Thursday, March 29, 2012

MRI's ... take 2

Yesterday was quite an "interesting" experience for me.  Hmm, anytime I say the word interesting with quotations around it, it's safe to assume I'm being sarcastic.  Last month, I wrote about my experience with attempting to get three MRI's done.  There was a tight fit for me squeezing into the machine, so we decided to try an open MRI machine instead.  So, I arrived at 10:40 a.m. for an 11:10 appointment.  They told me to come early so that I could do some paperwork.  Fine, no problem.  I had one of my Optifast shakes in the car on the way down there.  They took a copy of my driver's license and had me sit down to wait.  After about 20 minutes, I was starting to get antsy.  One of the guys in the waiting room arrived before I did and the other one arrived after I did - all of us kept looking at the clock.  It was then 40 minutes, then an hour.  I understand that sometimes things run behind at a doctor's office, but really?  Finally, the first guy asks how much longer it was going to be.  One of the receptionists then tells him it would be another hour.  Pardon me??  I asked for clarification, thinking I surely must have heard her wrong.  She said that the doctor only comes 1-2 times per month for the procedures that require him to be there, most everything else is done by techs.  So on those days, they pretty much need to schedule everyone at the same time.  [One of the procedures I needed required a doctor to inject some dye into my body around a surgery site.]  However, in my situation, they were going to let both guys go ahead of me because they wanted to do all three of my procedures at once.  I told her that I understood that it wasn't her fault, but that I should have been told about the long wait when I scheduled my appointment because I had to leave my job to do so.  Grrr.

After 3 hours of waiting, they finally take me to the back to do the paperwork I was supposed to do when I arrived early.  Then I got to go in and see the doctor.  The injections in my wrist were painful, but I pushed through and it was fine.  Next I was put in a room so that I could take off any clothing that had metal (including clasps, zippers, etc.).  Since my pants had metal in them, they gave me a pair of pants that looked like scrubs to put on.  I stared at them and then thought, Oh no, what if they don't fit?  Granted, I've lost a lot of weight so far, but I have a long road still to go and I started to worry that they wouldn't fit over my tummy.  I took off my shoes, took off my pants and then discovered that, lo and behold, that's exactly what happened.  I peeked around the corner and motioned the nurse over, told her what happened and dealt with the look on her face that was a mixture of disbelief that they didn't fit and an attempt to hide the expression she had from me.  Since I only had one metal clasp on my pants, she said it shouldn't be a problem.  So I left my shoes in that room and went over to the next waiting area for my turn in the machine.

When I got in the room where the machine was, the technician told me that I would be having 3 MRI's done - one on my right wrist, one on my left wrist and one on my neck.  For the ones on my wrists, I would have to be standing.  Each wrist MRI was going to take 17 minutes.  I could not move, even a little bit.  The machine looks very similar to the one pictured here.  However, because I had to put my hand through a little circle-shaped opening, I would have to be facing the side each time (not looking ahead like this man is doing).  And the machine is very loud, too.  Okay, 17 minutes, it can't be that long, right?  So I started with the wrist with the most pain, my right.  I was doing good, but there was nothing to stare at except the whiteness of the machine.  Then one of my legs started to hurt because I was standing there, leaning against nothing and not moving, with only socks on my feet.  You know that scene at the end of Psycho where Norman Bates is in custody and a fly is fluttering around his head but he doesn't move an inch?  That's exactly what I felt like.  Yet, I made it through.  Whew, 17 minutes is loooong! 

Next up was turning around and doing the left hand, again for 17 minutes.  I asked the technician if I could run and put on my shoes at least, which was fine.  I got in the machine again and started off fine.  However, after about 5 minutes, my vision was starting to get blurry.  I had to tell myself to just shake it off and push through.  Another few minutes, there was some blackness that was starting to occur and the next thing I knew, my body was starting to shut down and I actually blacked out completely.  I fell to the floor, although I don't know if I was conscious during the fall or if I came to after I hit the concrete underneath me, but I actually fainted and hit the deck!

They rushed me to another room to have me lay down.  Everything was still very blurry as I laid there and drank some water.  What just happened?  The doctor had me describe what was going on.  I did tell him about my Optifast journey and that I'm supposed to have shakes every 3- to 3 1/2 hours.  At that point, it had been 5 hours.  Could that be it?  He said it's actually a quite common occurrence to have patients faint in the machine, about one in five do the same thing.  They offered me jalapeno chips to eat to see if that would help with my tummy.  I was in a big dilemma.  What do I do ... eat food on the guess that it had to do with going so long without shakes?  We weren't sure.  I could have just been one of the people that faints because of the staring of the wall and the loud whirring that makes you nauseous.  We decided to reschedule for another day.  After resting for a while and drinking more water, I headed back down to my car.  They told me there were a ton of fast food places to go to maybe eat something.  I told myself that if, by the time I got to my car, I didn't have my bearings and felt immediate food would help, I would try to get something very light and healthy.  It would not be an excuse for me to gorge on a burger and fries for the sake of the moment.  After having laid down for a while and having so much water, I was feeling a lot better.  Not great, but better.  I decided to wait until I got back to my office, which was about 15-20ish minutes away and just have a shake.  I have not deviated from my nutritional plan not even a little, being 110% committed, and I just didn't want to do anything to jeopardize that now.

Later in the evening, my body was really starting to hurt from the fall.  I don't know if I hit the corner of the machine on the way down, but my side and right arm were in extreme pain.  When I woke up this morning, the pain was tenfold and eventually spread to my back, too.  I decided to take care of myself and stayed home from work.  Given I could hardly move without lots of pain, that was probably the best idea.  I do really have to look at that whole situation and ask myself if eating a little something would have helped since I didn't have an extra shake with me (a lesson about replenishing my stash in my car for sure) or if I did the right thing and just waited.  Regardless, I will be going for a third time to finish these MRI's ... God willing!!  I did call the Optifast clinic and asked them what to do for the next time I have to do this and they told me to bring extra shakes in my purse, just in case!  I did ask the receptionist if I would need to wait 3 hours again and she said since I would not need to see the doctor, no, I would be able to go right in next time.  We'll just have to see about that.


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