I was advised this while I was lying in Hospital Transit Centre that some Ambulance officers were called in sick and one of the vehicles had broken down. So the transport service was little chaotic.
I was ready to be picked up about two hours before my appointment. One hour before the appointment, I phoned the Ambulance Office to make sure someone was coming to take me to the appointment in time. I figured this later that the hospital ended up dispatching their vehicle and staff to pick me up in time.
When the Ambulance arrived, I was ushered into back passenger seat area. As I looked perfectly healthy, they didn’t think I needed to lie down. And I felt I could manage about 20 minutes drive in the seat. I drove to the hospital by myself last time, and I was fine. So, why not today?
By the time we arrived at the hospital, I was suffering from bad Orthostatic Intolerance (OI). Probably the combination with motion sickness, I was feeling nauseous and close to passing out. I was hyperventilating, having vertigo and had lost strength in body and muscles; they almost carried me into wheelchair. I grabbed a paper bag for hyperventilation, but I knew it wouldn’t help much. And my arms were too weak to hold anything.
In Transit Centre, they gave me a bed to lie down, and I pushed pillows away and try to get as horizontal as possible. They tried to give me more pillows… After a while, my arms and legs started jerking and shook violently as if I was getting electrical shock.
They just had no idea what happened to me. I explained that I cannot tolerate upright position well. I excused I thought I was going to be okay. Later, the staff who accompanied me with Ambulance told me that I scared him very much. I could tell it was very true as he kept his eyes on me constantly while I was there before and after the MRI, and offered me blanket, dimmed lights in my area and so on. I apologised him. But I really thought I was going to be okay…
I kept explaining him I was going to be okay. It was nothing unusual for me and all I needed was to lie completely horizontal (maybe water would have been good), and eventually I will be okay. However, I can understand that my word wasn’t really convincing when they saw my pale face and all the symptoms happening to me.
I’ve been trying to figure out what was the difference between driving by myself and being a passenger. Maybe, when I’m driving my car, I am not really in upright position. Where the passenger seats in the Ambulance was much more upright position. Whatever the reason is, I will not hesitate to lie on the stretcher on Ambulance in the future.
I was carried to Imaging Centre on the bed/stretcher. I was still on the recovery from the bad OI, and I needed to keep my eyes closed most of the time. I was still feeling woozy and rather disorientated.
A business like technician introduced herself to me. I was surprised she knew what my difficulties were and assisted me efficiently to the changing room, and then into MRI room.
She quickly explained what she was going to do and what was going to happen. The machine is very noisy and I was not allowed to move while it was taking photos of images. While photos are taken, the machine gets extremely noisy. However, I wouldn’t feel pain or discomfort.
First, I lay on the MRI table and she positioned my head and neck securely into the place. She gave me chunky cushion under my legs as well. She gave me headphone to cover my ears. She played soft music for me, but it was another noise to disguise factory or construction site like noise from the machine.
The Neurologist actually requested head and neck image, and I was impressed because she is also a through doctor like my GP.
Since she seriously asked questions to make sure I would be safe in the machine, I was getting little nervous. What would happen if I was attacked by pain in the tube? Would my head explode? Before I asked the question, she gave me the emergency buzzer and told me I could use it in emergency and she would stop the procedure immediately. She also informed that she could hear me if I talk to her in the tube. I felt relaxed enough and we were ready to rock and roll.
There was not only the noise, but also the vibration with the banging noise that resembles demolishing concrete floor next to my head.
Noise was really discomforting. I heard loud motor hamming constantly, loud rhythmic banging noise, then occasional vibrating noise like machine gun. The technician occasionally talked to me and checked if I was feeling okay, gave me positive feedback that I was doing well, and encouragement to keep stay still.
The process was not easy experience for me as my muscle were constricting. I felt strong pressure in head and jaws and it was actually forcing my jaws to close too tight. The pressure was painful. I felt jaw jerking were about to start and worried it would affect the process. However, the pressure made jaws and teeth close so tight that it couldn’t jerk or move. My hands and fingers were making funny shape due to strong muscle constriction. My left foot was curled away, and right foot was curled upwards. And the tension in muscles slowly spread and climbed towards calves, thighs and then hips. When I get muscles constriction like these, I’d already be in excruciating pain with cramps. But that didn’t happen. It was just muscles constricting strongly towards different directions, but no particular pain.
Does this say that my body is sensitive to magnetic field? If so, is it bad?
I was told to close my eyes during the process. And I felt they were jerking rapidly. Sometimes they pushed my eye lids and slightly opened them. I worried about this may affecting the image, but eyes were the least concern in this image. And the technician gave me positive feedback that I was doing very well staying still.
While the machine was working on my neck, I was not allowed to swallow. I focused my mind on the painful pressure on jaws and teeth, and held my breath.
Whole process including changing clothe took about an hour. I may have been too slow getting ready. But since I didn’t move during the process, it saved time and allowed us to finish as scheduled.
I lay on the bed/stretcher and waited for someone to take me back to the Transit Centre. One of the friendly staff told me that I needed to wait for a while as the Transit Centre was little busy. I told her I didn’t mind waiting.
I was little upset when a young staff came from nowhere and kicked the brake on my bed/stretcher. He didn’t say anything or even looked at me, but started pushing it. He kept ignoring me. On the way back, he stopped and chat with other staff for a while. I felt I was a spare parts of the bed and didn’t exist there as a person.
He positioned the bed back to its place and kicked the brake again. Then he walked away without looking at me. I said thank you to side of his face, but he completely ignored.
Other than him, everybody was nice and kind. They even organised sandwich for my lunch, and made me tea. The rude young man actually turned TV on for me without saying anything.
I had to wait for another three hours there, but I didn’t mind. MRI was done. And I was lying in a comfortable bed. There was nothing for me to worry about.
After about an hour I returned home, I crashed. It was very unusual for me to crash so soon. But nothing was usual about the day.
Now I wait until the hospital will give me the follow up appointment with the Neurologist.