The noise was deafening. It was not something I was prepared for at all.  I almost thought I am gone, it was time to say goodbye to this World. To tell you what led to this, I need to go into my recent past which goes like this…

Like any other day, I bent down to pick up my clothes from my lower closet to get ready for school. There was a sharp pain in my back and I could not move, sit or stand. I held back my tears and screams and slowly rubbed my back to steady myself and slowly I sat on the edge of the bed that was nearby. It was such a bad lower back pain that I had never experienced before. I gave it a couple of days but the pain did not subside at all.

My aunt recommended an Orthopedic surgeon and I immediately took an appointment and visited him. He asked me to take an x-ray and on seeing the result he said everything looked normal. He prescribed some medicines and asked me to meet him after a couple of weeks if the pain still persisted. The pain did persist. I could not sit or bend much. I felt like a doll, a stiff one at that.

I sent a message to the doctor that the pain was still the same and he recommended an MRI when I met him in his clinic. My mother and I went to get the MRI done.  We were asked to pay for it and then wait. While waiting a nurse came and asked me to change. After about half an hour an attendant called out my name and asked me to go with him. I followed him into this room where there was a huge machine. He asked me to lie down on the space provided. He mentioned to me that I should lie down straight without moving even when I hear some noises. Finally he brought a skull helmet of sorts and fixed it on. At that moment my heart raced so badly, I went out of breath and I told him to take it out immediately as I was claustrophobic. He removed it and said that even kids get this test done without fussing. It was amusing for him to see a grown up lady act like a kid I guess but for me it was more than that.

I told him that I was claustrophic and small spaces and things kept near my face freaks me out. He did not seem to care much. He put another neck rest instead of the skull helmet and then fixed two round ear accessories near my ears. He then mentioned to me that for the next 20 minutes I would be on my own inside this machine. I told him that I cannot go through with this test and that I would like to leave. He convinced me that I would be ok. I requested him to stay or for my mother to come in and be with me as I cannot be on my own after this brief experience with this machine.

He finally agreed for my mother to be with me and I told her to never let go of me. The technician asked her to hold my feet. Then began my ordeal. It was like the machine was sucking me in little by little. Each time it sucked me a bit more it would make all these loud noises that scared the living daylights out of me. At some point, I thought this was the end of my story here. I saw a white light and suddenly the temperature also became very cold. I saw this as entering hell. It was all white and so cold that I was shivering so badly. I thought to myself if Im dying then the face I would like to see last is Swamiji’s. I brought his face in front of me and kept looking at his graceful face. Suddenly, the technician screamed asking me not to move. I could feel the machine slowly bringing me out of my misery.

Finally, I was out and then comes the attendant announcing that I have to go back inside for another five minutes as I was moving a lot. I saw this as punishment being extended but I had to do it anyway. After the five whole minutes I was free at last. I actually came to know the value of being free. I must at this point thank the technicians, the attendant and my mother for being patient with me and helping me get the MRI scan done.

I only wish they make a better MRI machine for people who are claustrophobic. I don’t think people take this condition seriously. Infact that attendant was laughing at me as he thought I was behaving worse than a child. I really caanot say “All is well that ends well” in this case as it has been one of the most traumatizing experience of my life and I don’t think I can ever get an MRI scan done again.

There are couple of things I did learn from this experience – 1. I have a serious condition of claustrophobia so I need to seek help to work on it 2. To take care of my body better and to treat it with grace and respect it deserves. Also, to have a healthy lifestyle so that I can avoid such freak accidents going forward. I think it will also help to have my mind in check through the mindfulness practices and meditation available on Black Lotus app.


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Anushree Nagaraj

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