questionshow does everyone deal with an mri?

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The last MRI I went to (I was moral support for my friend) was an open MRI. This looked like a half pipe (tube)--did not give that closed-in feeling. Can you find one like this?

Edit: Oops, I see that your MRI is today, so too late for MRI shopping. Do you have a friend that can go with you?

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I refuse to get them.

Not because I'm claustrophobic but becuase I have a pacemaker and the MRI would probably rip said pacemaker out of my shoulder ala that scene from Alien.

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I get quite claustrophobic; I've had four MRIs, including two on back-to-back days recently. It was kinda seriously awful. What helped this time: I wore a pair of mirrored glasses that allowed me to see outside the machine. I mostly kept my eyes shut, but it was reassuring to see something besides the top of the tube-thing six inches from my face. I asked how many images they would take and that they let me know before each one approximately how long that image will take. Almost every thought that I had would increase my panic, so I tried to recall a magical afternoon with my significant other, standing for a few hours on a beautiful day staring at the most amazing vista that I've ever seen. Between the two MRIs that I had recently, I kept crying when I thought of having to get in there again, so I wore "Donut Panic." Whenever I started to tear up, I'd remember what I was wearing and start laughing at my irrational fear.

Good thoughts being sent your way.

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MRI is much better for soft tissue, basically anything that is not bone, plus you dont get any radiation which is a major plus. CT scans are high in radiation dose... i advise MRI every time if you can (unless its an emergency which CT is almost always used)

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I've only had 2 and the first one was years ago and it was full in tube and very, very loud. They gave me headphones, but it didn't help because I was getting it due to headache issues and nothing was going to make it better. The last one I received was an open MRI and it was no big deal at all, it was way different from that first one.

Good luck and I hope it goes well!

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Good luck! They usually give me headphones with music and I try to fall asleep.

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I expect to never have one. I've had one suggested a couple of times. I simply said:

"It is not worth risking your life for."

Then I smiled sweetly, and the person suggesting it chose to live.

I don't much like elevators. I don't go through the diving bell contraptions at the airport. In fact, I usually say they should search me, put on my sweetest face, and say "Just think of me as your gramma, dear." Works every single time.

You do have my sympathy. Probably, by the time you see this comment, it'll be all over.

shudder Horrible for me to even think about having one. Nightmare fodder.

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I have had 2. The first was on my shoulder and was an open MRI. Laying in the machine was fine, didn't bother me really at all. It was a bit loud but they gave me headphones with music which helped....until they put on a Backstreet Boys song which started to skip horribly. So not only did I have the noise of the machine, but horrible music skipping so it was playing for 15 minutes before the tech noticed and skipped tracks. That was worse then the test, lol.

2nd was on my neck in a standard MRI. Since it was my neck they did not give me headphones so was hearing the banging unfiltered. I am not claustrophobic but I can see how people can freak a bit in there. Since I had no distraction from the machine noise your mind wanders to thought like "how could I get out of this if I needed to without help". After a minute or 2 of that I relaxed myself and then actually found it quite cozy amazingly. Just needed to relax and accept it and I was fine. Just relax and you are fine.

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@neuropsychosocial: I have been given that halo thing with mirrors before and it does help quite a bit. This one is on my neck and without contrast so it shouldnt take too long. Yearly I have to have the brain done with and without contrast which seems like it takes forever. Thanks for the good thoughts!

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Had to brave the tube a number of years ago, ruptured disc L5/S1. I am moderately claustrophobic, but I HATE feeling sedated...I agreed to 5mg of Valium which helped take the edge off the panic. When the banging noises started I realized they were very rhythmic and reminded me of being on a train! There was also cool air blowing on my face, so I closed my eyes and drifted into a relaxing train ride envisioning the beautiful scenery going by.

I got so "into" my vision I got annoyed every time the tech would ask me how I was doing! :-D

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The worst part for me is the noise and the horrible music they made me listen to. Ugh. I wish I could say I did something special to make the time go by but I just laid there and was annoyed for 20 minutes.

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My last MRI was a closed one. I did not like it at all and got extremely claustrophobic. I had to be pulled out during the middle of it the first time. For the second try, I had a towel over my eyes and had the tech call out each stage we were on (5 different scans or something) and give me an approximate time frame. That helped a lot, although I can't say I was anywhere near completely comfortable.

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I have only had one. I wasn't too worried in but then I got there and went whoa. They told me that it would take at least 20 minutes maybe more if I jiggled, wiggled, or moved. So they start sliding me in the tube and I start thinking holy carp! The machine turns on and starts making all these noises. I was able to find a beat or a rhythm to the noises and started signing songs to myself along with the machines "beats". I figured that most songs last about 3 minutes. Sure enough, when I was in the middle of song 8 they came in and it was over.

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@conanthelibrarian: I too have to have the brain done with and without contrast yearly. My doctor gives me Xanax (he gives me two pills, I usually only take one); I also wear a sleep mask in lieu of my glasses. This year I hope to remember earplugs.

My first MRI was on my ankle, so they put me in feet first; no claustrophobia problems there.

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Mammals of Ridiculous Immensity? I don't think they exist.

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I've had 3 MRI's, all in full tube. None of them bothered me except for the noise. In fact, if it hadn't of been for the noise I believe I could have fallen asleep all three times.

One thing did bother me. It seemed that each time I had to keep still something started itching and I couldn't scratch it until I was told I could move. I guess it's psychosomatic, you're told not to move and something happens that makes you feel the need to move. Has anything like that happened to any of you?

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@dmaz said: "Mammals of Ridiculous Immensity"

No, that's incorrect. MRI stands for Moderate Risk of Isolation.

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I've only had one done on me, and they gave me the earplugs that you squeeze then stick in your ears. It was still loud, but I would do it again if deemed necessary. I just kept thinking "This will be over in a few minutes.". And it was. Hope yours goes/went well. :)

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I've had a few. A lot were when I was about 10, I don't quite know how I managed those (it was more than cough 20 years ago!).

The last one I had, they gave me headphones with static-y radio music. It was horrible to listen to. I found that by pretending the banging was a different noise (I went with a motorcycle~though it didn't really sound like that), and envisioning riding said motorcycle (yea, I can't ride one, I just fall off) worked for me. Except that horribly static-y music! Ugh! But, I've found after numerous annoying tests, that pretending to be somewhere else works great for me, pretty much no matter where I am.

I hope yours went well! :)

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I've had quite a few...brain (they found out I did have one!), C vertebra, L vertebra, and breast. I've had them both with and without contrast with the contrast being administered via IV or via shot.

Advice I'd give is to wear very comfortable clothes with no metal so you might be able to wear them instead of a gown. Leave any and all valuables — jewelry etc. t home.

They can give you headphones or earplugs for the noise but the noise really isn't bad and they can usually play music and will ask you what you'd like to listen to.

The most important advice is to go to the bathroom before you go in and relax. Think happy thoughts and consider your time in the tube as a noisy naptime.

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I have had several MRIs over the years. Chest and brain most often though I think I had one somewhere else at a different time .

I joke that I wake up facing north afterwards. In reality, it's just a lot of noise. As someone else pointed out you can take solace in the fact that at least you are taking the radiation dose of a CT.

Sometimes while listening to the instrument running I imagine I'm playing an old Atari 2600 game on a TV with the volume turned up all the way. It can be really stinking loud as the magnet changes magnitude and field orientation. Sometimes it sounds like there is a technician working on the scanner with a sledgehammer while you're in it.

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@hessem: I'm not sure if I've had contrast ordered for MRI since its usually soft tissue for me when I'm doing MRI. I've had it for a CT scan, though and I can tell you it almost always makes me want to urinate. Hence I agree it is always a good idea to go before going in, just in case.

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I had a couple on my shoulder a few years back and, despite the pain I had, I waited until an open one could be scheduled. Claustrophobia is definitely on my list.

The first time I was scheduled for the MRI I waited for about an hour while they worked on the machine. It was having some issues. When they finally told me it was ready to go I told them that I watched X-Files faithfully so they needed to assure me that I would NOT come out of the thing glowing, attracting metal objects, or shooting rays out of my fingertips. I don't think they laughed.

When those pictures didn't come out (evidently the darn thing was still broken) I had to go back and try again. By this time I was seriously sleep deprived from the rotator cuff pain. They slid me into the MRI machine, the banging and whirring started and that was the last thing I knew until I was suddenly snapped awake by an even louder noise. I was snoring even LOUDER than the MRI machine!

Good luck with yours! Keep us posted!

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Well, thanks for all of the suggestions. I just got back from the MRI and wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. They did "surprise" me by telling me that they wanted to do the brain with and without contrast as well as the neck so I wasn't too thrilled. I ended up in the machine, with my eyes closed composing house music with the noises it was making! I can't stand house music but considering I had nothing else to do, I thought might as well.

Thanks again for all of your warm wishes and ideas/stories.

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A friend of mine who has had many ailments and many more procedures - yet still maintains an unsurpassed positive outlook - once said the sound during an MRI was that of many hammer-wielding dwarves banging on the outside of the apparatus. Cuz, y'know, that's what dwarves do. And the patient is to remain perfectly still and quiet so as not to disrupt the delicate temperaments of said dwarves. If I ever need an MRI, that mental image will get me through. And if the technician tells me to stay still, it will be because of the disgruntled dwarf with his hands on his hips silently displaying his dissatisfaction.

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@conanthelibrarian: Ha, that is exactly what I did when I had to have an MRI to have my thyroid checked for tumors. There were some rocking electric guitar sounds when those machine parts were moving around, followed by hot percussion. For me the worst part was when the contrast chemical was put into my open line. I swear I could feel it moving up my arm and into the rest of my body. But of course you can't squirm or do anything. The other worse part is the waiting for the results. I hope yours are OK.

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As a big fellow, I felt like a sausage being pressed into a casing. I could barely take a fully deep breath. I am not necessarily claustrophobic, but when I cannot breathe a complete breath, I sort of get anxious. I didn't freak out to the point of panic, but my heart rate was definitely elevated (which only further exacerbated the problem). I only bring this up as I assume like most of us, you've packed on a few pounds over the years, so the fit might be tighter this time around.

Good luck. And remember the immortal words of Douglas Adams: "DON'T PANIC".

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I refuse to get them. it's unnecessary for me.

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the problem (for me) was not solely claustrophobia. it was "something might be killing me AND i am in this noisy death tube." when i realized that was the underlying cause, i think i was a little more forgiving with myself and better able to cope with the space issue.

the valium helped, too.

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@pemberducky: I feel the same way. They weren't really an issue until the first time they found something that could of killed me. Now I go in thinking they will find something worse. This time I don't think they found anything too bad, (in the past, when they have found something bad I have been admitted immediately) but it is still nerve racking.

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Absolute avoidance through lack of sufficiently available open MRIs. Hope yours went well and with minimal stress!

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@pemberducky: That is stress I luckily did not have to deal with but I can defiantly see that adding to the freak out thoughts. Both of mine were for orthopedic issues so I was laying there thinking "hopefully they find what is causing all this pain so it can finally be treated". That helped me relax because the thought was "in an hour hopefully they will make me feel better" not "in an hour I might get major news".

Thankfully I have not had to put myself in the "is there something really wrong I don't know about" pair of shoes. In that scenario I can definitely see why so many people are getting Valium before their test. A completely different mindset that stress builds rather then dissipates during the test.