Tag Archives: claustrophobia

A tight squeeze

thank you noteA sincere thank you to Michael, the MRI technician at Lenox Hill Radiology, who was so patient with me today.

I have a history, recorded on this blog, of bad experiences with closed MRIs, and my claustrophobic fears seem to worsen with age.

Michael was extremely patient with this anxious, weepy woman who is far too old to be acting that way.

Many thanks, Michael.

Maybe I’ll outgrow this fear one day…like after I retire.

Don’t fence me in

ClaustrophobiaI’ve mentioned here before that I’m claustrophobic.

It’s getting worse instead of better.

I had to have another closed MRI yesterday, and unlike my experience a couple of years ago, I was a bit of a wreck.

The technician used all the bells and whistles to calm my fears — and trick my brain — into thinking I wasn’t in a narrow, closed tube.

But they didn’t work this time.

When I got home, I started reading up on possible therapies, cures even, for this debilitating fear.  Guess what the first recommendation is?

Get an MRI.

Sadists.

 

Save the children

It’s no secret that I’m claustrophobic.

There are security guards at the St. Louis Arch who probably still talk about the girl who hyperventilated all the way up the elevator to the top (and wouldn’t go back down…for two hours).

I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
covered strollerSo I am happy to see small children today won’t have any problem at all with small, enclosed spaces…what with their mothers wrapping them in plastic inside their strollers!!

I, on the other hand, am gasping for air just looking at those poor kids.  Don’t they know their oxygen is running out?

Wheeze. Cough.

Sputter.

Flowers…or weeds?

I have read some books over and over. Other books?

I wish I’d never cracked the cover.

flowers in the attic bookCase in point — Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews.

This book was published way back in 1979 — when I was young and impressionable — and its harrowing tale of child abandonment, abuse, and eventual incest between siblings imprisoned in an attic for other two years made me nauseous.

(An attic?  Let’s add claustrophobia to the mix as well.)

Flowers in the Attic was the first in a five-book series by Andrews, but I couldn’t stomach reading anymore.  And in 1987, the original book was made into a movie.  I’ll admit I watched it; I just had to see if it was going to ‘go there’…and luckily it didn’t.

Well, that luck has run out.

A new Lifetime movie adaptation is scheduled to air in January, and they have promised to be faithful to the book.

Luckily, I’ll be busy watching Downton Abbey.

Conquering fears (with lots of help)

Today I survived a closed MRI.

For someone who is intensely claustrophobic, this is a red-letter event.

ClaustrophobiaI did my homework on the procedure, so I knew what to expect.  That’s why I opted for an open MRI when I needed imaging on my left shoulder a couple of years ago.

But an closed MRI was the only option today, which meant I had to face my fears.

I began by taking a light sedative, at my doctor’s advice — to take the edge off.  And the technicians were great, walking me through the device and the actual procedure step-by-step.  But the greatest help during what would have been 30 minutes of hell?

A series of mirrors that bounce images in the exam room back to me, so I always felt like I could see the outside world clearly…regardless of my position within the tube.

Hey — mind games are welcome here.

Tight spaces

I am claustrophobic.

ClaustrophobiaAnd the condition rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times.

Riding the elevator to the top of the St. Louis Arch.  Getting an MRI for a shoulder injury.  Or simply being crowded into the corner of the elevator by one too many people.

But I never thought a facial would freak me out.

I was at a salon today over lunch — indulging in said facial, thanks to a birthday gift card from a generous friend — and the technician completely covered my face with a solid wrap, leaving only a small slit for my mouth.

Needless to say, I panicked.

Once I explained my phobia, she offered to leave a slit for my nose as well.  I still couldn’t see, but I did deep breathing and mind games to remain calm. Not exactly the soothing experience I had in mind…but hey —

My skin looks fabulous!

Plastic people

It’s been bitterly cold in NYC the past few days, and in the family-friendly Upper West Side, this has been a common sight:

The plastic-covered baby carriage

On an intellectual level, I realize the plastic covers serve a useful purpose, shielding the child inside from the cold, snow and rain.

But my claustrophobic mind registers only one panicked thought…

He’s smothering!  Get that poor kid out of there!!

Sorry.  All better now.

It does makes me wonder — would my fear of small spaces have been averted if my mother had used such a baby carriage when I was young?  Will children today whose mothers use such contraptions have less of a chance of developing claustrophobia?

For their sake, I hope so.

Some good should come out of being publicly shrink-wrapped.