Had an MRI today. Which I'm more or less okay with. It's been a year and a half since I had one, and the paranoia of what could be wrong with me has settled in the past 6 months, so I finally was able to convince my Neurologist that it was time for another. (also, for a week, my toes had been tingly, once a day, for about 30 seconds, so that was enough to convince her, apparently)
I've been getting MRIs my entire life. When I was younger, I needed to be sedated to be able to get a proper reading. I tried books on tape once, but it didn't work. Now I don't really mind laying there still for an hour or more until it is done. It's kind of cozy. If someone my age or older was getting an MRI for the first time, the enclosed space and grinding and whirring noises may be disconcerting, but to me it has this weird comforting familiar quality to it. It's cozy. My mind drifts in and out of musicals I like, blog posts I'd like to write, I doze, and wiggle my fingers to relieve the urge to move.
My spine is easier to do. I can afford to wiggle my fingers and toes, as the movement wont really reach my spine. But my head is agonizing. I can't hardly move period. But for now, it's just my spine.
Getting an MRI isn't a big deal to me. It's not something I'd bring up in normal conversation, but it's normal. It's not something I get every month or even every 6 months, but it's normal and everyday enough for me to be okay with it and not think anything odd of it at all. Just another day, stuck in a tube.
So I got to the hospital, finally managed to get parked and find my way to the MRI department.
Turns out, I went to the wrong place. Wrong building altogether.
Now, I've been getting MRIs at the same hospital since I was about 2 years old. I remember getting whatever disgusting tasting medicine to put me to sleep and I'd watch Eureka's Castle while waiting for it to kick in. But I knew better. I was too smart for that! I'd fight sleep off. Refusing to let myself fall asleep. Because I knew what would happen. But I'd sooner or later succumb to the syrup (which, at the moment. I remember the taste as strongly as if I just took it. My stomach feels queasy at the very thought), and fall asleep and I'd wake up groggy some time later.
But they made a call and sent me on my way to the proper place. When I got there, I felt like I was in the wrong place. But I went in, and found the department. I apologized for being mixed up and I filled out the same old paperwork. When it asked why I was getting an MRI, I filled in "NF1" with no hesitation or anything. And it felt good. I was actually acknowledging I had this thing.
The Technician took me and sat me down, asking questions, like why I was getting this, how long have I had (or known I had) Nf, and what symptoms I had, how frequent, and such. I told her "NF1. 6 weeks. Mris since age 2. Infrequent nerve pain and recent tinglyness in my feet." It was so weird. When I used to be asked about NF, I'd be so overwhelmed with unexplainable upset that I wanted to cry and I'd get nervous. Now it was no big deal. It was so refreshing to embrace this.
She went over the MRI stuff; keeping still, the contrast shot that I wouldn't need. But I'd heard this laying still thing a thousand times. I'm quite good at it.
I finally got into the little tube with ear plugs and I was put in. My New NF friend had reminded me that music was usually a good option, but I never use it. I have incredibly bad music ADD. I rarely listen to the whole song right to the end. Sometimes I'll skip to the next song midway. Usually I skip to the next song right before it ends. I think it's a control issue. I think I like being in control of my ipod and other things because growing up I had no control over my NF, my medication, doctors appointments and humiliating children hospital visits. So I was bossy growing up and now I like to be in control of my Ipod (it drives Matthew crazy)
The usual whirrls and clanks and scanner noises were loud, but not annoying. It kept me still and put me in this groggy daze. Loud, annoyingish white noise. Sooner or later you start to hear the sounds within the sounds. The tap-tap-tapping within the "Brrrt, brrrt, brrrts" and "taankstaankstaanks." And if you go really crazy, you start to hear the noises turn into words.
I drifted in and out of my head. Thinking about this post and half forgotten songs from "Newsies" ("That's my cigar!" "You'll steal anudder!" "Hey bummers we got work ta do!" Oh God, stop me right now.)
I also kept my eyes closed, to try and doze. But I also ended up thinking about how small this thing was. Could a person weighing even ten pounds more than myself fit in here? What about severely overweight people? I felt like I was barely contained in this tiny thing.
I was done. I asked the Technician how long I'd been there, because I felt the usual grogginess. She told me "You were in there a long time! Forty-five minutes!" She said. To which I replied that that wasn't too bad. I wanted to tell her I'd been in an MRI for over two hours before, but I didn't. Forty-five minutes wasn't long at all. It's almost a whole episode of "Real Housewives of New York City" or the time it takes to bake an apple pie. 45 minutes was nothing to me.
When I was done with the MRI, I considered what I wanted for lunch. I was craving a hamburger and vanilla milkshake from Friendly's. When I was little, my mother would bribe us to do things with food. For my MRIs it was Friendly's. For my brother's haircuts, it was mousse cups from a bakery. I remember one MRI where I wanted a milkshake and the Grandmotherly looking waitress brought me a gigantic adult sized milkshake and I couldn't fathom the size, or why she'd brought it.
Instead, I went to Trader Joes to pick up some stuff for dinner. I saw the not-so-common chocolate Joe-Joes (Trader Joe's Oreos) and grabbed a box. A little, psychological treat for myself for being so good. It's funny I did that. That at 23, I still craved a little something for good behavior.
I'll get the results from my Doctor in about three days. We'll see what happens. But to me, it was just another day. Stuck in a tube.