Today was my daughter’s 4th MRI this year. Over the last 3 years, she’s had at least one every 3 months. So, she’s had a little more than 12 of them. Since her very first aborted attempt at one, when she was only 8, she’s been terrified of the machine. The sounds scared her. She’s needed to be sedated for every MRI since. However, since she is getting older and there is a risk, however minimal, with sedation (Which is why it can only be done within the presence of an anesthesiologist.) we’ve had to find a way to help her do it without. So we found a counselor to help her work through her fear, but it’s only been less than two months.
We went in today prepared to do another sedation. Instead, her doctors wanted to try Versed, anti-anxiety happy medicine, and have sedatives as a back-up. The nurse tricked her, making her think she’d given Versed, but she wanted to wait. See if she could do it on her own.
So, my dh and I watched our daughter walk into that hallway where the MRI room was. Usually she is wheeled. The door has always needed to be closed before. The sounds would send her into a panic. We’ve kept it open most of this year, but she’s always had to be knocked out in the hallway. It wasn’t even until this year that she was knocked out on the gurney that goes into the MRI room. It’s always been the bed before. But today…today she walked through the hallway and up to the open the door.
She froze on the line that separated the room from the hallway and stood there for the longest time. By herself. She’d already told my dh and I that she wanted us there today but not to say anything as she worked through her own fears of different things from getting an IV to going to the radiology holding room. We stood back and let her do it, watching her take deep breaths and build herself up.
Then she passed over the line, walked up to the gurney that slides up to the MRI, and sat on it. She was crying, but there was no arguing, no fighting, no last minute panic attacks. They hooked up her oxygen monitor, dried her eyes and got the heated blankets ready. She was stiff and crying as they laid her down and covered her up, but she did it. They rolled her into the machine with the door open so we could watch. It seems like such a tiny hole, but it swallowed half her body and she didn’t panic or scream.
They shut the door and the machine, that’s noisy even when it’s sitting, started making the horrible knocking sound. We waited, listening for a scream that never came. After a minute or two, we left for the waiting room. She did the entire 40 minute test with one nurse holding her hand and writing a poem on Thalon’s heated blanket. Later she copied it onto paper and I think we’ll frame it.
It won’t always go so well, but today my little girl conquered one of her biggest fears and came out smiling. That’s something worth sharing, so I’m doing so—with everyone.