I became claustrophobic after being shoved in sleeping bag and not let out at a birthday party sleepover. Those damn parties can be cruel, especially if the birthday girl was forced to invite you because the mom’s were friends. I wish I could go spelunking as it looks like fun but instead it is hiking or rock climbing. When I was younger my claustrophobic tendancies were worse, but now I can recognize the weird fear building within me. For example, I can often begin to feel the fear and anxiety in a crowded space. I bring myself back under control by breathing. It is all mind over matter!
When I am signed up to have an MRI, I am still a little apprehensive about the whole thing. I always given the option of being put under, but really who really wants that to happen to them. Last friday I had to go to Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Alberta for my final MRI before they do my surgery. So I am not so nervous, as I am becoming a veteran at having this test done.
I am given ear plugs – thank you! I lie down on the table, they put a cushion under my legs. The tech shoves foam pieces around my head and neck to keep me from moving as I let him know that I am a figiter and will do my best to be still. Then the tech reaches for it – the mask! This is where the feeling of claustrophobia begins to stir. I know they describe it as a football helmet…but no…it is not. I played tackle football and have worn a helmet. Tell that story to another female who has not worn one those helmets before. To overcome the fear stirring inside me, I close my eyes. My eyes will now be closed for the entire test. Focus on my breathing…Focus damn it, I don’t want to be here any longer than I have to. Come on it is mind over matter – breathe and think of travelling, the beach…anything. I ask how long this test will be. The tech answers “25 minutes.” I shout out “easy peasy as the last test was 1.5 hours long!”
With a lurch the machine moves back and I am in the donut, my own little space capsule. And the concert begins. There is on large sound repeated by a few shorter higher pitched sounds. I imagine cartoon aliens having a conversation and I am watching the show with my boys. I was feeling good about the test and thought I would slightly open my eyes – Wrong thing to do! I quickly shut my eyes again and calmed myself down by focussing on my breathing.
The mind is a weird thing, I know that I was flat on a table facing up, but I felt like I was moving around – twisting and turn – very strange stuff. Then the final test comes and it like an emergency siren going off – dong…dong…dong…dong. The ear plugs weren’t really cutting it but now I am imaging hiking and looking out at a beautiful view…a nice beach with blue sky and warm sea breeze on my face. I know I can do this! The sounds finally stop and with jump I am actually, not imaginary, moving forward. The tech comes and takes off my mask right away. I open my eyes and say “thanks” as I sit up and are ready to jump off the table. I am told to wait because the table is raised…so the movement may not have been imagined after all!
I survived quite well and I am getting over my claustrophobic fear. Next time I should try spelunking…easy cave spelunking where I don’t have to wiggle on my belly.