Sunday, 23 August 2015

Health: My MRI Experience

I had been booked in for an MRI of my small bowel by my gastro consultant. As I've had two Crohn's flare-ups in the last year, they thought it would be wise to do a bit of investigation just to see how things are.

I had booked a taxi which collected me at my house and dropped me off at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. He thought I was going off to work but I explained briefly that I was going in for a scan. The previous week a colleague overheard I was off for a scan and assumed I was pregnant (which I'm not btw) so I clarified to the driver that in fact it was an MRI scan. He proceeded to tell me that he's had one before and about the nightmares he had before his and that he was claustrophobic etc etc which was far from reassuring. I too am claustrophobic and have been dreading this day. My GP had prescribed me some diazepam so I took these in the taxi en route.

After navigating the hospital corridors I found the MRI unit only to be told I had to find the X-Ray unit to get a nasogastric tube put in. The lifts weren't working (adding to my stress levels!) and so I took the stairs. I was feeling a little out of it, must have been the diazepam starting to work!!

The staff were lovely and made me feel a bit more relaxed. I think they could tell I was anxious and I got asked a few times if I was on my own to which I had to keep explaining yes I was and I intended on getting a taxi home. I got changed into my double gown and went through the questions and consent forms with one of their team. 

The nasogastric tube insertion was not pleasant. The consultant had to get it out of my stomach and into my small intestine and there was a lot of tooing and frowing which was very uncomfortable, particularly in my nose, and a little sore at points. Once it was in place though it was bearable, just. I was sneezing lots during and apparently I'm the only patient who has giggled during a nasogastric tube insertion! I'm so proud of myself for not panicking.

Next up was the cannula. I've had terrible experiences with cannulas before and was not looking forward to this either. However the nurse was fantastic & she got it in first time with zero drama and thankfully no tears from me. Phew!!

I then had to wait for my turn in the MRI machine. From the corridor I could hear how noisy it was but I had been told I'd be going in feet first on my tummy so I wasn't as nervous as having to go in head first. I really would have freaked out if that were the case. Although I had been organised and brought an eye mask with me so that I didn't have to see what was going on. The nurse gave me ear plugs to use, but the best ear plugs I have ever used are these ones from Boots. So I would perhaps consider taking your own, especially if you are going to be in there for a while.

By this point it was midday and I had been fasting since the previous night. I was certainly looking forward to a cup of tea afterwards and some lunch!!

I was going to have my bowel filled with liquid laxative via the NG tube and then a contrast agent put into the cannula to show up my veins. What I didn't realise was how sick I'd feel as they filled my bowels; they didn't manage to get the last two syringes of laxative into me. Add to that the bed of the MRI going in and out of the machine and I really did feel rather sick!! A bit like being on a boat!

I had to breathe in, out and then hold my breath for what seemed like ages. This was repeated a number of times. The consultant had to dash away to another clinic so the NG tube was removed (made me gag somewhat) and then I had a few more images taken. I glad when it was over. However compared to the colonoscopy, this wasn't nearly as painful or traumatic.

I didn't get any feedback; instead I was shown to a cubicle to get changed and then directed to the exit where I could wait for a taxi. I'm guessing if there is anything up with my results then I'd be contacted, otherwise I'm next seeing my consultant in October.


  1. Oh goodness this sounds unpleasant! Very well done for doing it by yourself, what a trooper. You deserved more than a cuppa and some lunch after all that. Hopefully everything's looking good and the flare-ups aren't anything to be worried about x

  2. Oh bless, it sounds awful. What a trooper though. I really wish you didn't have to go through all of this lovely. Hopefully the results won't be nasty xx


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