M-MRI Sharona

I got strapped down and shoved into a tube today.

After a bunch of insurance paper wrangling, I finally got down for my MRI today to check out these cysts on my kidneys. One of the questions on the paperwork I had to fill out beforehand — along with being asked about every possible piece of metal that might somehow be in my body — was if I was claustrophobic. I was pretty sure I wasn’t, so I checked no.

I might be now.

It didn’t look that bad from the outside. The machine was only about three feet long, open on both ends. I shrugged through getting the IV in my arm — it’s the fourth one I’ve had since January, it’s become old hat — got a cool pair of headphones with some classical music playing, laid down comfortably, and waited. Then they rolled me inside.

I had gravely underestimated exactly how much room there was in this thing. I probably could have stuck my tongue out and touched the top with no effort whatsoever, it was that tight. One good sneeze and I would have been unconscious. The tech running the test asked me how I was doing, and I hesitated — I wasn’t sure I could stay in here for the 45 minutes he said the tests would take. But then I noticed that if I craned my neck up, I could see out the other end of the tube and see the walls and the ceiling of the office. That made all the difference, being able to see a surface that wasn’t half an inch from my head. He also let Hannah come and sit down at that end, and though I could barely see her, I could talk to her, so I didn’t have to lay there and concentrate on the fact that I had been shoved into a torpedo.

It actually took less time than I expected. I repeatedly had to hold my breath for fifteen-second intervals in order to get a good scan, the tech instructing me each time to “Hold your breath, don’t breathe.” Seeing the position I was in, I decided it wouldn’t be prudent to ask just how I could hold my breath and breathe at the same time.

And then I was done, and now I wait. The awful part is, my nephrologist told me that, unless there was something to tell me (as in, “Yes, you have cancer”), I wouldn’t hear from them until my follow-up in July. The tech said the results take two days. So now I get to spend the next two days hoping I don’t get a phone call.

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