Room 101

10 08 2009

I arrived at the Royal Free hospital in north London and made my way to the MRI department. There, the nurse took out a sheet of paper and mumbled while looking at the floor. I stopped her and told her I’m deaf, I can’t hear you, so you need to speak clearly and look at me when speaking. When she spoke again, the difference was like switching the light on. It’s amazing what a huge difference a little deaf awareness can make. She took me through a series of questions, double checking my answers on my medical history. I almost laughed when she asked me twice if I had ever had metal fragments in my eyes, even as a child. Err, noooooo, I don’t *think* so my dear – I’d surely remember something like that!

I was shown through a door into a small room with a huge machine squeezed into it. So this was the MRI scanner. It was a beast, a huge white gaping maw with a table for a tongue. The room was cold. Absolutely freezing, in fact. I was asked to remove my watch, hearing aids, coins and belt. I was worried about my jeans as those had studs on the pockets and a metal zip, but the nurse assured me I could keep them on. I had visions of the scanner, when switched on, splatting me against the roof with its powerful magnet.

I hopped up onto the table and laid down. I was given a huge pair of headphones to wear and told that I would hear a drilling sound. There was a small plastic cage at the head of the table, and I had to put my head inside this. The nurse wedged my head in firmly with foam wedges. She pointed to the mirror above me which reflected at an angle to show the large window of the scanner operations room. I was given an alarm to hold and told to squeeze it if I felt uncomfortable. I was slowly pulled backward from the mouth of the tunnel into its depths, with my head inside the beast’s mouth. The nurse left the room and I could see her enter the operations room.

A few moments later, I could faintly hear a drilling sound. It was like being in a nightclub but not hearing it clearly, as if it was an extremely good party at the neighbour’s. (No, it should be at mine!) It stopped and started at different pitches, I guess there were four sessions of different drilling sounds. Even though the room was cold, I fell asleep, dreaming of George Orwell’s 1984 and Room 101. The cage. My head inside the cage. My worst nightmare inside the cage with me…… no cockroaches… in fact I didn’t find out what it was as the nurse came in and I woke up.

The scanner results will take 2 weeks to get to the surgeon. Next step is a CT scan. But first – I’m off on holiday! I’ll be back soon.

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5 responses

11 08 2009
speakuplibrarian

Oooh, I had an MRI in 2008 to try and find out what was causing my migraines. A friend who had had one before said it sounded like jack hammers and advised me to get a pill to help me relax. So I did. This same friend drove me to the appointment. I told her I wasn’t wearing my hearing aids and might need her help communicating with the front desk. She forgot and sat down right away in the waiting room. I was completely baffled when the nurse asked to see my driver’s license. She didn’t look at me when she spoke. Then my friend came to help me. Bringing foam earplugs and having the pill helped me cope with the experience so it wasn’t too bad for me. I found waiting for the test results the hardest part. Fortunately mine were fine.
Enjoy your holiday! The CT scan should be a piece of cake after this test.

15 09 2009
macian

wow that surprises me, i didn’t know it made any noise! I too fell asleep, but quicker than you I’m guessing lol

27 10 2010
mimi

BTW how long did the test take? Because everyone seems to be able to fall asleep. I am not sure if I would be able to, but that would be nice. That way I am not thinking about being in that head cage lol

27 10 2010
Funnyoldlife

This test took about 30 minutes I think.

27 10 2010
mimi

Thanks!!

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