Being in a Coffin..Sorta.

Since having my gall bladder removed last year, I’ve had this nagging pain in my right side rib cage area. It’s a consistent dull pain which I was told should go away a couple of months after my surgery. Well it hasn’t and after an ultrasound and an endoscopy (tube down the throat), it was time to pull out the big gun. Today I had an MRI and it was not fun.

The Machine

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and to be honest, I don’t know how it works. I just know that it’s one of the best ways to look inside the human body without having surgery. If you’ve never had an MRI, it can be a bit of an experience. The machine is rather large and circular in shape. If you look at the picture I included, you can see what it looks like. Now you see that tiny little donut hole in the center? That’s where you go in! Yep, they stick you in that hole to be able to scan the body parts they need. At 6’4″ and 235lbs, I’m a pretty big guy so being squeezed into that little orifice was, how should I say, THE SUCK!

As they slide you into this tube feet first, you have two choices. You can either put your hands behind you (like you’re raising both hands) or you can put them at your side. I chose the latter because it was just more comfortable, especially because I had an IV in my arm. The dude then covered my eyes with a small towel and slapped some headphones on my ears so I could listen to music. As I’m being pushed in, I could see slightly from under the towel and that’s when it hit me that I was INSIDE THIS INSANELY TIGHT, SMALL TUBE WITH NO ABILITY TO MOVE!!

A Coffin

Now, I’m by no means claustrophobic but being in there made me feel like I was in a coffin and it was the creepiest feeling ever. For about 30 seconds, I considered asking them to pull me out but I composed myself, closed my eyes and focused on the music. From there things went fairly smoothly until about 10 minutes before the end of the procedure at which point, it started getting incredibly warm. I had an imaging device sitting on top of my chest and every time they used it, I could feel the heat on my chest. Couple that with the blankets they placed on me and I was a little more than toasty. :P

The Experience

Would I do this again? Hell yes! The alternative to this is to have someone cut me open and poke around. As a general rule, I try to avoid having sharp instruments opening me up so while being confined truly sucked, the alternative is far worse. Hopefully, they’ll be able to figure out what’s causing the pain and I can plan out my next steps.

Rey Bango


  1. I had an MRI a couple of months ago and was not looking forward to is as they were scanning my head which means going all the way in head first. To my surprise they had an “open” scanner which has no sides at all. It’s a bit like two burger buns one above and one below you and virtually nothing else so you can see all around you. If you need another scan I’d recommend enquiring if they have an open scanner.

    My only problem was I’d been running late and had just ridden up the worlds steepest hill on a bike, I was totally out of breath, covered in sweat and my heart was pounding. I then had to try to keep still while beads of sweat ran down my face and I was dying for a drink. Much fun!

    • Oof. That stinks about the sweating but I really wish they would’ve had that MRI machine for my procedure. Open scanner for sure if I need one in the future.

  2. I vaguely remember doing that when I had my appendix out. The worst was drinking all the solution beforehand which apparently helps them ‘see’ things better.

    Hope you feel better!

    • In my case, they put in an IV so they could inject iodine for a clearer picture. When I had my endoscopy done, I had to drink a mixture to clean me out completely. Not pleasant. :P

  3. Another fun time is having a PET scan.

    Now my experience will be different because over the last couple years I had a bout with colonrectal (I am 48) so that was fun. After a year and a half of chemo treatments a month ago I was going through the follow up process of 6 months since the final surgery.

    I had a CT scan (which at least was better than the MRI since I wasn’t fully enclosed) which unfortunately found a small mass (about the size of a pencil eraser in my lung).

    So I was brought into a special trailer (the PET scanner is so expensive they rent the equipment out to med centers for one day a week) where they had me sit in a chair (I swear I thought I would be strapped in) and they injected me with a radioactive dye. The staff then left the room (I was too radioactive at that point), returning in 45 minutes when they did the scan. Then for the rest of the day I was supposed to stay away from pregnant women and children under 5. Scary stuff.

    BTW, they eventually did decide the mass needed to be removed from the lung. I went in 1.5 weeks ago, had surgery and was back at work 4 days later. It is sore but I am coping.

    • Wow I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that but it sounds like you’re recovering and that’s really great to hear. I’m glad we had the technology that found your mass and you were able to have it removed. :)

      • I am glad of the tech advances and also how fortunate I am to have such good insurance.

        I did feel bad all afternoon about kind of jacking your post to talk about my stuff.

        Did they say whe you would get the results?

        Hopefully everything will be fine. I am jealous about the headphones though. All i got to hear was the machine operating.

        • No worries Michael. I posted this up so we can all share experiences. I’m genuinely happy for you. :)

          As for me, I’ll know the results in about 2-3 days.

  4. I hated the first run with an MRI — actually, the first time I walked out, said “I would rather have the disease”. After I practiced sitting underneath my coffee table with a catcher’s mask on for an hour at a time, I finally was able to go in and do the MRI. I’ve had about 10 of them in the past 3 years.

  5. I never had music though, just ear plugs. I find myself envisioning javascript routines to get through the 45 minutes or so. It’s like scuba diving, if you panic you’re !@#$-ed

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