Recently I had the awesome opportunity to view images of my brain. I was fascinated by them! People have asked me what’s going on inside my head on a number of occasions and now I can finally answer them! You see, I’d been having these consistent headaches and my physician recommended a MRI so that we can take a look and rule out any abnormalities.
When I arrived at the imaging lab, I was greeted by two pleasant ladies. They provided me with some forms to complete, explained the forms in detail and processed my payment efficiently. A few minutes after completing the forms, I was escorted into the imaging room. This is where all the action occurred and I’m not talking about imaging action either! I am claustrophobic and even though the machine was what is called “open”, I immediately began to experience a high level of anxiety. The tears started flowing and all of the ideas about getting stuck in it, or the machine dropping on me, etc. started flowing. It was quite a scene. I’m laughing at it now as I think about it.
The young lady performing my MRI was IMPRESSIVE. She encouraged me to sit and then explained the process to me. She said, “Ms. Dean, it’s only scary because it’s an unknown, something you’ve never done before.” She was calm, nurturing and empathetic. She encouraged me to think positively and that if I any time I didn’t want to continue, we could stop. She asked me which type of music soothes me and explained that she wanted to make me as comfortable as possible. She explained that I would be in the room alone and this only caused the tears to flow more passionately. She explained that because she was taking the images she needed to be in the other room to see them to ensure they were clear. She made the mistake of giving me this ball to squeeze if I felt like I wanted to stop or if at any point I became overwhelmed I could squeeze the ball and she’d come right in.
After inserting me in to the machine, she left the room. The MRI started and I managed the first 6 minutes before I felt like I was unable to breathe. Why did I feel like I was buried alive? I squeezed that ball! I can’t breathe I told her. Tears were flowing. She immediately came into the room, held my hand and helped me to relax by talking in a soft tone, explaining that we would be done shortly and that she knew I was strong enough to complete it. I was like no no no. I’m not even ashamed to say it. I told her we’d have to stop because I couldn’t breathe and was not about to die under this machine. I know – extreme. I can see you laughing now!
The young lady then said, “Ok Ms. Dean, here’s what we’ll do. I’ll set up the next few images and stay in the room with you but you have to promise me you’ll keep still because I won’t be able to see the images and we need to ensure the doctor can see them clearly.” I made the promise and I lived up to it! For the next 13 minutes, she stayed with me. She spoke to me. She encouraged me. She reminded me that I was not alone. She helped me through the haze associated with my claustrophobia.
The moral of this long and what should be embarrassing story is when you are in the right fit for your job, you naturally perform well at it. This young lady had the necessary skills to be professional, kind, caring, empathetic & proficient. If she had thoughts about my cowardice relating to going into the MRI machine, she did not show it. There were no signs of frustration, annoyance or impatience. It is clear she understands that her patients may have some challenges with the procedures, and she makes it her business to address their fears empathetically & provide them with caring service. I really don’t ever want to take another MRI ever but if I have to do so, I’d definitely return to the place where Open MRI’s are their specialty. Jaime was amazing and even though my brain is NOT the average brain, it is functionally normally.
Tip of the Week: There are 2 tips of the week. The first is to have the ability to laugh at yourself and the second is serve from the heart; show people you care.