Thursday, January 24, 2013

Patient's #Father Breaks My Heart...

Last night I was sitting in the waiting room of a radiology place scheduled for a MRI.* It was a 5:30 p.m. appointment so my mom could take me after her teaching job. Right now, I have too many drugs in my system to drive and we only have one vehicle working (mine!) so that's why I need a chauffeur. Plus, for some reason, I don't know if it is the medicine or ME but I am a lot more anxious these days so that factors in too.

( When you see a * go to the bottom of blog for more info.) 

Back to the waiting room... I am done filling out my name, address, prescriptions, allergies, and the "why are you here today" questions on the clipboard. Those of you that regularly go to doctor appointments know what I am talking about, right? Some handle over what seem to be the same size as War & Peace to fill out, am I right? I've already written my memoir many a time, many a waiting room! Ha!  My favorite part are the uncomfortable chairs & outdated magazines... yeah, right! Actually, this place I was at most recently had comfortable  high-back chairs & believe-it-or-not UPDATED magazines! CURRENT ones! Within the last few months! Jackpot!
  Like a Barnes-n-Noble rack! Good thing, my poor Mom had to wait FOR-EVER 
for me! I thought it would be a quick MRI! Like my Mom reminded me, "Are they ever quick and easy, quick-and-be-done?" Um. No.

But believe it or not, I am not here to talk ALL about ME! {wink!} Actually, the reason I am writing this lil' post is because of something I heard. Yes, I did a bit of eavesdropping that goes wa-aaay back in family! My great-grandmother was great at it! She could listen to a few conversations at a time even. Not me. There was no one else in the place but my Mom and I and the following couple. And the "Dad" makes himself noticeable very quickly.

We sit across from a couple - a Mom and a Dad - as I fill out paperwork and then try to read my book. But between the FOX News (no comment) directly above us and the parents, I was NOT impressed

See why...

The Dad already seems like he had been sitting through a long ball game. He seems to sit still and talk to his wife as best he can... But it never lasts too long. He stands up and the receptionist says to him, "Not too long now." He grumpily sits back down in his chair. He chats with his wife for a few more minutes before saying he needs "some air." I didn't know if that was code for stretching, some actual air, or something else.
He comes back in rather quickly and sits down. 
"I just don't get it," he says of his 14-year-old son. Here it comes: "All he has to is lay there." 
Is he serious?

"Remain Still" -- In the MRI
 you have no other option

The father squirms in his seat, kicks his heels.
I am appalled as I hear the words. Shocked. 
They say something about video games, falling asleep. 
"I move so much when I sleep," comments the Mom, indicating that might be a problem for the son if he did try to nap during the MRI.

I've had numerous - A LOT - of MRIs and not once have I fallen asleep. OK, those of you that have had a MRI, I really want to HEAR from you: 
HAVE you:
1) Taken a Nap; 
2) Felt closed-in, fearful, wanted out by the time it was over;  
3) Didn't mind it; 
4) Wanted to scream, yell "Save me!!!" * 
Or... Tell Me Your Story in the Comments Below! 

# ##

Back in the radiology waiting room...

Dad: [stretches again & looks over at receptionist window]
Receptionist: He should be right out any minute.  
I can tell the Dad looks extremely relieved after waiting and doing his "hard" job. 

I wonder if the boy had IV contrast (The tech gives you a shot about halfway through and sometimes you can taste it - metal-like, i.e. pennies or nickel) 

For MRIs, you have to remain very still for the duration of the exam. Depending on the tech, you can wiggle a second between segments. Often, there is a contraption to squeeze  (the tech places in your hand) and you can have a longer moment to stretch and then return to the MRI. But you can't do that every time. Maybe 1-2 at most. Any longer, it just takes more time to get out of there - period. And it puts techs off their schedules. Remember you want to be on their good side. You might be back! If it is serious and you are in pain or feeling nauseous, by all means, that's different. Push/press the button. Being in that tube for 1, 2 or more hours can put a drain on the psyche. That's when the Hawaiian getaway or favorite football plays are best remembered, replayed.


Clad in a Dallas Cowboys T-shirt, the teen-aged boy walks out the door past me toward his parents.He look dazed, yet relieved. I want to go walk up and give him a hug, figuring this was his first or at least one of his first MRIs. It's a transformative experience. Some may shake their head. Some may say, "Come on." Being in a slender tube nearly the size of a casket with loud noises -- it's not music, it's close to construction noise but even that has a rhythm that this does not. It is dissonant bams, rattles, and other funky - and I mean funky - noises science has conjured up. I feel for the young man. It probably wasn't easy.
The Dad asks how the MRI went. "All right, I guess," he says, shrugging his shoulders. Quick, to-the-point. Teenage-speak. I definitely remember the son was was not smiling. 

At least the MRI was done. As the trio file through the doors, I wonder about family dynamics like that. The father shows up. Yet, did he do it because the wife was afraid to drive a far distance? They could be from the country. It seemed from the time I was there to evaluate the situation, the Dad did not want to be there. Or was he just anxious to get home? Or anxious for his kid? He could have just as easily waited at home as my Mom notes that night. 

The whole reason for this blog entry is his comment: His son has the easy job! In the MRI ! 

No. 1: Obviously, the Dad never had a MRI.
No. 2  He needs a brain scan of some sort! 
No. 3  He did mention earlier he hopes his son didn't have homework. He has some heart! 

THE ULTIMATE RESULTS -- The Doctor is in...

I've just always been supported before and after my MRIs! Like I said in a previous blog posts. My Dad gave me advice about my first visit in a MRI. Since then, my mom and extended family, especially my Aunt Jamie, have been there to discuss all the crazy adventures we've had together... Even that one late Friday evening in Houston at M.D. Anderson. This was when I still had my spinal chord stimulator in my body and my pain doctor said, "it would be fine" if I got MRIs. Say, what?!? So here I was with my Aunt Jamie, my Mom and we were waiting and waiting in another waiting room with NO magazines and wondering when my name would be called. When we finally saw someone we asked if it was OK if I went in the MRI machine with my stimulator because I still had apprehension about it. I will never forget that man's startled, OMG look. Plus, it was like 7:30 p.m. On a Friday night. I was NOT happy to be there then. It's a Friday for goodness sake!

Long story short: My pain doctor was wrong. GRRR... That night I waited for several hours and never had anything done. That's right. Nothing. No money reimbursement. Yeah, right. Like hospitals DO THAT! HA! I was so mad that night. Remember, I don't live in Houston. Neither does my aunt. We live 1.5-2 hours away. To be told that MRIs could be done was one of the reasons I put the blasted thing in. But... That is for another day. No MRI. Mark my words: That is the one day I was unhappy not to have a MRI!

Reveal time!
Tell me YOUR most dramatic MRI story... Funniest one... (is there one out there... Come on! I want to hear it!) ... And your first time... in a MRI!  DO TELL! Any & all... MRI stories!!! Bring 'em! 

 ©The Healing Redhead

*Magnetic Resonance Imaging, my blog entry on first MRI
*Unfortunately, the MRI tech did not look like your type, your Prince(ness) Charming! 

Images via:; Microsoft 

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