I just wanted to share my last few days with you. For those of you who don't know me, I'm Andrea Wilson, the Webmaster for Balance & Dizziness Canada, and I have two rescue dogs. I walk my dogs daily, as long as I'm feeling well... I always hate it when dizziness strikes and we can't get out for our lovely walks.
Recently, due to some health issues unrelated to my vertigo, I was scheduled for two MRIs: one was for Friday, May 18, at a private clinic called CMI, and the other was scheduled for today (May 21) at St. Paul's Hospital.
Well, a few years ago, I had an MRI on my neck and head, which was for vertigo issues, and it was not a pleasant experience! I had a dizzy spell while lying flat on my back and the noise of the MRI was very distressing. Fortunately, I am not claustrophobic, so that part was okay. Nevertheless, due to the dizziness, I got off the table feeling miserable and never wanted another MRI as long as I lived!
So, last Thursday, I told the friend I usually walk with that I might not be able to walk much at all this week because I was afraid I might suffer two dizzy spells due to the two upcoming MRIs. You see, when I get a dizzy spell, it usually takes three days before I feel myself again. These three-day spells are like black holes in my life that I can never get back. I can't walk the dogs, I feel awful and I just want to be curled up in a ball until I feel better.
So, you can imagine how I was feeling when Friday rolled around and it was time for MRI #1.
Anyway, when I arrived at CMI, I discovered that their machine was new and the opening was huge compared to the MRI machine I had first experienced. That was great, except I don't have claustrophobia. (The person ahead of me did, so her session took longer and my session was delayed by 15 or 20 minutes.)
When I got into the room with the machine, I made sure I had something under the small of my back, a bolster under my knees... and most importantly, two pillows so my head was not flat. Oh, and earplugs, as well as the big ear protectors, because I have tinnitus. This MRI was for my hip so it only took 40 minutes. Also, it was way quieter than the first MRI I had years ago. Easy-peasy and no dizzy spell. Hurray!
Whew! One down, one to go.
This morning I arrived at St. Paul's for MRI #2. Radiology is on the same floor as the Hurlburt Auditorium where we have some of our Balance & Dizziness Canada public meetings, so I felt a little bit at home.
I knew the MRI machine at St. Paul's would be one of the older models where the opening is really small, but, again, I don't have claustrophobia, so no problem with that. I remembered to ask for a little pad under the small of my back, a bolster under my knees, warmed sheets (yes!)... and two pillows. The ear protection was the same as expected: earplugs and the big earphone thingies.
What I didn't know was that, since this was a scan of my heart, that I would need dye injected intravenously and that I would have to breathe in deeply and hold my breath many, many times for nearly an hour. That was hard, but I managed it. The MRI machine's sound was far quieter than I remembered it, too, so that was good. And I didn't have a dizzy spell!
So, tomorrow the dogs and I will be meeting my friend for our walk. I'm very happy about that... no black holes this week! And I learned that, whatever condition you suffer from, hospital or clinic staff can probably accommodate it. Ask for what you need!
[Update: Well, I didn't walk the dogs the next day because I woke up with a bright red, swollen face. I went to Royal Columbian Hospital emergency department and was diagnosed with an allergic reaction to the dye that had been injected during the MRI. It took some Benadryl and a couple of days before my face had improved enough for me to be seen in public!]