Well today I became the patient as it was the day I had my MRI arthrogram of my hip. I don’t make a good patient as I don’t like to relinquish control. The MRI arthrogram is not a simple MRI but rather dye is injected into the hip. The procedure combines my two greatest dislikes: needles and small spaces. I know I am a person who has given a number of injections but when it is my body I don’t like to watch getting them. The bottom line for me is I really want a diagnosis for my hip, which pops audibly and aches on a continual basis. Patients have even begun to ask me about my limp.
One thing that happens is that people assume I know exactly what is going to happen. Yes I have ordered the tests but never really researched the exact procedure. After I registered I was taken to the changing room and was able to keep my own top but had to put on those fashionable one size fits no one shorts. They even let me keep on my socks! t. I laid down on a table under a large x-ray. The doctor uses the x-ray to make sure the injection is going straight into the joint. The injection is right in the groin. First. he injected me with a numbing agent, which was a thin sharp pain for a couple of seconds. I did read where some places gave you a choice of doing the numbing injection or going without. Trust me, do the numbing. The doctor was excellent He kept the needle in me for a minute while he prepared the dye. Once I was all numbed up he injected the dye, which doesn’t hurt at all. It does make your hip feel full, like a balloon which gives you a few seconds of pressure. It’s a strange feeling for about a minute, and but the body quickly adapts.
Then a few minutes later they put me in a wheelchair, because your leg needs to move as little as possible, as to not disturb the dye. An MRI technician came and wheeled me down the hall to the MRI room. They made the room really relaxing with dimmed lighting The machine looks like a huge donut, open on both sides, and I went through the hole. What’s nice is that my head was outside of the machine. The technician gave me a ball attached to a wire, to squeeze if I needed anything. The headphones were out for repair so no music but I did get ear plugs. The technician watches you at all times through a glass window. The MRI took about 35-40 minutes. It was painless and not that loud with the earplugs. I was actually able to nap for a few minutes
After completing the test I was able to walk out and was easily able to drive home. The nice thing was the numbing medicine actually gave me pain relief. This is something important to relate to your doctor because it does show the problem is in your hip joint rather than your bursa. My hip does ache a little no worse than usual.
If you must have invasive tests here are a few tips:
Inquire how many of these procedures that facility does in a week. I chose a sports center as I knew these would be done on a regular basis at that facility. To be frank, if someone is sticking a needle in me I would like this not to something they do once every 6 months.
Ask how many injections the doctor has done. Years ago, I had to have a back injection and was asked if I minded it being done by residents. I said it was fine but never asked that question and quickly found out they had not done many. I did ask today-ask-it is your body and you need to feel comfortable with what is happening. Today I did have another resident (the attending doctor was there as well). I did question him and was comfortable with his answer. He was excellent.
If you have questions ask prior to the start of the procedure. When I called to schedule I asked how long the MRI would take-I was told 3 hours. When I asked today they said at most 40 minutes. My appointment was for 12:45 and I was out by 2.
The staff and doctors were very kind, patient knowledgeable and efficient. I had a positive experience and not because I was another health care provider. I managed to keep that information secret.
I shared this experience because I want people to be informed. The more you know, they better choices you can make about your treatment.
Results? What will I do? That is part 2 so there will be more to come.