nausea inducing, ice pick stabbing pain in my neck since my last injection in January. Spinraza Doc and I were both worried that mayhaps some damage was done during said last injection.
So he ordered a cervical MRI. Today was that day.
After the 30min MRI was done, the technicians dressed me and put me back together.
My body is achy from the extra, unusual movements. My upper back sore from whatever the magnet did to my rods.
I await the results of the scan before the next Spinraza in May.
I look forward to my extra cushy bed tonight.