One of my least favorite things about my life with chronic illness is having imaging appointments. Whether it's my yearly brain MRI, or a chest X-ray, the whole process is uncomfortable, and sometimes even painful.
Usually, when a physician wants me to have imaging, they will schedule an appointment, usually the soonest available is a week or two out, sometimes more depending on the test. You usually have to arrive at the hospital 15-30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time, on top of that, there is typically a wait.
They almost always make you change, even if you follow their instructions on what to wear. I almost always go into these appointments in a sports bra, t-shirt, and leggings or yoga pants with no metal. 9 times out of 10, they still make me change into a hospital gown. I don't know about you, but I would feel much more comfortable in my own clothes. A hospital gown is not the most comfortable, or flattering thing to wear.
Next, sometimes you have to have an IV for contrast, or worse, DRINK contrast. Yuck. Most people with chronic illnesses have so much scar tissue in their arms from countless sticks for labs, IVs, etc., which makes the process that much more painful.
Then, you wait seemingly forever for results. No one ever calls you in a reasonable time frame. I often find out results for myself online before I ever get a call from my doctor.
I do however, have a few suggestions to make the process easier.
First, if there is going to be a wait, let me know! Even just announce to the waiting room, or have a board with waiting times up. That way I know if I have enough time to use the restroom again, or get a drink (if allowed).
If you give me guidelines on what clothes to wear to exam, let me wear them! I will even let you check them for metal. I get that not everyone follows these guidelines, so you make everyone change into hospital gowns, but then don't give me instructions on what to wear. Someone needs to design more comfortable hospital clothes, that are not so degrading.
There should also be a quick, 2 minute phone call within 3-4 days of the test to confirm everything was normal. If everything wasn't normal, please let me know as soon as possible. I lose sleep over this!
Do you have any suggestions for common problems faced living with chronic illness? If so, let me know in the comments!
|Me, in an uncomfortable, unflattering hospital gown before my appendectomy|