Turns out I'm claustrophobic

I had a brain MRI scheduled for today. I’ve been getting dizzy and having facial numbness, and my doc wants to make sure I didn’t have a stroke or an aneurysm.

I haven’t had an MRI done sine I was a kid, so I honestly answered that I didn’t know if I’m claustrophobic or not. I went in unmedicated.

I was fine when I laid on the board. I was fine when the tech put the weird medieval helmet thingy over my face. I was fine when he put the foam pads along my face to hold me in place.

I kept my eyes closed through all of that. It was fine. I was fine.

Then he slid the table into the tube. I saw, even through my closed eyes, how much darker it was in there. My heart quickened, and I felt my chest get tight.

I simply said “I’m getting really anxious in here.”

The tech got me out. He said this type of thing happens pretty frequently.

I contacted my doctor’s office, but it will be at least tomorrow until I get a script for a Valium or a Xanax. Then I need to reschedule the MRI. I get to freak out about my brain until then (what if it’s a tumor? “It’s not a too-mah!”).

Sorry to just blog like this here. My wife and my boss are the only two people who know what’s going on. I can’t run out to Facebook and post this, so I needed somewhere to vent.

I’m not claustrophobic either…but those tunnels are pretty damn tiny. There was a part of me that wished I took them up on the Valium, but I didn’t want to be out of commission for the rest of the day or need a ride to and from the place.

It was just 20 minutes or so of some banging and I was done.

But that tech needs to not ask questions if they going to yell at me for moving when I answer them. How about “You’re doing great, we’re about halfway done” instead of “How are you doing?”/"Good./“STOP MOVING!” .

Also, a trick I found to move a lot less (and the tech said something changed about halfway thought which is when I figured this out) was to breath by moving my diaphragm and belly instead of my chest and shoulders. This probably made a bigger difference for me than you since I was having my shoulder done, but you’d think an MRI tech would know this ‘trick’ since it meant my shoulder wasn’t moving with every breath.

My sister had her hip done, they put her whole body in the tube, I’m surprised they didn’t just put her in feet first and leave her head sticking out.

I had my back looked at a couple of years back. I had my eyes closed when they slid me in and when I opened them and saw the wall of the pipe a couple of inches away, I experienced borderline panic. So I closed my eyes again. Problem solved. Which, I guess, is the MRI equivalent of throwing a towel over your head and figuring that if you can’t see it, then it can’t see you.

After my eyes were closed, it was just really boring for the next fifteen minutes or so.

For some reason I had a harder time with my eyes close than with my eyes open. I think because with my eyes closed I felt like the tube was just a few inches from my face, but when I opened them I realized that it was maybe 6 or 8 inches away.

Something else that would have been nice is if they would have showed me ahead of time that it’s open in the back. I mean, I think I knew that going in, but it felt like there was a wall back there. I remember getting out when it was over, looking back in and realizing how big it actually is, it’s just that so much of it is taken up by the bed, the pillow, the stuff they shove in around you, the headphones etc.

I get mildly claustrophobic in crowded rooms and on crowded buses/trains. I have no idea how I would feel about an MRI enclosure; probably fine, as long as there weren’t other people in there with me. :stuck_out_tongue:

Hah, I guessed this was about an MRI! I had the same experience with mine about 12 years ago – I had no idea I was claustrophobic until I got slid into the tube, found my heart starting to race, closed my eyes, felt like I was being compressed into myself while lying in a coffin, panic rose and kept rising, and I managed to stay in there for maybe 2 minutes before slithering out the end.

Edit: Found the thread I started about the experience: Have you almost had an MRI?

I had a brain MRI done a couple of times. (tl;dr: they didn’t find any.) The tube had a mirror in it, positioned so that I could look in the mirror and see out the end of the tube. So I could see the technician sitting in the control room.

Brain MRI’s take a long time – it was about 45 minutes.

I found it entertaining to listen to all the great variety of strange sounds that the machine makes while doing the scans.

My big anxiety was getting stuff injected into my arm for the contrast part of the exam. I don’t like stuff getting shot up into me. But it turned out to be no big deal.

There are two tricks I use. One is keep your eyes closed an imagine you are on a beach. (A very noisy beach). Sounds corny, but it helps. If you don’t know how close the walls really are, then they can be infinitely far away. (I have to be careful-my shoulders just about touch the walls. That’ll bring you back to reality fast!)

The other is pick a long song you are familiar with, and ‘play’ it in your head. Concentrate on the music as well as the lyrics. If you pick a couple that have varying tempo and not long instrumental parts, like Stairway to Heaven and Bohemian Rhapsody, it keeps you focused. Two 7 minute songs about cover the duration of the MRIs I have had. Next thing you know, it’s all done.

Just don’t pick “This End” by the Doors.

Or “30 days in the hole”

I’ve had two and I dozed off both times.

Now I know that I am claustrophobic (I actually turned down a great paying job working in underground tanks because of it) but the MRI never bothered. It just made me sleepy.

I’ve had an MRI done several times (lifetime of chronic migraines/fainting/dizziness) (car accident with head injury/concussion with memory loss) and despite earplugs, the sounds the machine makes really gets to me. I’m also claustrophobic so the two things together can make getting an MRI done almost unbearable for me. It feels like it goes on and on and on… that sound… hated it!!!

My doctor wants to schedule another one for me soon since it’s been quite a while since my last one and my migraines have changed AGAIN. I keep putting it off. Just thinking about it makes me feel sick. I’m not sure I can do it again. Previously, I refused their offers of drugs to help me relax but next time, I’m taking anything they offer! It’s a shame I can’t use my iPod. That would make a HUGE difference for me.

I’ve only been in an MRI machine once, and it wasn’t even for anything medical – I was participating in a cognition experiment, for which they were doing fMRIs of the subjects. (I’m still miffed that they didn’t give me a copy of the scan. Harvard makes it a point to mention that they give you pictures of your brain when they advertise for theirs; Brigham & Women’s doesn’t.) It’s not the most comfortable place I’ve ever been, but not the worst either. If I hadn’t been doing the recognition trials, I might well have fallen asleep out of sheer boredom.

Heights, on the other hand, kill me. I even have a hard time standing on chairs to replace the bulbs in our ceiling fan fixtures.