Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer screening’

My little Breast Cancer saga continued this morning: I had an MRI scheduled at 9:30 in the morning at a nearby hospital. Not my local hospital because they don’t have an MRI machine, but a sister hospital within a 20-minute drive. We arrived early, of course, because it was a Sunday morning and there was no traffic.  We wasted ten minutes sitting in the car and trying to count how many Eastern Fox squirrels were in the adjacent trees and shrubbery. I quit counting at ten. That’s a lot of squirrels in a small area.

Checked in at 9:25 and sat down to wait for the tech. Oh, I had about three minutes’ worth of additional paperwork to fill out: “Where does it hurt?” It doesn’t. “Place an ‘x’ on the body part to be scanned” (That was easy). And so on.

Another patient wandered in for an ultrasound. His nurse came and picked him up after about fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, the clock ticked. Trust me, this was the WORST part of the morning: waiting for a full 45 minutes before my tech showed up to usher me back to the machinery. Tick…tick…tick…

The tech was very out-going and so made up for the long wait. The second worst part of the morning (actually, pretty low on the scale of worst to best) was the insertion of the IV.

Wait. I forgot to mention that our eighty-pound beast of a dog jumped on the bed at 6:30AM, firmly landing on my outstretched leg. He heaved himself up onto the bed and subsequently stepped on that same spot before I could withdraw my leg. I have the bruises to prove it. Darn dog!

That was more painful than the IV.

Technology has come a long way since the last time I had an MRI. Back then, the machine was a long tube and my biggest fear was that they would stick me inside that tunnel and forget about me (or the power would go out and they wouldn’t be able to get me back out). Fortunately, I was only having my left knew scanned and got to sit outside the tunnel with just my legs inserted. (I had a torn meniscus at the time.)

Now the machine looks like an oversized CT Scan machine. Open on both ends and not nearly large enough to swallow a human being whole, much less strand them due to forgetfulness or a power outage. WHEW. I declined any sedative at that point: it couldn’t possibly cause me to have a claustrophobic anxiety attack.

Rather, the positioning of the body was the most distasteful part. On my stomach, breasts positioned just so, and hard plastic digging into my sternum with my ribs crushed below. I was certain I would bruise after 25 minutes of that torture, but – alas – it wasn’t that much torture and I endured. And I didn’t bruise. Only where the dog walked on me earlier in the morning.

The tech gave me headphones with music cranked up at front row concert, like at least 85 decibels (probably not that much, but it was pretty loud). I soon learned why the music was so loud: the MRI machine is LOUDER.

Bang! Clang! Alarm! Beep! Boop! Whistle! Vibrate (that actually felt kind of nice). I decided the best way to pass time was to count how many songs played. If a song is three minutes long (standard radio play time back in the day) that it would take 8 songs for 25 minutes to pass. Apparently, songs can run longer in this day and age because I only reached 5 and a half songs before it was over.

When I had ten minutes to go, the tech came on the little radio and told me he was sending the contrast into my system. I half expected to feel something, although he had earlier assured me that the contrast he uses is not the same contrast they use for kidney function: the stuff that makes you feel like you just wet your panties. His contrast, according to his words, is “more Vanilla than that”.

Despite the warning from my drinking friend last Saturday, waiting for the contrast was not horrid. I felt nothing. I heard a lot: whirring, gears grinding, some more beeps and boops and whistles. Some day they will invent an MRI machine that is as silent as a CT-scan machine. Won’t that be amazing?

We left the hospital at 11:00AM and headed to the local food cart pod for breakfast, then across the street for a couple beers with dear friends. By 2:30PM, I realized that all the noise of the day – the MRI, the crowded brew pub, and the loud 80’s MTV music playlist – had worn my sensitivities to too much noise down to a frazzled level of “I just need to go home and be quiet”. Kind of like the night my brother dragged me to some nightmare Casino/kids play area in Reno with greasy cheese pizza and his grandchildren running amok (not ill-behaved, mind you, just bouncing off the walls in the kids playing area with thirty thousand other children) and I crawled into bed later with my Introvert HSP ears ringing.

In summary, the breast cancer screening by MRI is uncomfortable and noisy, but the biggest pain of the day was when Ruger stepped on me and woke me from a dead sleep with a stabbing pain in my lower right leg. And left me with bruises. And the worst part was the 45 minute waiting in a hospital lounge where there was only one other patient, and he only waited fifteen minutes.

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