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Ways to Enjoy Your MRI

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,720
edited 01/26/2015 - 11:14 AM in Lighten and Brighten
I pulled this one from a post I made almost a year ago.

No matter how many times I've had a MRI , I still never enjoy going through it.
The MRI's are much better than they were 10 or even 5 years ago, but still.
I had one last Friday and was totally prepared going in for it....

1 Take some of your pain meds or muscle relaxers PRIOR to going in. (You want to be relaxed, you could also have 2 or 3 Martinis before hand, but then you will have the urge to go to the bathroom inside the tube)

2 Arrive at the center upbeat and knowing that the MRI is going to be easy this time. (Mind over matter, this is a piece of cake, I will show them)

3 Think happy thoughts as you disrobe and put on those hospital gear (About now, the only thing you are happy about is that the newer hospital apparel actually covers your butt!)

4 Scratch all possible parts of your body that will somehow itch inside the tube (This is always a problem, you prepare yourself, you convince yourself that you will not itch. Problem is shortly after inside of the tube, you know you were lying to yourself)

5 Laugh with the technician, telling them, ah, MRI's are a piece of cake (this helps build up your confidence)

6 Start to think of the ocean, vacation, your team winning, as you start to slide into the tube. (So far things are going good)

7 Oh oh, wait this tube got much smaller than last time, my arms are getting crushed, I cant move (Start to think, I should have went on that diet last month, its not to late to chicken out and press the buzzer to let you out)

8 Slowly you start to sweat and its coming down close to your eyes. You know the moment it hits your eyes, its going to burn and sting, and you know you cant do a thing about it (You start to try to turn your lips up and blow real hard to stop the sweat drops from coming down your face)

9 The drums and the banging start - At first you are scared, but welcome the distraction. (But after a while, the whole tube starts to vibrate, you think something has gone wrong, maybe I did leave a piece of metal on, and its going to come smashing up into my face)

10 The technician says over the loudspeaker, "Is everything ok", you respond, sure, no problem (But in reality, you want to tell them, stop it, turn the machine off, I really dont need this MRI)

11 The tube starts to move out, you say to yourself "Its over!", you are beaming with joy.. (Then the technician tells you, I am going to inject the contrast and then you only have 5-10 minutes more .... No What, I am NOT going back into that tube, forget the contrast, my doctor can read the MRI without that)

12 Real panic starts to set in. (You are clammy, You are sweating through those hospital pants which is NOT too comfortable. You try to dream, doesnt work, you try to think of your first date, doesnt work, for a second you open your eyes and ARGGGH, you are staring up at the top of the tube which is about 1 inch from your face!. Your stomach starts to turn, you try to take a deep breath, but nothing works)

13 The tube starts to move out again ( Its over , its over, its over )

You get up acting real strong, saying to the technician "Hey that was easy, piece of cake" You go back to the changing room, get dressed again and get ready to pick up the MRI CD and go home..

The technician greets you. "Sorry, we had a little problem, the film did not work correctly, we need to go through it again"

There you are , on the floor, crying whimpering like a little child..... No, NO NO

Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • That about sums it up. I think I have had about 7 MRI's now. Each time I go to have an MRI or x-ray or CT scan anymore I ask the technician just how many one can have before they turn into a radioactive puddle of goo. This normally freaks them out a bit. I really like asking this to the young new techs. image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" />

    The MRI that I disliked the most, was one in the back of a semi trailer. I felt like at any minute someone was gonna hook up the cab and go driving off into oblivion with me stuck in that tunnel!!! Every second felt like an hour that go round.

    One Love,

  • I take a nap. To me, it's mean when they wake me up to inject contrast. Why not just let me sleep and find a vein quietly.

    Now once I try to sit up afterwards, reality sets in. But until then...........

  • =)) Love it!! I just had one Friday myself and found out today I have to repeat in 6-8 weeks. I'm right there with y'all I've had like 5 or 6 now. I'll think of this Ron next time, thanks for the laugh!
  • LOL =)) I went for my MRI at 3 am one night in February, i got to keep on my clothes so it wasn't so bad and thought of laying on a beach with the sun on me.
    Stephanie that is so funny to say that to the techs. =))
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hi Ron,
    I really have a problem with the enclosed space of an MRI. I try to talk myself into thinking its ok but I know its a problem. The last one I had was in May 08 I think and I decided I was going to count to 20'000 or something like that. I had a few tough minutes but basically the counting kept me calm and I was rolled out before I was done counting which was good because if I finished counting first I was going to make them take me out. This was better then the one I had 8 years ago when the tech told me not to swallow and that was immediately what I felt like I had to do.
  • Now we're all going to be itching, sweating and panicking.....and thinking of YOU at our next MRI!


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,720
    Now Griff, I wonder if that would be in the GOOD light or would they be cussing me?
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • When they pull you out to inject the contrast. Don't move 1 muscle until they are finally done. When they pulled me out I moved while he was injecting the contrast. The Tech got all pissed off the images wouldn't line up. Yeah whatever... My surgeon laughed and told me my back was still messed up. It just looked funnier with the alignment of the images wrong... :D
  • Hey, I'm glad this post resurfaced.

    One of the facilities I had mris at provides a headset with music to listen to. The headset is very thick so it muffles the noice a bit. Also they let you pick out which CD to put in it, so I always go for soft relaxing piano music, but who knows, maybe heavy metal would be a good distraction too.

    The place where I've had the last 2 done doesn't offer this, but next time I have one I'm going to ask if I can bring an IPOD or something. Just don't know if it interferes with the magnetic stuff going on. Something using a wireless headset may be better.

    I think I have the record for the longest mri though. 2 full hours. This was after my first surgery when they were trying to figure out what went wrong and I thought it would never end. My husband was waiting and frantic with worry because they told him I'd be back to the room in 40 minutes. Good thing I was all drugged up or I would have never made it through!

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • What I hate is being in the tube and having the contrast make me feel like I have to pee 40 gallons of hot urine. :T

  • i hate those machnes, its even harder for a dog to fit in machine
  • To see if your suggestions work. I have my 9th or 100th MRI scheduled for my cervical spine here soon. I feel like *I* should be the technician by now.

    One Love,

  • I just had another MRI w/contrast last week.
    dilauro said:

    1 Take some of your pain meds or muscle relaxers PRIOR to going in.
    I still have some Darvocets left so I took one on my way over to the hospital. That did help.
    dilauro said:

    4 Scratch all possible parts of your body that will somehow itch inside the tube (This is always a problem, you prepare yourself, you convince yourself that you will not itch. Problem is shortly after inside of the tube, you know you were lying to yourself)
    Yeah I forgot to do this. My nose started to itch. When the tech pulled me out do contrast and asked if i was ok. I said no, my nose is itching. He actually got a small towel and scratched my nose and laughed.

    They let you pick from a menu of CDs they have and play one for you. I always pick rock. There is no way I'm going to fall asleep inside that monstrosity. So I might as well rock on dude!

  • you wouldnt think would spoil mri. to get exercise i rode my bike to hospital. mri was bad because my heart beat too hard and vibrated machine. i'm not kidding...
  • Once I chilled out in the MRI tube I couldn't help putting mmusical tunes to the drum beats, even if it just seemed like a cat singing a song!! It feels like forever in those things and any way you can occupy youself, so much the better.
  • in fact the last one I had, I woke myself up from the noise of me snoring, over the noise of the machine!!! LOL, all I could think was omg, could the tech hear me??!!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Thanks Ron That did make me laugh, of course I needed it 2 months ago when I had the worst MRI ever, I was not allowed to take anything for pain, from the time I laid down till the time I got up I was crying in pain, couldnt get legs comfy, then I moved and she had to start again, when it was finished I couldnt get off the table, they had to get someone else to help me off, I had a thirty minute break and went to get a EMG done which just happens to be another nasty test, and again had to lie down, couldnt get up finally the tests were done and I took my meds before leaving the xray dept. I would never wish that on anyone , nor would I like to repeat it. But next time I will surely be prepared. Thanks
  • I've only had one and it didn't have contrast. It was the most painful, horrific thing ever. Laying on my back was the most painful position there was. Tender section of lumbar area was smoshed on the hard plastic. Lucky I got it done in one take. Hoping there is never another need for one but now I know the key is pain killers. I had the headphones on but the machine was so loud I couldn't hear the music. I'm told if you ask your doctor they may order a sedative before the MRI like valium to help relax you.
  • for this post the other day!! I'm going for both a brain and lumbar MRI next week, all at once. Although MRIs have never really bothered me, claustrophobically, I've never been totally immersed either, just up to eye level. So, if I do start to panic a little, I'll just think of this post and have a good chuckle... Thanks Ron!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Is sad because they can't do mri with the scs in.
    the other part is SOoooo happy they can't do mri with the scs in <:P


    I just never thought it would bother me, but that tube just freaks me out...
  • I wonder if they would be able to see if I still had the tear? No herniations were seen in my last MRI. What about the annular tear? All that was seen is decreased signal strength and DDD throughout my lumber spine.
    It seems the MRI tunnel is so small I didn't know what to do with my arm. It hurts my back to put it on my chest. I'm wondering how they get someone bigger in there than a size 14 woman?
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I hated every second but just kept thinking I can push the panic button if I want to but I don't. I am ok. It worked for me. I am glad I had the scan as I had a tumor which has been reomoved. I am going for another one post operation and looking foward to the result - a tumor free spine!
  • Last MRI I was prescribed 2 valiums, I kept my eyes closed the entire time. If I had opened them that would have been it for me! I also made my sister come with me to sit in the room. She had an anxiety attack while in there just envisioning what it would be like! LOL
  • That's what has worked for me. I make absolutely sure that my eyes are totally shut before any part of my upper torso goes into the tube, and I will not let myself open my eyes at all until I am out of the tube. Between that, slow breathing, and thinking about my granddaughter, I have finally beaten the trauma of the MRI!
  • Well, you have to be a little sick to do this one, but make sure that the MRI center has the same music in the tech booth that you're listening to in the tunnel. Then request either a classical music station, or worse yet, a polka station! I had my spine and both knees done at one fell swoop (was in the tunnel for close to two hours,) and tortured the techs with Wagner. (laughing wickedly.)
    I'm not a spinal diagnosis. I'm a human being with a spinal diagnosis.
  • Funny list! Thanks :)

    I wasn't bothered with the MRI until the tech told me not to swallow several times first for 2 minutes, then for 4 minutes! I might not have had the need to swallow in that time for the two minutes, UNTIL the tech told me not to, of course. But 4 minutes of no swallowing???!!! SERIOUSLY?? Try it! haha

    I am always up for a good challenge and also told myself that they know that a mere mortal is going to have to swallow, so they probably account for that.

    The first two times, of course I swallowed - because I was telling myself not to swallow.
    Then, I found some "happy places" and that actually did help.

    I think I was in the tube the last MRI for about 30-40 minutes. I can think of more fun ways to spend that time, but I made the best of the situation, as I know most of us do and will.

    The tech was really nice and checked in on me every little while.

    When I came out of the tube, I told her I know that I swallowed a few times when I shouldn't and she told me she could see it happening, but that she got what she needed.

    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
  • Turtles7TTurtles7 Posts: 4
    edited 04/06/2013 - 6:57 PM
    Hello, and thank you for the post. First time I feel I've smiled while thinking about this for quite some time. I was thinking as I crawled onto that uncomfortable 'padding' on Friday, "my oh my, 27 years old and this is my um-teenth MRI. When will it end? Why do I sweat through my clothes every time? I'm not even claustrophobic." Eventually, as my dystonic jerks set in and the tech very politely asked me to hold as still as possible (and the jerks worsened because now I'm actually paying attention to the movement disorder which rarely even shows its ugly face), I am screaming inside but at myself for not being able to hold still. I have considered IV sedation many many times before, but more this time than ever. This was a short 15-minute MRI, probably the shortest I've ever had, but I cannot wait for it to be over. I am sure you all sympathize with this, the pain of being in the tube, the reluctance to call my pain doc for some Vicodin (I never take unless I can't move enough to function). So thank you for your humor, and for these little quips I surely thought nobody would really understand. I guess it's sort of ironic being told not to move when the foundation for Dystonia is called "WE MOVE", lol. I should put a bumper sticker on my forehead next time, lol.
    Suzanne Hill

    Keep your head up ... you'll see better days : )
  • BotzBotz Central FloridaPosts: 223
    I just had my SCS removed along with my decompression surgery. I can now have MRI'S again but hoping I will never have a need for any more! :)
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,720
    edited 05/10/2013 - 7:31 PM
    Trying to determine if I have done additional damage to a previous herniated L4/L5/S1 area or is my current pain and walking problems because my right hip is now deteriorating.

    So, I read my original thread here several times to get me mentally prepared. None one is ever eager to have a MRI!
    When I got to the imaging center things were different! I used to know the exact number of steps from the dressing room, to the rest room, to the MRI room and to get on the table. Its all off now! I dont mind change, sometimes its very good, BUT NOT for MRIs!

    Ok, a little nervous at this point. The new dressing rooms were nice and the rest room looked like something from a 4Star Hotel in the city. The technician led me into the MRI room. Oh, I knew there was no kidding around with her. She was a 7 foot 9 inch ex mammoth that I dont think has smiled in decades. No problem, I can respect that.

    But the MRI tube, now that was different. I was used to this nice small gray tube with some gauges on it. This one was white and much taller than the technician. I couldn't see any gauges, but I could have sworn, this machine was giving me a menacing stare.

    Now, good news, the actual inner dimensions of the tube was bigger, looked much bigger. Guess I didnt need to starve myself the last couple of days so I could fit into the old tube.

    As usual, trying to find a vein for the IV contrast was a game. My veins have grown tired over the years, so when they see a needle they run. Normally, I would kid with the technician about how difficult finding one of my veins would be. Not with this technician. I just laid there quietly is she started to prod up and down my arm looking for an entry spot. She finally did, but I know by tomorrow I will have about 8 black and blues on my arm.

    In the tube I went, along with a nice set of earphones playing relaxing music. Yes, the tube was much bigger, I could almost flip around completely in there. One thing I did not like. It was stark bright white and it had series of LED lights that lite up the entire tube. I couldn't try to sleep.

    I found a new item to cause concern in the tube. I did all the prep work, scratch myself everywhere I think would itch, wipe my eyes, blew my nose a number of times, I was SET! Who would think, I would start to cough inside the tube. First it was just a little cough and it made me move around a bit. Quiet, stay still inside!! Obeying, each time I felt the urge to cough, I started to hold my breath, that didnt work too well. I started with a series of these little mini coughs trying to get it out of my system. If you cant stay still, we cant finish this!!!!!! Ok, out I come out of the tub. She handed me some water and told me to drink. Back in the tube I go...

    But I forgot to scratch everywhere.... Sure, about a couple of minutes into the next series of shots, my butt starts to itch and it wont stop. I didnt know how to stop that.. Maybe if I cried a bit, it would go away. But that means tears would come down my face and burn. I tried pressing down on my one free hand on my thigh to reach down and hopefully hit my butt area. Didnt work.. Luckily, about 90 seconds later, the tube opens and out I come, jumping off the table.

    They gave me a copy CD of the images. This time if they find something that needs attention or needs another MRI, I am going to switch films.

    I feel better now.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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