Friday, January 27, 2012

Another dose of empathy

I spent a little over an hour last night in an MRI scanner.

My left arm continues to have bothersome neuropathic symptoms (shooting pains, pins and needles, paresthesias) and the neurologist requested I have an MRI of my head and neck. I already had an MRI of the left elbow, as well as a Nerve Conduction Study and EMG without a clear diagnosis being made.

While I was in the MRI, I couldn't help but think about a lot of things, including wondering if something seriously abnormal would be found on my scans. But, the majority of the time, I was thinking about many of my patients, lying alone in the noisy MRI scanner, often every few months, wondering if the cancer they were being treated for had gotten smaller, enlarged or stayed the same.

I was tempted, more than once, to squeeze the little ball I had in my hand to let the technician know I wanted a break or to stop the procedure all together, especially after being scolded a time or two for accidentally twitching. I can only imagine how tempting it must be for my patients undergoing cancer treatments to say, "no more...thanks but I've had enough."

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