Well, we did it. We dove. It. Was. Awful for me that is. She had no problems until it got hot and muggy about half way through. Then she was bored and hot and started to fidget. But back to the beginning. Unbelievably I had quite an experience. It started out ok. I am not panicky. I have never had claustrophobia, I ride roller coasters and am not skittish. I had a mini freak out when the Dr. zipped it shut. Its cylindrical in shape and about 7 feet long so we had room to lay down or sit up. it has to inflate and that takes 5 min and it makes your ears pop like when you drive up in the mtns. Not uncomfortable though. I had to turn around and look out the vinyl window to see the Dr and I just thought "I can't do this, I won't be able to get out.!" Terror welled up inside me as well as panic and guilt because I paid a lot for this (we are skipping our summer vacation at the beach) and I love her and want to be able to bear anything to help her, even my own discomfort. The shame of losing momentary control was immense. It was mostly in my head thankfully, I didn't scream but I did insist she unzip the chamber and let me stick my head out and think for a second. She said it happens sometimes but most always with the parents, the kids are fine. And that was true. Doodle thought it was funny. She happily read books most of the time, or laid in my lap.
I psyched myself up and told the Dr we would try again. I laid down and did the only thing I could think of that might help. I prayed. I started saying the Rosary. Now I am Catholic and that may be foreign to some of you but let me tell you - if you have ever been in a moment of intense fear and have nothing to cling to but prayer it helps to have something repetitive or meditative to say because you can't find the words that may be in your heart or head at the moment. Just get yourself to that place of peace that surpasses human understanding as fast as possible. I hate to sound dramatic. I certainly don't live my normal life like this but I want to be honest about this whole process and this is really what happened. It worked, I asked God and Virgin Mary to calm me and Pauli and to get me through it for her sake. I was able to have my phone in with me and that helped. I could call my husband, a friend or the Dr in the next room.
I started reading, time went by. It felt good and relaxing for a while. Then it began to be oppressively hot and sticky due to the pressure. I had a small fan but I directed it at her to keep her cool mostly. She got bored and agitated. I started panicking again . . . I thought "She is going to flip out and want to get out, I wonder if she is feeling what I felt at the beginning?" I had to get out. I prayed again, harder and slowly the panic subsided. I imagined a clock in my head counting down the time. Theoretically I knew we were safe and that there would be an end soon. But what did she think? Did she think we would never get out again? I can only imagine what she thought as she has never been able to tell me more than "sad" or "mad" and that has been very very recently. I hate autism. I hate it.
So I had an epiphany of sorts. I always thought people who freak out about enclosed MRI's were kinda wimpy and needed to get over it. My own mom had to have relaxing medication to get through it. The Dr. told me to take a Benedryl before coming in tomorrow. It hit me - my sister Becky, who passed last year, took a Benedryl every day of her life along with other medications like Zanax. She had panic attacks and phobias her whole life. God I had been so unsympathetic!! How could I be so harsh on her?? I am so sorry Becky. I get it now. I will never judge someone for their phobias again. I get it now. You have zero control over it and can't talk yourself out of it. Its a physical and psychological thing. I get it now. Wish I had understood then. I'm sorry . . .