As my body entered the MRI coffin I couldn’t catch my breath and yelled for the technician to “get me out of here.”
I’ve never considered myself to be claustrophobic. In fact, I didn’t even check that box on the survey before the MRI. I even drove myself to the hospital and chose not to take the Valium.
I had to talk myself back into the machine that day.
I didn’t drive all the way here to go home. I need these thyroid test results to check the mass they found.
And so I took a deep breath and went back in. The loud sounds of the vibrating metal coils surrounding me made me feel alone and isolated.
Thankfully, I made it through and my results were negative. I didn’t have thyroid cancer.
Recently, I needed another MRI. I’ve been having excruciating pain in my neck, shoulder, and arm and suspected a pinched nerve. This time, I knew what to expect. I knew I needed to mentally prepare myself.
I reached out to friends and family and requested prayer and asked if they knew any calming techniques to help me relax.
Taking these steps helped me get through the scan. I hope that they will help you too
Here are 10 tips to help you relax during your MRI
1. If you are not sure how you will do in the MRI, then err on the safe side and accept the Valium prescription they offer you. It will help relax your muscles. You will take the pill an hour before the procedure. You will need to find someone to drive you. Even with the Valium, I still had anxiety and needed to apply the next steps in order to get through it.
2. Have a loved one drive you for support. Take time to pray before your test and give your fears to the Lord.
3. You don’t need to fast, so make sure you bring a water bottle. My MRI test was done outside in a mobile unit. When I was about to go in the tube my mouth felt like cotton and I asked for water. But it was too late. There was no water available.
4. Don’t look! Have them put a towel over your eyes! Keep your eyes closed the entire time. When I looked the first time and saw how confined I was, I panicked. When I kept the towel over my eyes and made sure not to look the second time around, I did much better.
5. Ask if they have earphones and if you can listen to music! This gave me such peace. I was able to listen to Christian music as I entered the machine. When the images are being taken, you will not be able to hear the music. Some of the images will take 7 minutes. They will go in increments. When the set is done, there will be a short break and the technician will ask how you are doing and if you want to continue. She will tell you that you have just finished a set and how long the next session will be. She’ll say something like this, “You’re doing well, you have 10 minutes left and the next set of images will take 7 minutes.” She will be able to hear you when the images aren’t being taken. You will have a button to press that will signal her to stop all testing should you feel the need to stop and get out.
6. You need something to occupy your mind while the images are being taken and you can’t hear the music. My friend, Deb Wolf at CountingYour Blessings.com, suggested going through the alphabet and naming the attributes of God. I will never forget praising Jesus in my panic. As I listed the attributes of God I was amazed how this calmed my fears and settled my anxious heart. In fact, I only got to the letter O!
7. Recite Psalm 23
8. My friend Melanie Redd at Ministry of Hope gave me the idea to go through the alphabet and pray for people you know. What a great tip!
9. And I loved this advice from my friend Kimberly, “Just think of the MRI machine as your friend…a good thing…it’s cozy and warm in there and it’s going to help them figure out what’s wrong.”
10. Take a nap if you can. Relax. Let the sounds of the scanner relax you instead of stress you.
And soon the technician will say, “You’re almost done. Only one set of images left.”
Remember when you enter the scan that Jesus is right there with you.
His hand will guide you and his strength will support you!
I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there, if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. Psalm 139:7-19 NLT
I hope these techniques will help prepare you for that next MRI.
What tips and suggestions can you add to this list in order to help someone out?