Saturday, 18 April 2009


My first response, when the knee consultant said he was referring me for an MRI scan, was boring and thoroughly unblogworthy. Something like, "Oh, okay."

In the three weeks between then and getting an appointment, however, I cunningly managed to accumulate fear through a process known as reading.

First I read on Wikipedia that they might have to inject my knee with 'something' to make it scan better - and I'm a recovering needlephobic which, a bit like being a recovering alcoholic, is something that never really leaves you.

Then there's the fact that the internet - and even the MRI centre's own website - was full of information on how terribly dangerous this strength of magnet could be if there was any loose metal around. I came away with the impression that there should be NO metal in the room (or ideally the whole building!) and carefully left my wedding ring at home in case I forgot to take it off.

So, on Wednesday I went for my scan. Metal-less, aside from an underwired bra (really not optional!) and the studs on my jeans pockets. My husband drove me to the clinic, sat with me while I waited (getting gradually more nervous), and drank my hot chocolate for me when I declared it to be too sweet. (Oh, how I love him!)

Then the MRI operator came to get me, and I followed him into a room that looked very like this:

'De MRI-scanner' by LodewijkB.
(photo from Flickr because I didn't have my camera with me)

"Don't I need to get changed?" I asked as I was ushered in to the room.

"No, you're fine."

"But... I'm wearing an underwired bra!" (Yep, I'm sure he really wanted to know that.) "And I have metal studs on my jeans!"

Apparently, the dangers of MRI magnets are somewhat overstated. Apparently, it's okay to have metal on your clothes only a foot from the machine. Apparently.

As I was instructed on how to lie down and fit my leg into the funny knee-scanning tube, I have to confess it didn't feel all that fine. Even for a knee scan you end up so far inside that machine that when you look up, all you can see is scanner. So I closed my eyes, listened to the radio (they kindly provide headphones), and tried to pretend I was somewhere else.

This was made harder by the fact that you don't just have one MRI scan, you have a sequence of them. Every time the operator wanted to speak to me, the radio would stop and a disembodied voice would come through the headphones: "The next scan will take three minutes." This was quickly followed by the machine starting to vibrate, while I tried desperately to keep still - because if you move, it wrecks the result and they have to do it again.

Ah, fun times!

In any case, I can report that it doesn't hurt, my fears were definitely unfounded - but I was so glad to get out of that machine! Next time I have to have a funny medical procedure I'm not going to read up on it first.

I get my results on May 5th, let's hope they find some answers in there somewhere....


gigi said...

Good luck with those results. My DIL just found out she needs a little more knee surgery sometime soon. It's always something :)

Chef E said...

Yes, good luck with the results...should I consider a wheelchair for you? Or a Segway tour of NYC :)...My daughter had to do that, and they had to redo it because she would not stay still, so they gave her a sedative...

Kazzy said...

I hope you get some answers. I have never had an MRI but one of my boys has.

Blame it on the weather man said...

Hi Rachel thanks so much for the wee comment on my blog!! just to say hope everything works out okay for you and best of luck for your results!!

Jeanne said...

So now I'm wondering, if you happened to have, say, a BB in your breast, would the machine suck it in? Or would it be like the studs on the jeans?

Debbie said...

I hope you only get good results.
I've never had an MRI and they do kinda freak me out. And I hate any test where they tell you to "breathe normal". Then, I forget how to breathe.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the results. Hope you don't need surgery.
Did you ever see the episode of "House", when doing a MRI on a guy, the doctors wound up pulling a needle from his stomache through his intestines? Never again will I venture into one of those!

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