Sunday, December 29, 2013

MRI Panic

I had an MRI of my hip on Friday. Before I talk about that, let me share something else I have learned:

When your orthopedic surgeon starts twisting your limbs and poking his fingers into tender places, it's a good idea to drop your stoic act and react to the pain so he knows where the problem is.  Of course, if you're used to your pain mattering to no one else but yourself, this might be a difficult front to shake.  

To be fair to myself, I thought he was feeling around for something in particular -- something palpable in the tissue. I didn't know he was gauging my reaction.  I thought my job was to just endure the painful poking.  The last poke into my hip really did make me yell unexpectedly.  LOL 

He put a stop to the cortisone shots because he didn't believe they were helping enough or long enough, and definitely hadn't fixed the problem. (And they've caused a couple of side effects, too.)  Then he said he thought an MRI would possibly help see what the problem was, because the X-rays had been inconclusive and the my neurologist's office hadn't shared the MRI results from scanning my lower back.  

The first MRI had been of limited value, to me.  The doctor said I have the spine of a healthy 19 year old, and that the nerve pain and numbness in my leg is due to an irritated femoral nerve.  He offered me a prescription for painkillers.  I didn't take it.  I want the problem corrected, not glazed over.  I don't want surgery, either.  I was hoping for maybe some physical therapy that would fix me up, though I know that would be painful.  

Another problem with the steroids: I should have continued steadily losing weight from my continued juicing, but my weight loss stopped right after I started the steroids, even though I was still on juice for three meals most days.  My weight just stopped in place.  So I guess it was a good thing I was juicing or I would have gained weight.  

For the MRI, I got to choose music (80s music was my request, and a favorite of the tech, who thanked me afterward) and had big headphones to wear.  The machinery was still pretty loud, though the music gave me something else to focus on.  My feet were taped together, and there was a heavy frame thing draped over my abdomen.  I supposed that was to limit where pictures were taken, to my hip.  

She slid the table I was on into the machine.  It stopped before my nose was actually in the tube, and every so often, it would move me forward another millimeter or two.  That's when I first noticed that if I was in the tube completely, the top would only be a couple of centimeters from touching my nose.  What do people with big noses do? Get it smashed flat?

That's when my claustrophobia, a foe I had thought vanquished, returned to constrict my lungs in a mini anxiety attack.  I was afraid to take a deep breath, because I didn't want to mess up the scan and have to redo it.  I was afraid if I breathed too deeply, I would touch the walls of the tube and freak out.  Then I realized I couldn't take a deep breath at all and the continuous shallow breaths I was taking didn't give me enough oxygen.  

There's nothing so terrible as the frantic longing to fill your lungs with one good, oxygen rich breath, when it is absolutely impossible to do so.  I'm not even sure it was true hyperventilation, because I was breathing slowly, but still feeling like I was there wasn't any oxygen coming into my lungs. Sometimes I can fully inflate my lungs and feel that it wasn't enough.  I suppose that's a trick of the mind I need to conquer, because it plagues me when I run too.

Before long, my taped-together feet gave me the feeling that they couldn't possibly ever move again, even though they were only held loosely together by masking tape over my socks.  I knew that any minute, my right leg was going to spasmodically jerk out of the tape.   

And then... The "what-ifs" started.  I started thinking of random, scary scenarios.  I didn't want to, it just happened.  I started wondering what would happen if I couldn't breathe. It was like being in an extra small coffin, and there wasn't even room to try to break through the lid.  (As if the weight of the dirt on top would allow that, LOL) 

Okay, it wasn't a coffin, but what if zombies attacked?  I started visualizing the undead breaking into the control room first and killing the technician, then coming in where I was, probably looking like a captive Hot Pocket.  I wouldn't be able to wiggle through the hole where my feet were before they grabbed my head and started crunching in. Heck, there would probably be a tug-of-war between my feet and head and I'd get ripped in half.  *shudder*

Okay, now I was being ridiculous.  Zombies aren't real. Then Final Destination scenarios started going through my head.  I went from being magnetically cooked, to having all the metal in my system ripped through my organs and skin, to the machine exploding and impaling me like a skishkabob inside.  

About that time the tech asked how I was doing.  I lied and said I was okay.  The next time she asked, fifteen minutes later, I lied again, but she said there were only 14 minutes or so left in the test so I really tried focusing on the music and not my impending gory demise.

Next time.... I'm going to ask for a small dose of Valium before I put myself through that.  Or drink some wine before I go in.  And some sort of back pillow, too, because that killed my lower back.  Ouch...

Let's not fool ourselves... Claustrophobia doesn't really get cured, does it?  I still can't handle a crowd of people pressing tightly around me, and I don't like it when someone gets into my personal space without warning or permission.  Including a sudden, passionate kiss I received back in the summertime.  At the time, I hadn't decided that I wanted anyone physically that close to me, so the kiss startled me and I may have unintentionally recoiled as a result.  I apologize, if that was the case, though I'm sure the kisser doesn't really care how I feel anyway.  I suppose it truly is ancient history, per his choice.

I'm really tired of the OtterBox picture always showing up, so I'm going to try to replace it with something else.  Cross your paws.  Maybe a little Jaqen H'ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) first?

 (You should see the video of him reading his lines on helium.  That's hilarious!)

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