Living Like You | My experience of having an MRI during COVID-19

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MRI machine

Self-care is a hot topic these days. Some people enjoy exercising while others relax by watching TV. My friends find it odd that part of my self-care routine includes MRIs. It sounds bizarre, I know! I no longer have MRIs annually but when I do, I look forward to it. 

But then I needed to have an MRI during the pandemic. Days before my appointment, I started to feel anxious. I remembered being brought back almost 20 years ago when I first started having MRIs to test if I had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Those feels of the unknown and being scared showered over me like a gust of wind during a storm.  

I would often bring someone with me but was told that, due to COVID-19, no one was allowed in the hospital with me. Psychologically, I was nervous to walk into a hospital during the pandemic, but I also didn’t want to reschedule my MRI and potentially wait another year.  

I recognized that I needed to do a mind shift and remind myself having an MRI would allow me to relax and break away from my duties as a mom and entrepreneur. I quickly referred to my tips when getting an MRI to make the experience easier. As I left my car, I stood tall, put on my mask and walked into the hospital with confidence. I couldn’t help but notice the unwavering silence in the hospital. I watched people scamper by, not engaging in ‘small talk’, like we used to before the pandemic. I realized that if I wanted to have a pleasant MRI experience, then the best way was to smile at others. Smiling releases positive neurotransmitters called dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. This is the non-medicinal way for me to be calm.  I thought, ‘but how do I smile if everyone is wearing a mask?’ 

I did a test. As I walked down the hall, I decided to make a point of smiling behind my mask to each person I passed. I nodded and ensured that they could see a smile in my eyes. I said hello to many people and I also placed my hands together in the namaste pose. And people reciprocated!  

By the time I had arrived at the MRI room, I was no longer feeling anxious. In fact, I realized that by smiling, I participated in self-care without even knowing it. Yes, getting an MRI during a pandemic can be daunting but trust in the process, follow the rules and smile.

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