OK. I didn't really go to the beach today...at least not physically. I did go there mentally, however. I also pretended to be at a rock concert, on a ride at Disney, playing Ms. PacMan, in a tanning bed, floating on a raft, doing yoga, and in the bath.
Why all of the pretending??!?!?
Well...I would LOVE to tell you I found the secret to pain management; using visualization as a form of healing.
The truth? I was in an MRI machine, trying to avoid having a panic attack -- a new experience for me. I am typically a champ with medical testing. This, however, was a whole new ball game.
Now, if you've never had an MRI before, you may think "What's the big deal? You just lie on your back and they slide you into a big tube. Right?!?!?"
Yes. That's what I thought.
What I didn't realize is before they do that they enclose your head in this sort of plastic face mask/astronaut shield. THIS is where I had a teensy, weensy bit of a problem.
We started out fine. Ear plugs in. Head cupped with two styrofoam bricks. Neck wedged firmly in some kind of contraption to keep me from moving...kind of like a boom box packed in styrofoam.
The tricky part came when they locked that "sheild" over my face (mine was all plastic, not with bars like the one shown). Suddenly, I couldn't catch my breath. The room became very, very hot. Everything was spinning. I felt like I was going to pass out.
"You alright???" the tech asked....sensing my panic.
"No...take it off." I said. "Sorry, I'm feeling very claustrophobic."
For a second, I tried to steady myself.
"You could get out if you had to," the tech explained. "If you need anything at all, just squeeze this ball."
"Does THIS compartment thing, still have to go in there?" I asked, pointing to the chamber behind me.
"Yes," she said.
"Awwww...F*k!" I said, catching us both by surprise.
After a few deep breaths, I tried again; this time asking if they could put me in the tube so I could see what it felt like. To keep from throwing up, I breathed in and out while some guy talked and tried to calm me down through a periscope. It felt like I was looking through a view finder or through some strange rear view mirror. "See, you can see me through here." he waved through the peep hole. "Just start." I interrupted. I could hardly stand it. I felt like I was drowning.
To avoid panicking, I shut my eyes, breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth. Then, I started counting backwards by three's from one hundred. 100, 97, 94, 91, ... Then, I pictured myself at an Ani DiFranco concert. Then, I pictured myself lying in the sand, etc, etc.
The air was nice. They kept it circulating...which was a good thing. In between images, they reassured me and told me how much longer I had...which was thoughtful, but made it hard to pretend I was elsewhere.
After five minutes, I got the hang of it. I was even able to incorporate the noise and talking into my daydreams...which was a blessing. Thankfully, it only lasted 12.5 minutes.
All in all, I would not call it a fun experience. My head is pounding from the noise. Still, if it provides more pieces to the puzzle, it's worth it.
PS In case you are wondering, here's what it sounded like.
Altered Today: New tests, hopefully some kind of explanation for my speech/headache/walking problems