The most fearful place that I have ever been in my entire life is inside an MRI machine. From the outside it appears relatively harmless: white and circular. However, if you peer inside, it is an intensely frightening locale. Inside an MRI machine, it is exceedingly cold, claustrophobic, intensely loud, and extremely interminable. These factors would be uncomfortable for any person, but for someone with Arthritis, it is a literal hell. As I am injected with contrast dye, my impending entrapment becomes alarmingly evident, and by the way, EACH and EVERY time, the nurse can't seem to find my vein, so she digs until she finds it, or even better, she starts over and stabs me again until she finds the mark. Now once inside the insidious and sterile tube, not even the headphones which are given to me to stop the sound of the rumbling, whirring mechanics, as the constant, piercing sounds pound into my head and rattle my brain against my skull like a jackhammer. As an hour ticks by, the blinding white light on the roof of the machine has blurred into a searing, burning sun. As I try to hold myself together, I become increasingly aware of the distinct and unpleasant smells of rubbing alcohol and industrial disinfectant, as the fumes seep into my sinuses. As my head splits open from my own internal screaming, my back and hips continue to ache with tension as I try to hold still. The music playing in my headphones is completely distorted by the awful guitar solo of the machine. After awhile I start to softly cry, trying to choke back my sobs as my legs feel as if they are being pulled away from the rest of my body. The pain becomes too much and I finally pivot my hips upward in an attempt to release the pressure. Just as I do, a voice sounds in my headphones telling me to remain still. The technician only gives me a vague answer when I ask how much longer. I try counting but once I reach six hundred seconds I give up and reduce myself to quietly crying again. I softly beg that it be over soon. My head is pounding with the vibrating feeling of a continuous and invasive jackhammer, combined with a loud grinding buzz saw. My hands have fallen asleep to the feeling of a hundred pinpricks. My feet have lost all feeling. My back feels as if a ton of anvils have been laid to rest upon it. My hips are screaming for release from being drilled with a razor sharp steel-pointed ice pick. This is not a new environment, as I have been here more times than I can count, yet I tremble with fear each time I return to this terrifying hole. I continue to beg for the pain to end. I want answers to my medical mysteries, to explain the memory loss and my clumsy cadence, but am I willing to pay the price? Am I willing to return to this place of fear? I "grin" and grimace in inescapable pain, and I continue to bear it. I settle into the machine for what seems like the thousandth time and pray that this might be the end to my suffering, that a resolution will be found.
November 27, 2012