Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Monday was time for my followup MRI of the brain. Normally things go quite smoothly there and I generally fall asleep during the MRI. I was exceptionally tired Monday morning and ready to take a good snooze in the machine as I stayed up late the night prior.

As I was waiting out in the lobby, one of the ladies working there came out to inform me (in writing) that they were behind schedule and that my MRI would take place within 30-45 minutes. My concern regarding the push to a later time is that I had an appointment with my doctor afterward in the north part of town. I had no idea what the traffic was going to be like and if I could get there in time. So I asked them to call the NW Tumor Institute because I might be late. I was also concerned on whether the captioner for the appointment would be able to stay later as they generally have tight schedules and go from one appointment to the next which might be in totally different locations (such as Bellevue instead of Seattle). Yet I was assured that I would get there in time.

The selection of magazines was rather dry in the front so I walked to the patient waiting area down the hall where there was a plethora of magazines. I picked up an interesting looking Home and Garden magazine and thumbed through practically the whole thing. I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. I ended up dozing off in a very anti-posture promoting position. When I awoke it seemed as if I had been there for a long time.

I noticed somebody else getting the outfit for the MRI which just could not be right. I had been the first one there! To my left was a man sitting there waiting also. I purused through the magazine some more and then I just could not stand it anymore. I turned to him and told him I was deaf and asked if he had a watch. Unlike most hearing people, he knew exactly what to do. Instead of opening his mouth, he sh0wed me his watch an angle where I could definitely see it. It was noon! I had been there for an hour and a half and my doctor appointment was for 1 pm in another part of town!

In a panic I went down to the front desk and asked them what was going on and stated that I was definitely going to be late for my appointment. They called over to the doctor's office and told them I was going to be a half hour late. I went back to the reception area and the man that was waiting there with me was now dressed for his MRI.

When I finally got in there was a new radiology technician. He was nice but I was worried on whether he was going to be able to get a vein for the contrast die. In the past many people have had difficulties and other facilities have had to call in an anesthesiologist or send me to the chemo ward for an IV nurse. So knowing that nobody like that was available, I took a deep breath and kindly explained the whole procedure (what veins work best, which to avoid, size and type of needle to use, and to place a hot pad or water bottle on the hands).

It took him two tries. I thought he might of had it on the first try because he was there for quite a while. I think he was trying to be extra careful and gentle. I was disappointed when he moved to the other hand (Keep in mind that I can't hear anything and my head is locked in a cage position while I am lying flat on my back. Thus I can't see what is going on either. I must just sit, wait, and hope for the best.) I have learned to try to feel for the contrast dye going in as it is a little cold and I can generally smell the sterile solution. When I thought I could sense this, I gave him a thumb up and he gave me a thumb up back where I could see it.

Why was I lying down? The procedure is first to administer the MRI without the contrast dye. This is usually what people have done or normal protocol unless there is the signifcant presence of something such as brain tumors where the dye will show more detail. Therefore, the first 15 minutes of the MRI are without the dye and I definitely was able to take a good nap (seemed too short).

I must have been anxious from the needle episode because I had a hard time falling back asleep this time after the dye was added. For some reason the back of my damn head burned like fire! What is terrible is that I could not move my head to reposition it! This happened in one of my cyberknife treatments. The best way I can explain it is for those who have long hair but a sensitive scalp. Every once in a great while my scalp will get really sore from having my hair tied in a ponytail (which is the way I had it for cyberknife so they could fit the mask over my face).

Anyhow, my head must have been in a position it did not agree with and was too tightly pressed into the table. It was awful! I wanted to move and reposition so badly but I couldn't or we would have to redo the entire MRI over again. I sat there barely standing it and trying to remember not to move my head so I fidgeted with my hands instead. I was just about to raise my hand to get out of there when I felt the table being pulled from the giant donut machine. Ahh, freedom! Now I could cool off my head.

I got out of there at 1:15 pm and had 15 minutes to get to North Seattle where my appointment with the doctor was located. Fortunately I had no traffic and was able to get there by 1:30 pm.

Seeing as I have ranted on for so long about just getting the MRI, I will create another post about my doctor appointment (which goes along with the title but I did not have to physically wait to get into my appointment). This afternoon I have to go back to the MRI place for a followup MRI of my spine. My back and neck have been stiff/sore for at least a month and I need to get it checked out inside before I go to a chiropractor. My last spinal MRI was in January of this year and I do have a few tumors located there (last I knew there were small).

Until then, have a great day!


Anonymous said...

Damn babygirl!! I feel for ya, hope the pain didn't last long.
Loves ya!

Steven said...

Oh, I *hate* that when they don't put a cushion under your head, or your head just "sits" wrong! I had my entire brain and spine done (thoracic, lumbar and cervical) with dye all at once, which takes almost an hour, and I thought my head was going to be in a pool of blood when they finished, it hurt so bad. (and NO, I don't wear a ponytail! :P ) I was on that angular part where the head goes from almost vertical to sloping down to the neck. It felt like one giant bruise afterwards, like I had fallen and hit that spot on a brick wall.

Anyway, hope you get good news!

Rebecca said...

Yeah well there actually was like a cushion pad in the head rest. The guy at the MRI place said it was from the pressure of my head afer it happened again during the spinal MRI. Gosh I really could barely stand it! It was worse than the first time. I thought there was something wrong with the machine but it was fine when I climbed out.

The back of my skull is very lumpy. I think I might have a fatty tumor (small one) on the back there because I pressed on this gushy area that hurt on the way home.

The doctor I saw yesterday said sometimes heat is created by the magnets in the machine. When I asked what could be done he said take a vicadin (which I am allergic too) or some coedine.

Go figure!

Rebecca said...

Ya know.......I was at the dentist today getting a temporary crown. Of course I was in the chair a long time. I was really tired and tried to nap when it was not necessary for me to pay attention and have my eyes open. Then I started to think how I spend longer in a dentist chair compared to an MRI. I wondered why the back of my head did not hurt. It then occured to me that I can move around and adjust myself as needed in the chair as opposed to the MRI when one MUST keep still. Maybe it has something with not being able to move at all for an extended period and the position (the head is down much more than in a dentist chair). One can only wonder. I just hope it does not continue to be a problem every 3-6 months.