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137. A Bad MRI Experience
“Boy, we just wasted a whole morning,” Roy
over the phone to his middle-aged son. Roy’s
had been scheduled for a magnetic resonance imaging (
) exam, because her shoulder had been bothering her
months. It had gotten to the point where
golf game was suffering—she couldn’t break 120 anymore.
drives, although still down the middle of the
, barely went 90 yards. Without the game of
and the company of her golfing companions, Pat
a depressed woman.
Her doctor had recommended the
exam. For a shoulder exam, the patient lies
up on a flat metal “bed.” The bed
into the MRI machine, like a DVD sliding
a DVD player. The patient’s nose is barely
inches from the metal ceiling. Many patients who
even slightly claustrophobic become nervous or even hysterical
they are slid into this compartment. The MRI
has to slide them back out where they
“breathe” again. This happens regularly, even though patients
warned about the tomblike environment.
Pat’s doctor had
her a sedative to take half an hour
the exam. He had also told her to
a sleep mask, which would cover her eyes
that she wouldn’t see the ceiling just inches
her face. Pat took the sedative and wore
mask. But as soon as she was slid
the way into the machine, she started screaming.
technician pushed the button to slide her back
. She was hyperventilating.
“Oh, my God! I could
it! It was like I was being buried
!” she exclaimed to her husband. “You’re such a
,” Roy told her as they walked out of