I know it's been far too long since my last post, but life has taken over! I will update shortly but first I wanted to tell you about my rather 'interesting' MRI scan I had this morning.
I received my appointment letter about 5 weeks ago and rang straight away to inform them of Margaret in case that changed anything about the scan. Having a small bowel MRI involves drinking a lot of a pretty grim drink in order to see how it moves through your bowel. You are then given a contrast via a cannula in your arm, so the MRI picks it up. I was assured to come along as normal, with the only difference being that I would be given less of the drink.
I arrived bright and early this morning with my Mum, ready for what I thought would be a pretty easy, hassle free scan. The knowledge that I would be drinking less of the nasty tasting stuff and the fact I have had now had countless MRI's meant I wasn't nervous. On arrival I went through my medical form and was presented with a jug, half filled with orange liquid. I did as I was told, downing a cup full every couple of minutes to ensure that the whole thing was gone within 20. The drink isn't pleasant but is bearable, I've had it many times before so managed to get it down with relative ease.
Once finished I shuffled on through to the scanning room and hopped on to the MRI bed. A fairly weighted guard/brace piece of equipment was then strapped to my body, leaving my legs free but my arms stuck down my sides. It was a snug fit but not uncomfortable. It did however mean that there was quite a heavy item pushing down on my stomach... and Margaret. It did briefly cross my mind that this may not be great for her, but I didn't think much of it, as they knew all about Margaret.
I was given a buzzer to hold in case I needed the machine to stop and was then fed through in to the MRI scanner. I am not claustrophobic but wouldn't say I am the greatest fan of being in tight spaces. MRIs however have never bothered me. They are well lit and normally your legs or head are poking out the end - so I've never really felt trapped. No music was played through my headphones this time but I just settled down to lying still for the next 40 minutes.
Whilst being scanned, a mechanical voice tells you to "breathe in, breath out, hold you breath". It was about 10 minutes in, whilst breathing out that I felt Margaret's adhesive slowly peel off and a wave of fluid spill across my stomach and down my side. My heart sank and I frantically squeezed my little buzzer, unable to move either of my arms or stop the flow from Margaret. On being removed from the machine, I discovered that the drink I had been given was in fact a laxative... which had powered through the little colon I use at a remarkable rate of 15 minutes. What had poured out of me was the exact liquid that had gone in and I was covered in orange squash laxative. The weight & placement of the brace and the fact that I had downed A LOT of laxative fluid before lying very still was a recipe for disaster. I was not even half way through the scan and I was already a soggy, bright orange, mess with the bag hanging off my stomach. In short, I looked a complete state. I went out to my Mum laughing at how ridiculous I must have looked and most concerned about the staining all over my new jumper. We did a pretty good job of taping the bag back to my stomach (thank god for my Mum) and after emptying Margaret, had no real choice but to hop back in to the machine for round 2!
Another 10 minutes later and determined Margaret broke free from her tape and poured once again all over me. At this point I thought, 'What the heck' and didn't bother to press the buzzer again. I wanted the scan to be finished as soon as possible and already looked as if I had gone swimming in orange squash so things couldn't get much worse! I continued to lie there and with every 'breath out' instruction more liquid flowed free. I couldn't help but start to laugh at the pure ridiculousness of the situation I was in. Strapped in to a tube with a ridiculously quantity of orange squash pooling underneath me... What had my life come to!
What felt like a lifetime later, the scan finally finished and I had the cannula removed from my arm. I hobbled out to my Mum in an even worse state than we she had last seen me... I ended up being driven home with the majority of my sodden clothes removed, sitting on a bin bag. My Monday morning certainly didn't get off to your average start.
Thankfully I had the rest of the day free to chill out, I felt pretty sick and headachy after downing the laxative and the speed in which it had gone through me meant I was pretty dehydrated - something which isn't great for any stoma owner. I've tried to relax for the rest of the day, my body aches from holding it in such an awkward position for so long and I have generally felt pretty exhausted from the whole ordeal!!
It turns out that a lot of places don't even offer the laxative to those with an ostomy and I would certainly raise this issue in the future. I've never heard of this happening to anybody else in the past but my advice to any ileostomy owner having this particular scan is to explain the possible consequences of mixing a stoma, laxative and body brace...