Reinventing-The MRI machine

Hey! It’s my first Reinventing post. This one has to do with the MRI, and it was birthed because you do a lot of thinking when you have to sit still for 45 minutes when you get an MRI. I’m sure it’s not as creative as Bryan’s, and it’s certainly not as funny, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

So, I just had to go in for another MRI. I’ve had several, and they are not fun. Here are a few suggestions to make it a little more comfortable.

1- The noise. MRI’s are LOUD. You pretty much always get ear plugs. This time, I got some pads by my ears, too. Some places give you headphones with music, but I haven’t been able to hear the music. Probably, if you turned the music up loud enough to hear it over the sound of the MRI, you’d lose some of your hearing. So, my suggestion is some really high grade, noise cancelling headphones on top of the ear plugs. You could hook these up to the tech in the control booth, so they could give you information that you could actually hear.

2. Entertainment. I don’t know how long the average MRI lasts, but mine lasted 45 minutes. You have to stay completely still during your MRI or it messes up the images, but it can be a challenge to entertain your brain for 45 minutes (or longer, my dad once had one that lasted 2.5 hours). So, what can you do? Well, stuff with your hands is out, you can’t knit or solve the Rubik’s cube because that would cause motion which messes up the MRI. Plus, at least half of you is in the tube where you don’t have enough room to do stuff anyway. Music is out because, at least I, couldn’t hear it when it was on anyway because it would have to play too loud (although maybe with the noise cancelling headphones, it wouldn’t have to be quite so loud). My MRI machine had a mirror, so I could see my tech. Now, last time, my tech did some juggling and had an entertaining looking conversation with another staff person. This time, my tech made serious faces and was hidden behind her computer screen most of the time. So, either the tech needs to be more entertaining, but not funny because laughing could make you move around too much. Or, instead of a mirror, they could provide you with some sort of e-reader. They give you a squeeze ball (like at the end of a blood pressure cuff) to call for help if you get claustrophobic and need out, so they could give you some kind of a clicker to turn pages. You could be reading some sort of interesting mystery story or biography instead of thinking up stuff in your head (like “I hate MRIs” or “Do I have to go to the bathroom?” or “Does my nose itch?”).

3. Comfort. There is a pad for under your head, and they stick a wedge under your knees, but besides that, you’re laying on a cold, hard, flat table. It hurts your back and your tailbone. Now, I’m sure some of this is for sanitary purposes, but I’m thinking a washable surface memory foam cushion would be a vast improvement. You could just wipe it down with something that kills germs and disgustingness. Or even, if you have to have repeat MRI’s which many of us do, we could have the option to buy our own pad and bring it in and out with us. I would totally do that.

4. Contrast. You also have to have IV drugs to highlight areas. I don’t know any way to improve getting poked with needles which I hate with a vehement passion. But maybe, we could at least get a sucker 🙂

All this being said, it seems that they have made some improvements to the MRI machine. The new one that I got to use didn’t require me to enter in full-body which made it feel more open and less coffin-like.  It didn’t make rattling noises like rocks in a dryer, it made a sort of buzzing/beeping air raid siren sort of noise (which believe it or not was an improvement because it at least sounded at regular intervals instead of the other random pops and bangs it used to make). It didn’t take as long. I used to have to get 3 scans after contrast. This time, I only needed one.

Have you had an MRI before? What would you do to improve it (besides skip it 🙂 )?

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