Tuesday, October 25

I Survived the Tube!

I'm back from my second trip to UCLA. Yes, I had my cardiac MRI done. Having an MRI is fascinating. Actually I had a Magnetic Resonance Angiography since they gave me a contrast agent to show my heart and blood flow. They shot some magnetic material (gadolinium)  into me to take a series of images while I was laying in a tube like tunnel. If you are claustrophobic, it might be quite challenging. There isn't much room and you can't see out. The machine does all kinds of things that cause it to make really loud noises. You have to have headphones on to not only protect your hearing, but also to hear the instructions from the technician running the machine. The really cool thing was that I brought my iPod and they plugged it into their sound system so I could hear my own music in the headphones. The music would then cut out anytime the tech talked to me. She gave my breathing instructions just like when you get a chest x-ray. However, I sat in what I will call the tube for about 1 1/2 hours. During that whole time she intermittently tells me when to get ready to hold my breath while she catches images. The hardest part of being in the tube is lying down on the table in it for such a long time. Other than a pillow for my head and a pillow under my knees, it is a hard surface table.  Between her breathing instructions I was able to shift my legs a bit, cross and uncross my feet, wiggle my fingers and toes, and stretch some. I just wasn't allowed to move my torso or it would make the images blurry. She gave me positive reinforcement telling me what a great job I was doing being still and holding my breath for sometimes 20 or 30 seconds. Really it wasn't that hard, but I guess since it goes on over an hour you want to encourage people. It can take up to 2 days for the doctor to get a chance to review the results so we shall see. I know it went well though.
I'll get back to you about the other aspects of my trip to Los Angeles, the same day President Obama was there AND that it rained for the second time that month. The same times I was there. Trust me it's gonna be good.

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