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I am severely claustrophobic and had to have an MRI scan yesterday…..
43

Tethersend01 · 17/09/2022 18:39

Posting in case I can answer questions which might help others in a similar situation….

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indecisivewoman81 · 17/09/2022 18:48

How did you cope? Did they sedate you?

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Tethersend01 · 17/09/2022 18:53

Hi, my GP gave me diazepam but only a small dose (4mg). I have really severe claustrophobia which is rooted in a very traumatic incident which happened when I was about 3 years old. I haven’t been in a lift or on a plane for over 20 years and it affects lots of areas of my life although I try to hide it from people as much as possible.
i was in a state of terror on the morning if the tests and was weeping and shaking uncontrollably yesterday morning but I had to have the scan so knew somehow I had to find a way!

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concernedrepurplehouse · 17/09/2022 18:56

Well done!

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35965a · 17/09/2022 18:58

Well done! That must have been so hard but you should be so proud that you faced a fear.

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Floydthebarber · 17/09/2022 19:01

Are they very loud? My dh had one a few months ago after hitting his head at work and said it was alright, not noisy, not hot. I had one over 20 years ago and it was awful! Loud, hot, I could feel the vibrations. I wondered if they have improved?

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MarshaBradyo · 17/09/2022 19:04

Did you have to be awake or was more sedation an option?

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Tethersend01 · 17/09/2022 19:08

Hi, it was loud but they give you ear defenders and you can music or the radio playing which muffles it a lot. To be honest the noise didn’t really bother me!
i was able to have a ‘wide bore’ MRI which is slightly wider and a lot shorter than the standard although still a pretty tight fit!!
there was a breeze inside i think it had some sort of air conditioning, if anything I was a bit chilly!

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Tethersend01 · 17/09/2022 19:11

I had to be awake as it would have been a major proceedure to gave it under anaesthetic, its possible but not done routinely and not in the hospital my Consultant is based at. I had my MRI privately and it would gave hugely increased the cost (would have quadrupled it basically!).

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blardyfeck · 17/09/2022 19:31

I struggle with claustrophobia too (I can't go in lifts, trains, planes) and having to have an MRI would terrify me. I think you've done incredibly well OP

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Pebbles16 · 17/09/2022 19:39

Well done OP. I had one last year (also extremely claustrophobic). Because of COVID restrictions, I couldn't have headphones and was SO loud. 20 odd minutes of hell but luckily no nasties detected.

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IpanemaChic · 17/09/2022 19:43

Well done. I had one last year and had a panic attack and had to be removed. After a lot of tears I managed to complete the procedure.

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MarshaBradyo · 17/09/2022 19:53

Well done op

I’m very claustrophobic too and I’m not sure I could do it

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GetOffTheRoof · 17/09/2022 19:56

My first MRI was a brain one. And that's when I discovered I'm properly claustrophobic... It was horrific.

My second MRI (upper spine, neck and chest) was on 5mg of diazepam and was not nearly enough. They'll need to give me at least 10mg in future.

Both times I was shaking so hard I spoiled much of the imagery.

The noise isn't the issue, it's the plastic ceiling 1" above your nose and touching your arms. A mask does nothing for me. And both times the CD player was broken so no music.

I understand they have standing and sitting MRI machines - that's what I'll be asking for in future - these were just horrific and it's made my fear of being trapped in a small space even worse. I was always twitchy about things like squeezing through gaps but now I just avoid it.

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felulageller · 17/09/2022 20:01

Did you have the doughnut? I've heard that's much better.

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hedgehogscrossing · 17/09/2022 20:09

You did amazingly well. I could not go in one, I just know I couldn't. I have an overwhelming feel of terror and panic. Even watching a caving video on you tube makes me feel panicked. Im fine on planes and some lifts as long as they aren't too small and its only myself and one or two other people.

Many years ago I had to have one in Germany where I was living at that time, and I went in feet first which was just about manageable back then. But now I think im worse.

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JuneOsborne · 17/09/2022 20:09

Oh god, I had to have a head, neck and spine MRI. It was the worst thing I've ever done. If ever I had to do it again, I'd need something to relax me.

It was the 2 cages on my head and neck that did me over. And I almost felt like my head was lower than the rest of my body.

I'd blocked it all out, forgotten all about it but reading your thread made me feel physically sick.

But I'm glad I did it.

What was it for op?

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hedgehogscrossing · 17/09/2022 20:10

How far above your face is the ceiling?

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Tethersend01 · 17/09/2022 20:15

I havent heard of the doughnut but CT scanners look like a bit of a doughnut!
there are ‘open’ scanners but unfortunately the image quality is not as good and my Consultant wanted the best possible images. He said if I couldn’t manage it he would refer me to an open scanner though but I really wanted to try the ‘wide bore’ and now I’ve coped with it I know I could cope again if i needed one for other health issues.

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Tethersend01 · 17/09/2022 20:18

I should say what enabled me to get through it was the amazing radiology staff.
they worked through it with me and accepted my need to ask the same questions repeatedly! I had complete faith they would get me out within seconds if I started panicking and they were pretty amazing to be able to instill that level of trust in such a short time.

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KarmaComma · 17/09/2022 20:20

JuneOsborne · 17/09/2022 20:09

Oh god, I had to have a head, neck and spine MRI. It was the worst thing I've ever done. If ever I had to do it again, I'd need something to relax me.

It was the 2 cages on my head and neck that did me over. And I almost felt like my head was lower than the rest of my body.

I'd blocked it all out, forgotten all about it but reading your thread made me feel physically sick.

But I'm glad I did it.

What was it for op?

I had to have the head cage on. I had a panic attack and could not go through with the mri. Still haven't had it 3 years on. Been referred to the open mri in Leeds, but still see quotes the head cage so I can't do it.

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FishFingerSandwiches4Tea · 17/09/2022 20:23

Well done for getting through it! I can't imagine how anxious you must have felt beforehand, I hope you're suitably proud for managing it 😊

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Tethersend01 · 17/09/2022 20:25

Im not sure exactly how far above my face the top of the scanner was I was trying to dissociate a bit, but I think Maybe 3 inches????
my scan was in two parts as I needed my neck and also my lumbar spine done.
for my lower back I went in feet first which I did first and my head was right at the opening so it wasn’t half as bad as I’d been expecting.
For my neck i had to go in head first which I found very hard but they put a sort of mirror over my eyes which allowed me to see the radiologists in the room behind the screen which again reduced the feeling of being trapped!

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Soontobe60 · 17/09/2022 20:26

I too have had MRI scans and found it claustrophobic the extreme. However, after the first one, I was given some special glasses to wear which had angled mirror lenses so as I looked up I could actually see the staff behind their glass screen, my feet and lots of the room. They’re a game changer!
www.wolverson.uk.com/products/mri-safe-mirror-glasses/

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endofthelinefinally · 17/09/2022 20:34

I have had several MRI/brain scans /CT scans. I have actually lost count now. I am claustrophobic, but I have found the staff so kind and helpful that I have managed to get through it each time. I think the key thing for me, given that I still have a huge fear of enclosed spaces/the dark, etc, is that I know the staff will talk to me and look after me and I am always so grateful to them. I have done a bit of work with self hypnosis and that has been very useful.
I became very unwell just after my son died and I am sure there is an element of knowing that the worst has happened and I no longer worry so much about anything happening to me.

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Tethersend01 · 17/09/2022 20:34

I would highly recommend for anyone who is claustrophobic to ask for a ‘wide bore’ MRI they are quite common unlike the fully open ones. Also only about 4 or 5 feet long unlike the traditional ones which are about 9 feet long.

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