Lessons from an MRI

16 Oct

I will try to update this blog for as long as I can. I am typing one-handed these days as the pain in my hands grow. I am working on rebuilding my strength and coping with pain without medication. Thank you to all my friends who have extended well wishes and sent me prayers. I feel your love, my friends. ~♥Kittymama  


MRI machine- designed to torture claustrophobes

I was set to undergo a cervical spine MRI that morning but panic and pain set in. As a plus-sized woman living in a normal-sized world, I barely fit in an MRI machine. A few moments after the technician slid me in, my neck, shoulders and arms started screaming in excruciating pain. I half -expected this; I hadn’t been able to lie down comfortably in weeks since my neck started bothering me. The position required for the test elicited a whole world of pain. I could literally see stars going supernova as waves of nausea rolled through me in succession.

Within seconds, I started panicking too, the feeling of being compressed weighing very heavily on my chest. I felt trapped, crushed, and squeezed in. It was almost like being buried alive.

I asked to be let out right away. I tried to stop from crying and tried to compose myself. I didn’t want anyone to think of me as a wussy. But even while thinking things through rationally, I simply could not will myself to do it. Pain and panic were already my best friends. In the end, I had to be sedated.


Why couldn't we have something like this instead?

I hate MRIs. Being severely claustrophobic certainly made things worse. My husband tried to calm me down, but it was no use, I was a wreck. Even with the prospect of sedation, the mounting anxiety was too overwhelming to control. A reminded me that I needed this- and he was right, of course, he almost always is– and told me to visualize something that would calm me down.

I fell into a deep sleep even before I was completely inside the MRI machine. But as I knew was bound to happen, I woke up during the procedure. I was jammed inside from my head to my thighs. I tried to wiggle the tips of my fingers to show the anesthesiologist that I was awake. Minutes passed and no one came to my aid. I was on the verge of losing it, as panic and pain came back with a vengeance. I felt like clawing my way out, of thrashing and kicking so I could slide back out, but I imagined A talking to me, telling me to calm myself. I breathed deeply and prayed. I closed my eyes, alternately praying and thinking of only soothing things. The next thing I knew, it was all over.

When A saw me a while after, wide-eyed and alert but still anxious and unsteady, he gave me a big hug. I told him what had happened midway through the procedure. And then I told him, that as I closed my eyes after praying, I suddenly thought of Sylvanian Families and imagined playing with them. Weird, but true. He gave a small laugh, then hugged me again.

SF 01

The Keats Family

We went out to dinner that night, my reward, he said, for “doing so well on my MRI test” (A always manages to reward me even for the simplest things — talk about positive reinforcement!). While we waited for the food, he excused himself to pick up a few things. He was gone unusually long but when he returned, he had two small packages which he handed to me. Lo and behold- there they were, my very first Sylvanian family (SF). I could hardly contain my tears. A few days later, on our 18th wedding anniversary, he gave me an entire village.

Robert Fulghum said that “If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.” When seen from the perspective of the world’s current problems, of my own country’s problems, everything else — even my neck — is merely inconvenience. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned through the years, and even through the disasters of Ondoy and Pepeng, it’s that there is no better relief  for any kind of pain in the world than to receive Love. And this I’ve had real plenty from the one person who has loved me constantly for the past 27 years. I really can’t complain.


My fave accessory- a cervical collar!

So in the middle of this uphill climb to get well again, I concentrate on what keeps me going even on days when the pain is hardest to bear. I am loved. Always loved. Thank you, God.


5 Responses to “Lessons from an MRI”

  1. cynch October 16, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    huhuhuhuhu….overwhelmed with the A’s love for you…i could almost feel it myself 🙂

    how i wish you won’t feel such excruciating pain pinky :(. i pray and hope that the upcoming medical procedure will take it away entirely 🙂

  2. Manggy October 16, 2009 at 9:14 pm #

    Sorry I must have been so out of the loop not to know what you were going through! 😦 I sincerely hope and pray that relief will come soon. Hang in there! (And the love will always be there!)
    Speaking of being out of it, I love that, er, dream you had (very psychedelic I think!)

  3. Nancy October 17, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    Hi Mare,

    God’s good all the time…let’s all claim – YOU ARE NOW WELL!

    And let me please thank Mr. A – your love is very transparent and so appreciated, especially by women who really are addicted to love and attention. A very ideal husband 🙂

    Mare, let’s play soon 🙂


  4. Carla October 18, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    Mare ko,
    Our prayers are with you for your full recovery. While we will continue to visit Curly and keep her company while you can only use a single hand for PC games, we’d love to visit you one of these days…will call A for updates.
    Love you, and God bless!

  5. ms firefly October 28, 2009 at 11:00 pm #

    your husband is a real sweetheart!!!
    i hope you are feeling much better now kittymama, so sorry for being out of loop, i was very busy with my shop. {{{hugs}}}

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