An appointment for an MRI scan to try and find the cause of Tilly’s vertigo was arranged for 0855 the morning after camp. I dragged an exhausted Tilly out of bed, battled even more rain, struggled to park the van and arrived right on time, but unfortunately, at the wrong location!
Knowing that we were bounced out of Orthotics for being a few minutes late during the half term, and appreciating that MRI scans are part of acute medicine, I felt my knees buckle. I’d done it again! I’d let Tilly down and she would have to be seen at a later date! I felt close to tears when the delightful reception staff told me that many people make the same mistake; that they would call the MRI Team and that ‘of course they’d still see Tilly’. I couldn’t believe my ears, and we dashed away, back into the rain, back into the van and battled once more to find a car parking spot at the other location. We were greeted with kindness and care and invited to pop to the café whilst they rescheduled Tilly’s scan. It meant so much to us to be so gently managed as we were both in a bit of a state by now with the mix-up and also worried about the actual scan.
Tilly was terrified, but they had made a decision not to give her a general anaesthetic as they hoped she would be able to remain calm and still. Tilly’s stress levels were climbing when she was put into the care of the most remarkable man. He listened to her fears and reassured her that there was nothing that would hurt, but she would just need to cope with the loud noises and remain still.
I lay Tilly on the ‘ironing board’, and they pulled the ‘bird cage’ over her head. Tilly was still very afraid. She was given some earphones to muffle the sound of the scanner. Tilly was moved gently backwards into the open mouth of the big ‘tumble drier’ and the process was started when Tilly said she was ready. My heart broke as I saw her battling her fears and trying to be as brave as she could. Little tears rolled down her cheeks and I could not reach in to dry them. I felt helpless and so inspired by my courageous little girl.
The whole experience took about twenty minutes during which time the Radiographer spoke gently to Tilly and verbally carried her through without a hitch. He gave her an 'MRI Superstar sticker' which she proudly displayed on her armrest.
On the way out we called in at the PALS office (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) to report how understanding and caring everyone in the MRI Department had been. Tilly skipped out saying that she wouldn’t be scared next time. What more can we ask?