The MRI in a Trailer

After my initial doctor’s appointment, I was told I would receive a call to schedule my MRI in 5 days. If I didn’t hear anyone, I was supposed to call a phone number they gave me on a sheet of paper. Knowing that Thanksgiving was in the middle, I gave them a few extra days.

Nine days later (Thursday), I hadn’t heard from anyone so I gave them a call. JOI is now affiliated with Baptist, so I ended up in their phone tree. Turns out the phones at Baptist were down, so I had quite a time trying to get through. 🤷‍♀️ Huge thank you to their social media team who responded to my tweet explaining the situation. Finally when I did get through a few hours later, I was told the person handling my case with the insurance company had left for the day but I would get a call the next day.

The next day at noon (Friday), I called again and was told they had just requested authorization from my insurance and I would hear something in the next 10 days. ugh.

The very next business day (Monday), I got the call & scheduled my MRI the very next day. Yay!

Dr. Freeman was very particular about where I got my MRI and sent me to a place in Orange Park. I was told by him, his staff, checking out, and on the phone scheduling that the MRI is in a trailer and to not be concerned. I thought they meant I’d be pulling up to a fenced off weedy empty lot with a trailer on it, but I pulled up at a regular building. After I got checked in and we stepped outside the building, rounded the corner and walked to the back of the building to see a plain old semi trailer. He wasn’t kidding. It was pretty sketchy.

We climbed the stairs and stepped inside and to the left, in its own room, a MRI machine sat patiently. It barely fit inside the semi.

Honestly, I barely fit in the MRI! They had me climb up on the table, which wasn’t exactly easy because #hipsaga. When I laid down, they mentally prepared me for a two hour session while they taped my feet together. They placed some object between my feet at my heels so my feet at a triangle with my toes touching and heels about five inches apart. Not my favorite position. About an hour in, my leg started feeling weird like it was slowly falling asleep. If I accidentally moved, they’d have to start the section over which would draw out the MRI even longer!

They rolled me on in. My elbows rested on the sides of the MRI machine. I’ve had them before but don’t recall them ever being that tight. The top was just inches away from my face. I started to get overwhelmed. I knew I needed to force myself to CTFD or it was going to be a long procedure.

The first thing I tried is a technique I learned at Jacksonville Fitness Academy. After a workout, it’s encouraged to complete your day with a parasympathetic breathing technique. The point of this is to calm the nervous system. I also use the same technique at night to fall asleep when I’m having issues.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as “relaxing breath,” involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. Some people claim that the method helps people get to sleep in 1 minute. Personally, I can attest to this that it works… when my mind is clear.

I gave this a shot. With the clicking and knocking of the machine, the fact I couldn’t see much, and the noise reducing ear buds I was provided, it became a fairly meditative state with despite my feet being taped down and my fear of moving.

After calming down, I managed to distract myself by listing my favorite tv shows and trying to recall all the different characters and their corresponding story lines. Just when I started thinking that I couldn’t take another minute, 90 minutes was up and I was trying to remember how to walk after having my feet taped together for so long. My leg had begun to twitch, so I was grateful to be done!

From here, I was told to wait again, and someone from Dr. Freeman’s office we plus call me. Great, waiting again. And waiting was what I did. A week and a day later, I still hadn’t received a call. Now inching into the Christmas/New Years holiday, I was getting nervous so I called the doctors office. The main JOI line scheduled me a call. The scheduler didn’t have any information specific to my appointment, but at least i was scheduled. This was a little unsettling because I just had to assume the MRI results had been reviewed in time for my appointment.

Friday afternoon before the holiday weeks, I sat down again with Dr. Freeman. He had reviewed my MRI. Based off the MRI, he felt he would be able to repair the labrum rather than debride (remove) it. He did explain that MRI’s can be deceiving, and he wouldn’t know for sure until he was actually in surgery.

Next steps? Wait, again, for someone to call me to schedule my surgery and my pre-op appointment. I waited the entire Christmas holiday without a call. Tuesday, New Year’s Eve day, I called and received the voicemail of the scheduler who was out of the office but would return all calls on Thursday, January 2. I left a message. Thursday while riding a school bus from employee parking by the courthouse to the TIAA Bank Field to bartend the Taxslayer Bowl Game, I got the call. My surgery would be scheduled January 20. My pre-op would be January 15. Finally! Tangible progress!

I know this wasn’t exactly the most life altering blog post. I’m hoping it might help someone mentally prepare for their upcoming MRI. It may also explain the “machine in a trailer”. Perhaps the methods I used to relax during the MRI will also help someone with their MRI or just to sleep at night!

How did you manage to not lose your shit during your MRI?

Catch up on all the FAI & Labrum Repair posts:

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