Hospital visit fine; don’t want to be a regular

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 2, 2001

“It ain’t too bad except for noise,” my dad said.

“You aren’t claustrophobic are you?” the assistant asked.

“How nervous are you?” my aunt asked.

“Close your eyes when you get in there and think about somethingelse,” my cousin advised.

Although it may sound like it, those words weren’t offered inpreparation for my navigating a haunted house or any other spookyHalloween adventure. No, they were questions or comments I heardprior to an MRI I had done Thursday afternoon.

I needed the MRI because of some neck, shoulder and armdiscomfort I’ve been having lately. An X-ray showed some vertebraenarrowing, and doctors wanted more detail that an MRI provides.

The assistant’s question was actually something the nurse askedwhile trying to schedule the procedure. The other three statementswere from relatives who’ve had MRIs in the past.

Granted, an MRI is not like surgery or any invasive procedure.But aside from an emergency room visit after a tree ran out infront of my car a few years ago, my experience withbeyond-the-routine hospital visits is limited.

My relatives were right about the noise, claustrophobia andother things that could make an MRI experience unpleasant.

“They’re all true,” the technician said as we walked into theback of an 18-wheeler that transports the MRI machine to certainhospitals on certain days. “We’re here today, gone tomorrow.”

My dad compared the noise to a machine gun. There was that, butthere was also something that sounded like a bunch to militarytroops marching in close step.

As far as the noise, let’s say it’s got a good beat, but youcan’t dance to it.

About the close quarters, I’m not claustrophobic, but I can seewhere some people could get real uncomfortable real quickly.

Not only can you not dance, you’re not supposed to move at all,and there’s not much to look at inside the tunnel. My head andshoulders were immobilized, so I had good straight forward view ofnothing.

Overall, it’s fairly boring.

I did get some work done while in the machine, though.

Part of the device keeping my head still crossed in front of myface like a quarterback’s face mask.

I started thinking about my fantasy football lineup for thisweekend and decided going with Ricky Williams in the Saints-Jetsgame might be a good move. We’ll see.

The MRI procedure took about 15 minutes total. Listening to thechanging sound patterns and contemplating football moves made thetime pass pretty quickly.

The technician said the machine was able to get some good imagesof my spine. I soon should be hearing something from the doctorsabout what they show.

While my MRI experience wasn’t bad, I’m not really interested inlearning first-hand how any other hospital equipment works. Thatcould give me something to be nervous about.

Write to Matt Coleman at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS39602.