Easy as an Open MRI

My 84 year-old mother slipped and fell the other day. At least I think she did. She was strangely reticent about telling me what happened but I could see she was favoring her left side. I started to make an appointment for the doctor but she stopped me.

‘”It’s really nothing. I’ll be fine in a few days. I’ll just rest up. I take enough pills as it is. Don’t need any more, for sure, so no appointment, please, ” she said somewhat stoically.

My mother can be a bit like that, a little anxious about trying new things or even meeting people. I pressed her a little more and this time she got angry and agitated with me so I left it alone.

When I saw her the next day, I thought she winced when she was getting up out of her chair.

‘Mom, I’m not letting this go on any longer. I going to make an appointment for you to be seen right away,”

‘No!” she roared back

‘Would you mind telling me what’s going on with you? There’ s something bothering you, what is it?”

There was a brief pause before she relented.

“You don’t know this because it happened a few years ago while your dad was still alive and taking me to my medical appointments. Do you remember that time I hurt my back? Well, I went to have it x-rayed and they put me in this RMI machine. It was completely enclosed and I had a panic attack. I was screaming so much, the technician had to come and get me out of it. I was so embarrassed. I’m not going back inside that tube. I’m just not. That’s that.”

So that was what her resistance was about.

“Mom, I’ll call the doctor’s office and see if there’s another way you can get an X-ray.”

I called the doctor’s office, who referred me to the imaging center. The girl there was very nice and had some wonderful news. They have an updated open MRI, which isn’t enclosed.

“I know,” said the girl sympathetically, “You don’t know how many of our clients are relieved that they don’t have to go into that tube. I’m told that 15% of people are claustrophobic, but from what I’ve seen many more are MRI-tube phobic. This latest machine is awesome. No more anxiety!”

I hung up and told me my mom the great news.

You could see the tension drain from her face.

‘So when’s my appointment?” she asked, an impish smile breaking out across her face.