Read this first for a tumor refresher.
I am lying on my back in a metal tube. Not flat on my back but slightly tilted toward my right side. My left arm is raised up with my hand wrapped around my head.
It occurs to me that I might look like Elizabeth Wurtzel on her book cover although older, not as skinny and without the dead eyes (maybe).
I don’t have dead eyes, at least not now, because my eyes are closed. Keeping one’s eyes closed is Rule #1 of not freaking out during an MRI. Rule #2 for most people is taking Xanax, but I am disciplined – for once in my life – about not opening my eyes so I don’t need Rule #2.
One of my current favorite things about myself is that I have a wonderful ability to sleep through MRIs even though they are generally forty-five minutes of loud clanking. I have had many, many MRIs because of clumsiness and this stupid tumor-lesion-thing and I’m pretty sure I have never once stayed awake.
Sidebar: when I broke my wrist, I had to go into the MRI tube Superwoman style, lying on my stomach with my right arm forward like I was boldly flying past the Empire State Building. Maybe I stayed awake for that one, but it’s unlikely.
Nothing about the start of this most recent MRI was auspicious.
“Have you ever had an MRI?” asked Sam, the MRI technician.
“Yes, here,” I replied, thinking “I’m pretty sure you did one of my previous MRIs, Sam, and it took twice as long as it should have so, like, yay, not-great to see you again.”
Sam said “hm” like this was both news to him and also troubling.
He didn’t seem to have my previous MRI reports and images in the file he held in his hand. The file should be thicker because the lesion in my humerus was found in 2011 and I’ve had a lot of tests and measurements since then.
Keep in mind that reason numero uno for me traipsing way uptown to a somewhat dingy basement MRI facility that’s a bit of a walk from the super-slow 6 train stop is for consistency: I’d really like the measurement of my lesion to be consistent because if there’s a change, Doctor-man will want to slice open my arm with a scalpel that leaves a scar of at least ten centimeters and put me out of commission for at least two months.
While scars on men might be intriguing, no such luck for women. Dating is hard enough so let’s try to avoid the cutting, shall we?
In spite of me having emailed the prescription in advance, Sam had set up for the wrong scan. He decided this after having me sit and then lie on the table that slides into the tube.
“Sit over there for me. I want to make sure we get this right.”
“Gee, thanks,” I thought to myself, smiling instead of saying anything. Snark felt warranted, but I recognized that saying the wrong thing could stretch my one-ish hour appointment to two or more.
Sam changed plates and pads, fiddling with the cage-like thing that would help focus the M part of the MRI. He had me sit on the table again and almost as quickly, had me get down.
COME ON, DUDE.
Once Sam was finally satisfied with his handiwork, I got myself into the position he wanted. And tweaked. And shifted an inch. And turned a little. And then leaned in. Finally he either approved of my body positioning or just gave up, taping the weird cage transponder thing over my arm, chest and chin. Perfect.
Sam gave me the panic button and in-ear ear plugs to deal with the noise, but not the over-ear headphones with music (jerk!) so I never got to make my request for Sia and Taylor Swift. But I fell asleep so it’s OK.
By the time I was done, changed back into my clothes and out the door, it was 6:45. Thanks, Sam, you damn slow poke.
And now I wait: follow-up appointment with the doctor isn’t until early October unless something opens up sooner. I’ll keep you posted.