“Which arm would you like the needle in?”, the radiographer asked me before putting in a cannula. “Whichever has the best vein for it”, I replied. I had an MRI on my hips this morning and it involved having a contrast dye (gladiolinium) to show what is going on with my hips in greater detail. How is rheumatoid disease affecting my hips? As I was complaining of so much pain in my hips and knees, my rheumatologist had ordered an MRI but gave me the choice of having my knees or hips done. I chose the hips because they have been painful for longer than the knees and feel like honeycomb.
Having had MRIs performed before, I knew what to expect. Once I had the needle in my arm (for the contrast dye which was administered near the end of the scan), I lay down on my back with a heavy ‘tray’ laid across my pelvic area. Ear plugs and headphones blocked out the noise from the machine. At first I felt a bit panicky and claustrophobic in the tunnel-like machine. Steeling myself for the next hour, I decided to focus on the classical music I’d opted to listen to (you could choose from a ‘menu’ of artists including Adele, Jamie Cullum and Eminem, amongst others!). Although it was quite hard to hear the soothing music above the persistent loud ‘knocking’ sound of the machine, it helped to relax me.
The first half hour passed quicker than I’d anticipated, partly because I was so tired that I almost fell asleep. The radiographer’s voice came over the microphone: “You’re doing really well. We’re half-way through.” During the second half, I started to get uncomfortable and hot with the heaviness of the ‘tray’ weighing on my lower body but kept my eyes firmly shut. I told myself it would be over soon. With about 8 minutes of the scan remaining, the radiographer came in (they were sitting in a separate room behind a glass partition) to administer the contrast dye through the cannula. Then before I knew it, it was over. I could get up, have the cannula removed and change out of the gown. What a huge relief. I’ve no idea when I’ll have the results back, just happy to have got through this.