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There’s a reason I share so much personal stuff since my Crohn’s journey started isn’t that I want sympathy.
Admittedly, I AM an attention seeker, but not when I am unwell. When I am unwell I want to be left alone as much as possible. The reason I share this kind of stuff is that if it helps even ONE person feel a bit less alone, then that is amazing to me. Several things have happened to me since all of this started and I had my hospital stay where I have thought “Jesus Christ this is not normal” and then after a lot of Googling I’ve found someone on some obscure forum that the same thing has happened to.
Let’s talk about being scared of MRIs.
It sounds like I am being a massive drama Queen right? If you are of that opinion when you read this, I don’t blame you, I don’t. When my Nan, who I was very close to, started refusing MRIs and tests when she was dying I was fuming with rage at her. It simply couldn’t enter my mind that she would rather stay unwell and die when a test could save her. Ultimately, none of the tests she had would have helped. She refused food and died from malnourishment (Yes, malnourishment. If you have read my own hospital story you can probably imagine how worried my Mum, my Nan’s Daughter was).
These sorts of mindsets are easy to have with no first-hand experience. My Crohn’s diagnosis has taken so long that I don’t remember my VERY first MRI as an outpatient. Overall I remember it not being pleasant, but not awful. The one I had during my inpatient stay in Basildon Hospital was a different story. With a blocked bowel and SMA syndrome, I was in agony in the hospital, and I was on two different types of morphine and tramadol. One thing Basildon Hospital loves to do is not bother telling you when you are having a test. Were I prepared, I could have ensured I had pain relief before I went. But a porter came in the morning and took me from my bed before I had even had my morning meds. Small bowel MRIs are not fun anyway. The liquid they make you drink before is a lot if you are currently in a huge IDB flare, so that causes even more pain, on top of not having had pain relief. My ward promised to send a nurse down to give me some oramorph, and in the hour and a half I was waiting to go in, no one showed. As you can imagine, by the time I got in and had to lay on my front on the table I was in pain, stressed, crying, hurting, feeling sick and the overall experience was horrific.
Unfortunately, MRIs happen to be a quick and effective way to keep up to date of what is going on in my bowel, so I knew I’d have to have them when I got out of the hospital, and I started worrying about it the minute it got booked. It sounds dramatic for a routine test, but I had to get my GP to give me some diazepam. He gave me 10mg to take an hour before I went in. Once it had kicked in I must admit I couldn’t have cared less if the nurse came in when I was all changed and said “Kelly we are going to need to shoot you out of a cannon”. The litre of drink still caused a great deal of pain, but it is what it is. Funnily enough, when they came in with the jug of it and a whisk, all I could think was “Wouldn’t it be funny if I stole the NHS’s whisk?”. I didn’t, they are underfunded enough. We also had some fun and games trying to find a vein, which is the usual for me, and I was kicking myself because, at my last blood test, the nurse told me they couldn’t use material tourniquets, but if I got my one, they could use it. I did but forgot to take it, I didn’t even think about needing a cannula. Laying on my front again did give me quite a bit of pain, but I am hoping that because my bowels were actively hurting when the pictures were being taken it will go a bit further towards getting funding for my biotherapy.
So I just wanted to write this post for anyone else who is scared of MRIs. Or hates blood tests. Or has had a bad experience in the hospital and now finds it traumatic even popping in there for medication or paperwork. Your feelings are valid, and never feel bad about using any tools you need to help you cope.
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Love to know your thoughts guys?