The Veterans Administration decided to send me to an MS specialist. This civilian doctor wanted to look at my most up to date MRI that I had. “I have not had an MRI in over twelve years,” I said in a matter of fact tone. I explained to her that my last MRI was done at a hospital downtown in 2005-2006. I then remarked that the VA has copies of these images if you cannot get them from the hospital. I told her that they should be available upon her request. She decided that she wanted to get a new MRI of my brain.
To get the most accurate results this doctor sent me for this MRI at her facility. However, in my back I have four pieces I will call them metal confetti for a more fun term. Because of these metal pieces, they had to take an X-ray before the MRI to verify the location.
I was taken into an office for an abundance of check-in questions. The clerk verified that I was the same person who was in their computer system. She did this by asking me many verifying personal questions. Things could have gone much faster if she had asked me for my state ID. I suppose that there is a reason that they do things this way and I am not privy to that reasoning. The entire session in her office lasted about five minutes.
She then handed me off to a new person who had a tiny three-walled room. This medically trained individual began to ask me a plethora of health questions. She was trying to ascertain if I was healthy enough to get an MRI. The MRI contrast chemical has been in the news recently because it has been poisoning people. She wanted to verify my health and make sure that I would not also be poisoned. These questions gave her insight to the rest of my general health as well.
Next, I was taken to the X-ray and MRI preparation area. I learned that I apparently do not weigh as much as I thought that I do. The medical staffers picked me up out of my chair and carefully placed me onto the bed. At that point in one smooth movement, one staff member removed my shorts. I had removed my shirt earlier. At the same time, another person adorned me in a hospital gown. They also took my watch and told me that they would take my gasses later. Lastly, they put an IV in my arm for the contrast chemical.
I was asked if I was cold and would I like a blanket. I said no thank you and the nurse double checked by asking if I was sure. When I said that I was comfortable, she came back with a blanket that felt like it was from an oven. I respectfully said thank you and proceeded to pull it down to my belly button and up to my upper thighs. “Is that too hot? Would you like a sheet?” she asked. “Yes please,” I said smiling. I was trying to hide my annoyance since I said that I did not want a blanket in the first place.
Then my Marine Corps training came into play with four little words: hurry up and wait. Sadly, they had no music playing, and there was no television in sight. Every once in a while someone would come in and annoy me. I say that because they would come in for twenty seconds ask a question and then leave. I was board out of my mind as I could hear their conversation happening elsewhere. I only wish that they had brought the conversation near me, alas I was not in their click.
The building that these images were taken in was an old structure. Everything definitely looked clean. However, the imaging equipment was on the lower level, and the surroundings looked dark. This is in contrast to newer hospitals that tend to be extremely bright and white.
They wheeled me through the halls and down the corridor and into a smallish room. The x-ray tech had a flat panel of some sort that was approximately two foot by one foot. Her mission should she choose to accept it was to slip this panel under my back and rump. She completed the task with ease. “Take a deep breath and hold it,” she requested. When I did, I heard a click. “Ok you can breathe now” she let me know. The image showed three pieces of this metal confetti-remember happy term. She was not sure if they would be impacted by the magnets in the MRI machine.
I was then taken back to the dark and dull area for more waiting. Sadly, I was not tired, so I could not sleep nor did I have my phone so no music, book or internet. There was only time for more waiting.
After what felt like several days I was taken ten feet to the MRI room. They pulled the bed next to the table that slides into this giant magnetic tube. She asked me what type of music that I wanted to listen to. She put headphones in my ears as well as earplugs of some sort. The final task was to put a cage over my head and glide me into this narrow magnetic tunnel.
A minute later her voice came through asking if the volume of the music was acceptable. “This session will last five minutes. Squeeze the ball I gave you if you need anything.” She let me know. Two seconds later the jackhammering sounds began. I realized that now I need that oven baked blanket. There was enough of a cool breeze in the tunnel that I could have flown a kite.
When the banging ended her voice asked me if I was ok and if I needed anything. “Can I have a blanket please?” I asked “There is a cold wind showing signs of an early winter” I proclaimed. She apparently did not have a sense of humor and quietly said sure and covered me with a blanket. The entire scan was filled with more jackhammering. Peppered in the loud banging was her voice asking if everything was ok.
All said and done the entire appointment took three and a half hours. After the MRI they moved quickly to send me on my way. Without haste, they carefully removed the IV from my arm. MS has taught me to have the patience of Jobe because nothing I do is fast except when I race a turtle. However, one of the nurses got fidgety when I put my watch on as I was not moving fast enough.
I could tell that I was not moving expeditiously enough for her as she preferred. As we walked towards the waiting area, she kept asking me if I wanted her to push me. I pulled my big boy pants on and made it to the car all by myself. I even got into the SUV with no assistance or difficulty. I was very apologetic to my dad the driver because I did not know that the appointment would take so long.
“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”