Hydrocephalus : Having an MRI is a stressful thing

Hydrocephalus : Having an MRI is a stressful thing

There are so many things going through my mind, all at once…I feel anxious, scared and yet prepared for the worst.  I’m in combat mode in case I get an answer to my prayer that “something is wrong“.  Yes, my prayer…It’s the one thing I’ve been praying for ever since the surgeon told me he would do this scan to see if my ETV is still working. I know that must sound crazy but if you’ve been following my journey, you’d know that me asking for surgery and praying for something to be wrong is better than facing the possibility of going into a coma.

It’s been a difficult time for me with so many emotions coming to the fore.  I’m not scared of facing more surgery, in fact, it’s the one thing right now that’ll give me some form of sanity.  And, to prove to you just how nuts I feel right now, I’ve been questioning non-stop whether or not I actually did experience the sleeping episodes, weird pain in my head, nausea and everything else to lead me to believe that my ETV is possibly closing.  The amount of second guessing I’ve done ever since I can remember is just phenomenal.

Falling asleep last night did not come easy, nor did I have a peaceful nights sleep when I eventually succumbed to slumber.  I woke up earlier than my alarm and went on autopilot to my appointment after dropping my daughter off at before school care.

One of the radiologists ran through a questionnaire with me, very standard…”What is your operation/medical history?  Do you have any metal implants?  Is there any possibility that you’re pregnant?…etc.  And, he also explained that if they are unable to see clearly, they might need to inject a dye, called contrast which will just give them a clearer picture of what they need to see.  Apparently, it can make you extremely nauseous but signing the form acknowledging that you’ve been made aware of this, is all that’s required to seal the deal on your agreement to have it done. This is also the reason why they advise being nil per mouth at least 2 hours before the scan.  I was told to remove all metal/jewellery including my bra and given a dressing gown to wear.  The room was cold as can be expected but I was thankful for a blanket which they threw over my legs.

Waiting to go in was a bit unnerving and finally having my head strapped up, a dome-type headpiece over my face and being pushed into the MRI machine, got my pulse working overtime.  I was given earplugs to put into my ears as well as a set of headphones to block out the sound.  However, this machine makes so much noise that even with the ear protection, there’s no drowning out the grunty noises this beast of a machine makes.  Luckily for me, I’ve had these scans done a few times before, so I knew what to expect.

The drumbeat sound of the machine, like a rock band warming up before a big performance, was very familiar to me.  I listened to the different sounds, all the time thinking, praying and begging for something to show up.  I felt a slight throb begin to pulse in my head and couldn’t help wondering if that would show anything on the screen.  Then, there’s the nagging thought that they won’t see anything wrong and that I’ve just been “imagining” all that I’ve been feeling over the last 12 months.

The most disturbing thing was the little mirror above my eyes through which I could see the radiologist assistants (I think that’s what they’re called).  I watched them intently as they looked inside my head on the screens in front of them.  I wished I could see what they were seeing…  I noticed one of them sitting with her phone in her hand, probably on Facebook or something trivial to pass the time.  Her colleague was a bit more attentive to what was going on, on the screen in front of him.

It got me thinking about how opposite this whole experience was for all of us.  There she was, oblivious to what is quite possibly one of the scarier moments for me.  Her life intact (or not) and probably wishing she could be somewhere else, as one does when you’re at work.  And, here I am…lying inside a machine taking photos of my brain, documenting the flow of CSF and plotting the movement through my ventricles.  I felt overwhelmed by thoughts of my children and wondering if I’ll be facing brain surgery at the end of this.  Or, will the scans show nothing significant leaving me at the mercy of an impending coma?  My whole world could change because brain surgery is that unpredictable.  It could go either way and yet, it could work out.

I’m done in just over an hour of lying still and listening to the hum, drum, beat and groans of this monstrous machine.  What a wonderful creation it is indeed…

I leave the hospital not really sure what to feel except anxiety over the possible results as I head off to work where life goes on.

What lies in store for me? Sigh

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