1. madeleinefarraday
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    madeleinefarraday Member

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    Have you had a MRI done? What was it like? (story research)

    Discussion in 'Research' started by madeleinefarraday, Apr 5, 2013.

    Hi,

    I am doing a scene where a character has a scary experience in a MRI machine. Can anyone tell me what theirs was like?
    1) Did you expect to feel claustrophobic? Did you get a sedative?
    2) Was the technician helpful or irritable or do you remember them for any reason?
    3) Did you hear horror stories beforehand? Metal objects flying about, etc.
    4) Did you have any dye injected first?
    5) Was it noisy? Boring? Did you fall asleep? Did you end the procedure early for any reason?

    Thanks for any help,

    M.
     
  2. TheDistantShip
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    TheDistantShip Member

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    You said any help right? Well I haven't had one but my sis has had several and she said she felt extremely claustrophobic, she said it really freaked her out which isn't exceptionally normal for her. Not much help but I tried.

    -TDS
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I had one a number of years ago.

    I'm not naturally claustrophobic, so I had no trouble with that aspect. But it is a very confined space, so if having a curved wall three inched from your nose, wrapping dimly down behind you bothers you, you may feel panicky.

    They question you very carefully beforehand, and may even wave a metal detector wand over you, to make sure you have no ferromagnetic items in your body - steel pins, plates, or screws in particular. Amalgam fillings in your teeth are okay. No jewelry, no watch, no eyeglasses (don't forget even plastic frames have metal hinges), and you're dressed in a johnny with no metal snaps. The entire MRI room contains no loose metal objects, and the control console is in an adjacent room with a thick window.

    The MRI equipment was in a basement room. When they operated it, there were a series of pulses that thudded a little faster than one per second. Each thud shook the room and the massive MRI machine, which is why they placed it in the basement.
     
  4. Hambone
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    Hambone Member

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    There are some MRI's now that aren't so enclosed as the traditional ones. I had an MRI the traditional way. It is very enclosed, and you are not allowed to move at all. They put headphones on me and let me listen to the local station of my choice at a very loud level. They warned me that the MRI was going to be loud, it was extremely loud. Actually if they wouldn't have warned me about how loud it was going to be, I probably would have climbed out thinking something was wrong with the machine.
     
  5. madeleinefarraday
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    madeleinefarraday Member

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    thanks for the comments. wish i could see a youtube video of the inside, during the procedure. :)
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Eeek, I thought that would just link to the YT site. :eek: Next time I'll just pick one.
     
  8. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've had 5-6 MRIs done over the years (one for my wrist, the rest for my back). So:

    1) Did you expect to feel claustrophobic? Did you get a sedative?
    No and no, didn't need one.

    2) Was the technician helpful or irritable or do you remember them for any reason?
    Always very helpful and friendly. Don't remember any of the staff. I actually think it wasn't a technician, but a nurse who dealt with me. On some of the occasions they even asked if I want to listen to the radio/put on a CD of my own through the protective headphones. The first time I thought I was the only one who could hear the CD so I brought Sacrifist by Praxis (really intense experimental metal with lots of screaming but no lyrics). I was more than a little surprised when one of the nurses chirped "oh great! It's about time we had some other music than the radio in here!" I felt sorry for them, but it was also pretty funny when they all gave me these weird looks when I came out of the machine about an hour later.

    3) Did you hear horror stories beforehand? Metal objects flying about, etc.
    No. Or the ones I might've heard were so silly I paid no attention to them. It's perfectly safe 'cause you don't wear metal into the machine except for precious metals. I always wore my wedding ring while in the machine. They didn't check me or anything, just told me to remove any other metallic items (including pants with metal buttons/zippers etc) so I wore a t-shirt and tracksuit pants along with socks and underwear.

    4) Did you have any dye injected first?
    Nope.

    5) Was it noisy? Boring? Did you fall asleep? Did you end the procedure early for any reason?
    Very noisy, but I always had hearing protection. It's a bit boring perhaps, but each time I fell asleep sooner or later and slept until a nurse came to wake me up when they were done. Never ended it early.

    Once I actually came up with a song idea for my band from listening to the rhythmic thudding of the machine. In a way an MRI machine sounds a bit like Meshuggah.
     
  9. northernadams
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    northernadams Member

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    I had one almost 30 years ago, and it was in the tube MRIs as pictured above. I was extremely claustrophobic. They have open ones now, but I think those were very new back then, and not many hospitals had them yet.

    I ended up having to come back the following day. They wanted to give me a valium, and I'm just not big on those kinds of pills--I was more afraid of the pill. So the tech arranged for me to come back the following day after several failed attempts. What ended up working for me was to lay a wash cloth over my eyes. After I did that, not a problem at all--not even a little bit. It was about 20 minutes of racket and buzzing, and I was done.

    I forgot the questions. My bad. Here you go:

    1) Did you expect to feel claustrophobic? YES. BIG TIME. OMG. Did you get a sedative? Yes, but didn't take it.
    2) Was the technician helpful or irritable or do you remember them for any reason? Very helpful and concerned. Of course, I probably scared him.
    3) Did you hear horror stories beforehand? Metal objects flying about, etc. No, and thank God. I'm sure that wouldn't have helped me. I was already a basket case.
    4) Did you have any dye injected first? No. They do that sort of thing?
    5) Was it noisy? Boring? Did you fall asleep? Did you end the procedure early for any reason? Noisy, yes. Didn't end procedure early, but had to come back the next day. First day was just a string of failed attempts, during which I completely unraveled, and brought shame to myself and my offspring.
     
  10. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    AFAIK, only when they're working on something specific that requires dye; definitely not a standard practice for every MRI.
     
  11. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    You came to the right forum. I've lost count of how many MRIs I've had.

    1) Did you expect to feel claustrophobic? Did you get a sedative?

    I didn't think I was claustrophobic but found out I was very much so. I did wind up getting sedatives on every one after that.

    2) Was the technician helpful or irritable or do you remember them for any reason?

    Everyone's experience will be different with this. The hospital I go to have mine at is in the same network as all my other doctors. I've had outstanding care and only a couple of people have ever been awful or incompetent. Which I feel is saying something since I've been going to the same doctors since I was eighteen.

    3) Did you hear horror stories beforehand? Metal objects flying about, etc.

    Not really. I've had a couple of techs mention it upon asking about it. They always ask if I have anything on me that is metal. Only certain metals are magnetic and not all of them. They do ask you remove all jewelry and undergarments that have metal in them (such as underwire on bras) or if your pants have grommets in them. They have you go in a changing room to put a gown on and where I go they give you a locker and a key to store your stuff in while you go to do the MRI. The tech holds onto the key for me.

    4) Did you have any dye injected first?

    They usually do a scan with no contrast then they do it with the contrast. They put in an IV, usually on my inner wrist or on the side of my wrist sometimes on my inner elbow. After the put in the IV they flush it with saline then put the dye in slowly. I'm allergic to gadolinium so I have to take steroids every few hours prior to the MRI and also take benadryl twenty minutes before the procedure.

    5) Was it noisy? Boring? Did you fall asleep? Did you end the procedure early for any reason?

    It's pretty noisy. They give me big headphones that help block the sound and also so I can listen to the radio. :p It is boring and I do fall asleep because I take a sedative and benadryl beforehand. Mine usually last up to two hours sometimes longer. They scan my whole spine and sometimes my brain. I haven't ever ended one early. They do let me take a break or two. They give you this little thing you can squeeze that looks very similar to the thing you squeeze on a blood pressure cuff to make it inflate. I can squeeze it and it will alert the technician that I need out or something is wrong etc. They usually give me a warm blanket when I start because they keep the room pretty cold. I always wind up taking it off halfway through because I get too hot. So usually when we're done I'm groggy and sweaty and just want to go back to sleep. :p The procedure itself isn't that bad with the sedatives. The part that bothers me is waiting for the results.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Are you possibly confusing a CT scan with an MRI? Dyes would be useless in an MRI but they are used as a contrast medium in some X-ray procedures. Nevermind.

    And sedatives? Maybe for a kid, but why for an adult? Sedatives are for things like angiograms and so are dyes. [This is still true.]

    Hmmm, learn stuff every day. ...It can be done with or without contrast. ... Guess I should look stuff up before posting. ;)
     
  13. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    If you're claustrophobic then sedatives are pretty important. I've been having MRIs since I was eighteen. I'm twenty five. I'm pretty sure I know what one is.
     
  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Did you not see my edit? I believe you. But the sedatives? I don't see it, even with claustrophobia. Perhaps you could elaborate.
     
  15. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I'm not understanding what there is to elaborate on. Some people get extremely anxious in small spaces. Then there's the knowledge that this scan could potentially show something up that means you'll be back into treatment again. There's no need to drive yourself up a wall when there's medication available to help you get through it more easily. This is getting off topic from the op. So I'm leaving it at that so it doesn't get totally derailed.
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I believe you. I'm sorry if my comments were insensitive. I can see where someone as an individual would need sedation, I just don't see how it would be the norm. That doesn't mean I think any less of someone who needs sedation for an MRI. We are who we are.
     
  17. CatnipCupid
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    CatnipCupid Member

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    They have you wear earphones, but you can still hear the damn machine guns. lol.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Hear them? You feel every pulse through every nerve ending.

    I personally did not find it particularly unpleasant, but only because I'm not very claustrophobic. I didn't want the headset, but they sort of insisted. Maybe I could have argued my way out of them, but it wasn't that important to me.
     
  19. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think they have to insist by law or some such since I believe the volume inside the tube-like versions is loud enough to damage a person's hearing. If I recall correctly, the limit when damage starts to occur is 80db and I believe the volume in the machine tops that.
     
  20. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    im going back 12 years here...

    1) Did you expect to feel claustrophobic? i expected to but wasnt Did you get a sedative? nope
    2) Was the technician helpful or irritable or do you remember them for any reason? helpful, i was 7 at the time
    3) Did you hear horror stories beforehand? Metal objects flying about, etc. not that i remember
    4) Did you have any dye injected first? no, it was for my knee to see what was wrong
    5) Was it noisy? Boring? Did you fall asleep? Did you end the procedure early for any reason? noisy, but i think i fell asleep
     
  21. madeleinefarraday
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    madeleinefarraday Member

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    Thanks for all the help! I wrote my scene, I might post it somewhere later. Right now a scene I wrote in which the dialogue gets very hokey, has distracted me. But I think my MRI-induced dream scene went well. :)
     
  22. madeleinefarraday
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    madeleinefarraday Member

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    Thank you to Gingercoffee for the videos. I'd seen the 3rd one but not the two others. The first one, which attempts to show the view from INSIDE the MRI, I found very useful.

    Interesting that the kid seems to have so much room in the 2nd one. I'm not sure an adult would feel the same way.

    I did see a video of the SOUNDS of a MRI posted in a different thread I created elsewhere. It was 25 minutes of clanking and banging. 25 minutes?! Anyway, it didn't have any visual. Sort of weird! But helpful.
     
  23. Sue Almond
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    Sue Almond Member

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    Expectations affect your experience

    The more replies I read on here the more I realize that we must be massively influenced by our expectations when we face a new experience. I have had several scans, with and without dye, in three different hospitals, one in Spain and two in UK. It is a totally non-invasive procedure. Absolutely nothing happens that can cause pain or discomfort (Except the insertion of the dye if it is being used but that is so minor it is about on hundredth of that of a dental anesthetic injection!) That is what I thought and that has been my experience.
    Did I expect to feel claustrophobic? No, I don´t recall it crossing my mind. It never entered my head that anyone would require or be allowed a sedative for such a simple procedure but I can see that if you are very claustrophobic then they might give you one.
    In every case the technician was reassuring and explained what was going to happen, how long it would take, what to do if I did get claustrophobic and wanted to stop and so I never felt for a moment that there was anything to worry about. As for horror stories about metal objects flying about, no, I never heard any such stories until reading this thread! They tell you before not to wear anything metal and remind you /ask you on the day so where would these items come from and where would they fly? There is so little space, only a few centimeters, which is why it is hard for claustrophobic people.
    The noise really is quite loud and there are extra loud clicks, or I suppose you would say 'bangs' when it moves position to take a different angle but all you have to do is lie still. The machine moves not the patient I have never fallen asleep but have got to the point where I was almost ready to doze off as I always close my eyes. There is nothing to see except the plastic tube above you so there is nothing to look at. I have never ended a session early as I have always been totally at ease and unconcerned, bored yes but I assume that if you ended a session early you might have to start the whole time again.
    Can I suggest that if you want to write a scene where someone has a bad experience in a hospital an MRI scanner might not be the best machine to choose? There really is nothing scary that I can imagine happening (except for the already seriously claustrophobic person as said earlier. Anyone else who has had one, and they are not uncommon these days, will know it is nothing to worry about so you might plant these totally un-grounded fears in some readers minds for no real purpose. I do not see how you can make it scary unless your character is so totally freaked out in advance that I doubt they would go ahead, or something supernatural is going to happen. Now, a dentist´s chair would be another matter!
     
  24. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    1) Did you expect to feel claustrophobic? Did you get a sedative? No and no.


    2) Was the technician helpful or irritable or do you remember them for any reason? Techs were fine. No issues there.


    3) Did you hear horror stories beforehand? Metal objects flying about, etc. Of course, I used to watch ER and I watch Grey's Anatomy, lol.


    4) Did you have any dye injected first? Nope


    5) Was it noisy? Boring? Did you fall asleep? Did you end the procedure early for any reason? Almost fell asleep. Noise wasn't too awful since they let me pick music to listen to both times. You can feel it everywhere though. I thought it was cool.

    I also get CT scans done every three months. I get dye with those. They're different, in that there really isn't all that noise and they're much faster. I'm so used to them, it's like an assembly line kind of thing, lol.

    Never felt pain in either one of them, have never had anyone be rude. Never felt fear. I'm not prone to claustrophobia though (used to sleep in a closet when I was a kid because I thought it was cool having my own "cave")

    I didn't see why your character is having one though? They might not need an MRI, might need a CT instead. They show different things. (If you did say it and I missed it, I apologize)

    Also, in reference to people (including me) saying they're not scary, sometimes it's not the machines that scare people. It's the fact that this machine is going to tell them what's wrong with them (why would you have one if there wasn't anything wrong) and if it's a broken bone that's not so bad. But if they're looking for a brain bleed, lesions on your brain, or cancer - well that's a whole new ballgame and people have different reactions to that. The anxiety alone can make it terrifying for some people, depending on their personality.
     
  25. JetBlackGT
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    MRIs are noisy but relaxing. It is warm and the bed sort of vibrates. I always fall asleep in mine. Once, just as the tech was saying "Okay... if you feel panicky we'll..." [SNORE] and then I was waking up and it was done.
     

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