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THE DREADED MRI    Published 2014-10-13

I was having some issues with my upper neck so the doctor asked me to make an appointment for an MRI.  And at that very moment, the anxiety began.  You see, I am severely claustrophobic and could not stand the thought of being scrunched into a machine.  But, the pain had been so bad, that I knew I just had to man up and do it.
The ideal machine would have been an open MRI but that would have taken another week to get an appointment and I had been in so much pain that it was necessary to take this appointment.  When I made the appointment, I asked about earphones and they said that there were earphones that were available.  Ah, some relief.  Keith Urban and I could go into the MRI machine together.  
So, with an overwhelming anxiety, I drove to the office.  I was escorted into a room to take off my clothes and get into one of those ever-so-lovely gowns (do you tie in the front or back – UGH).  As I toted my IPod with me, the nurse reminded me that I could not take my IPod with me.  I started to sweat and I said “no, I asked and they said I could” and she said, on some tests it is okay but on this particular test, I was unable to take it inside.  The flood gates opened.  My tension and anxiety all came out and I had a head on panic attack.  I felt so vulnerable.  I was shaking and panicking and could not even think about going into that very small area of the machine.
As I walked down the hall to the room where the machine was located, I could feel the pressure of my heart pounding through my chest and I was eyeing up the closest bathroom in case I thought I might lose my breakfast.  
As we entered the room, the MRI tech went from being a very good customer service person to a very empathetic human being.  Her voice changed.  She sounded like a mom.  She assured me that she would be right there with me.  She encouraged me to get onto the table and we could then try a few things.  She put ear plugs in my ear.  She place cushions around my ears (to help me from moving).  Still, with that very soothing mother voice, I felt nervous but it was getting a little easier.
We tried a first run.  Slowly, she moved me into the machine.  About half way through I panicked – again.  And it was not a pretty panic (as if there is one).  I was sweating, could not catch my breath and jumped off the table.  I just knew I was getting ready to hyperventilate.  But she remained calm.  She said “we can work at whatever pace you like.  Just take some deep breaths.”
Round two.  She suggested that I put a cold washcloth over my eyes so that I could not see how close I was.  So, we tried again.  I practiced breathing and I got in there.  Then, in trying to help, she gave me a blanket, a velour blanket.  Um, I cannot stand the touch and feel of velour or corduroy.  But I know that she didn’t know that and I knew she was just trying to comfort me.
She talked me through everything.  Of course, then the loud banging inside the machine began.  So, I tried to match up the beats with songs I knew.  About every two minutes I would hear her very soothing voice say “Dawn, you are doing great.  Keep it up.  I am here if you need me.”  And, yep, I made it through.  This wonderful woman deserves so much for her patience with me and her soothing voice.  Also, I learned so much about myself.  I learned that I can push through anything.  I also learned how important positive thinking is in those types of situations.  I told myself “you can do this, you can get through this”.  
I tell this story for those who provide customer service.  You have the ability to help people in every situation but it is important to remember that every customer has different needs.  Someone who excels at customer service finds those needs and helps to make customers feel comfortable. 

Blog Archives

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