Trapped in a tube with breakfast radio and a jackhammer


mri scanner jackhammer


There’s nothing like being in pain to make you appreciate feeling normal. Finally, after an injury and six weeks of pain, I am better. The whole experience has been a lesson in taking better care of myself.

In the middle of August I lifted something heavy (it was the straw that broke the camel’s back) and felt a twinge in my neck and upper arm.  A couple of days later the twinge had turned into what I imagine having an axe stuck in my shoulder blade would feel like, alternating with a feeling that my arm was being pulled out of its socket, alternating with feeling like the upper right quadrant of my back was frozen. Those feelings were pretty much constant, only temporarily relieved by pressure on the area (hard to do yourself) and stretching.

My GP ordered an MRI to see what was going on.

It turns out I have some arthritis (?!) in my neck and lifting the heavy thing caused a nerve to shift and rub against a small area of “excess bone growth” on some discs in my cervical spine. Wonderful.

“Is it degenerative?” I asked my doctor about this “arthritis”.

He laughed, “Well, we’re ALL degenerating.” Comforting.

So what modern medicine miracle would cure my ailment? Time. And no heavy lifting. Ever again.

My GP predicted if I rested it, the nerve inflammation would go down in 5 to 6 weeks. And I’m thrilled to report it has. I went from constant pain in the first week, to pain most of the time, to sporadic pain, to no pain.

Doc prescribed 10 days of anti-inflammatories for the really bad pain at the beginning, but after 7 days I didn’t need them. A hot water bottle on the area and stretching provided enough relief for me to manage it.

Now I’m pain-free and so grateful, because nerve pain is a shocker.

So now, it’s time to celebrate by looking back and laughing. I now bring you 49 of the thoughts I had while having my MRI (and a cough).

1. Oh, the pain.

2. That pain has GOT to be visible on the computer screen.

3. MRI lady can see it on my face, ouch, it really hurts.

4. Now when I say having an MRI is a pain in the neck, I can mean it, literally.

5.  But hey,  now I might finally be able to get out of my gym membership.

6. I need to cough, but it’s ok, I can hold it in.

7. I am so strong.

8. So I wonder if the gym needs an actual letter from the doctor or will this MRI report do?

9. Oh who am I kidding,  it won’t make a difference – what I save in gym fees, I’ll just have to spend at the physiotherapist.

10.  Oh crap, I really need to cough.

11.  Gluten-free sausages? $7.99? A kilo?

12.  Oh my god those radio ads – I think I’d rather just have the banging of the MRI machine.

13. Why didn’t I choose the classical music CD?

14. Oh… wait… MRI lady’s talking to me. Thank God. Human contact.

15. So clever how she can buzz her voice in to this tube to talk to me.

16. I wonder if I’m the only woman to come in here with hairy legs?

17. It was nice of MRI lady to say “Oh well, it’s Winter.”

18. Is Winter really an excuse not to shave your legs, or was she just being nice?

19. I didn’t even THINK about the fact I’d be wearing nothing but a knee-length paper robe.

20. The man waiting in the corridor had a dressing gown on.

21. Where was my dressing gown?

22.  I can’t believe I didn’t give my hairy legs a second thought this morning.

23. So many radio ads!

24. The MRI will be over before I get any music at all.

25. Don’t cough!

26.  If I can’t cough soon, I am going to cry.

27. But I can’t ruin these pictures.

28. Suppressing a cough is just not natural.

29. I wonder if I cough during the jackhammer noises, she will have to take the images again.

30. Or does Medicare factor in coughing and other MRI-mishaps?

31. Do you pay extra for coughing?

32. Must. Not. Cough.

33. I don’t know how much longer I can hold this in.

34. This is the longest three minutes of my life.

35. Can’t hold it here it comes!

36. I know I should cover my mouth but my hand is  just not going to fit under this head-capsule.

37. Oh sweet relief!

38. This is relaxing in a strange kind of way.

39. What are THOSE noises!

40. That’s a whole new kind of stress!

41. I can feel my back fat squishing together.

42. I wonder if back fat means reduced visibility of my nerve root.

43. I need to cough again!

44. Eyes are watering. Oh, there goes a tear.

45. So when I come out of this thing my mascara will be smudged.

46. Wait, am I even wearing mascara?

47. no, thank goodness. Too early.

48. Damn breakfast radio.

49. I’m going to need a muffin after this.


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  1. Jee, that sounds terrible, Alex. Glad to hear you are in less pain now but sorry about the ordeal! I guess you can’t be an Olympic shot-putter now. That makes two of us!

    • Rajat Hi, yes it was bad and I thought I would be dealing with it for a lot longer, but luckily it’s healed and now feels like it never happened. But I remain aware of its shadow and that does mean Olympic shot-putting must be struck off my list of options. At least I’m in good company.

  2. I really enjoyed this MRI summary, but so sorry that you had this happen to you. It is interesting to me, especially, since last Friday, while I worked at a warehouse, I must have strained something, because I felt my neck ‘snap’ or make a little crack. The next morning, I crawled to a hot bath, took muscle relaxant pill and tried to relax. I was heading at 2 to a special wedding… that is on a post of mine. Anyway, today is Thursday and I have not seen a doctor, since I have come to the conclusion I am degenerating, too! I don’t need pictures to tell me this. I am trying to be more careful, now! Thanks for your kind comment on my blog, I will be reading more over the weekend! (I don’t have a home computer so I go to the library after work, try to catch up extra on weekends!) Smiles, Robin

    • Hi Robin, glad my post was of interest to you. So sorry to hear you have strained something… I feel your pain! After what happened to me, I am not taking my body for granted anymore and these days I just will not lift anything heavy. I am familiar with that crack you felt/heard in your neck! I hope you are feeling better by now. Just resting it and a heat pack should help in time. Wishing you all the best, Alex.

  3. Thank you so much, I have been using a heat pad. Also, my friend made a cloth ‘pillow’ which has uncooked rice packed in it, (I wondered if if would work with popcorn…ha ha!) that you heat in the microwave and put on your neck. I like it, but it feels a little spiky. I am sorry you have felt/heard that crack in your own neck… The injury and 6 (or more) weeks of pain sounds miserable!

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