Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


Taking shots at the MRI

Here we go again.

Like pretty much any MSer, I have to sign up for brain MRI scans regularly, usually from one to three times a year.

This year’s edition is set for this week.

Normally, the MRI is fairly routine for me. I admit: It can be mind-numbingly boring and challenge my ability to remain completely still for 45-75 minutes (depending on whether they scan the spine or just the brain).

Mostly, I try to zone out a bit and count it as a time of rest, despite the clanging and banging that starts and stops and starts and stops – seemingly without stopping.

Last year was different.

My neurologist’s practice is based in a major university hospital, which means the MRIs are done there as well. That also means medical students may participate in the tests.

And so they did.

There I was, confined inside the big booming tunnel, with the “Silence of the Lambs” face cage strapped on.

“This next scan lasts three minutes,” the technician said. “Then we’ll come in and give you the contrast injection before the next one.”

Essentially blindfolded inside the MRI tunnel, I waited out the scan.

“Boom – boom – boom! 
Bzzzt. Bzzzt. Bzzzt. 
Rum – rum – rum. 
Boom – boom – boom! 
Bzzzt. Bzzzt. Bzzzt. 
Rum – rum – rum. 
Boom – boom – boom! 
Bzzzt. Bzzzt. Bzzzt. 
Rum – rum – rum.”

Then the room grew still for a few seconds.

Suddenly, I felt someone take my right arm and roll up my sleeve.

“Here we go,” a man said.

He snapped a rubber strap around my arm. Then the poking started.

After a couple dozen jabs, I heard two more voices.
“Let me try,” said a woman. “I can get it.”

The needle stabbing continued.

At last, a third person tried to find the vein and administer the contrast dye.

"There it is," he added.

By now, both arms throbbed. I could hardly wait to roll out of the MRI tube and check out the damages.

The MRI is called a non-intrusive medical test.

Now I beg to differ.

For about two weeks afterwards, I wore long-sleeved shirts, just so my loved ones wouldn’t try to stage an intervention. I had clumsy needle tracks running up and down my arms.

I sure hope those medical students managed to pass their classes and move on.

Oh, wait –

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