are there any other non - claustrophobic ways to determine if you've had a stroke or TIA?

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Last year my BP was 259/138. I didn't have any numbness in my limbs but texting words wouldn't come to me. It was jumbled. My speech wasn't slurred but my husband thought my voice was very different I was left tied down in an MRI some years ago, leaving me extremely claustrophobic. I've tried all things to overcome it but haven't been successful. The doctor wanted me to do the one thing I just couldn't do..even though I was scared to death I had a stroke. My memory hasn't been the same since and I find I'm not coordinated as I had been prior. Any ideas on how to test for a stroke without an MRI would be appreciated.

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  • Posted

    I had a Donought x ray / CT and a MRI one  and i'm here to say I was scared but there was nothing to be scared of.  I worried myself silly as I was out of it for nearly a year ..By that I mean I was in my own dream world.  I never knew what happened to me until I woke up.  I had been quite ill or so I am told.   Wouldn't you rather know as you will stress yourself out and stress is not good for your head.

    Imagine every pain or headache you get,  you'll be wondering, so be brave and sing while having it done xxxx put your mind at rest.  Nothing worse than living not knowing xxx  Trust me the only thing that worried me was my fat bum never fitted on the seat lol xx Good luck and all you hear is clunk clunk thats all xx

     

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    • Posted

      Dear Winnie,

      Thank you so much for your reply.  I truly appreciate your support.  The true problem is that I know I should just go ahead and do it, however, I have suffered unmercifully for 20 years with extreme claustrophobia.  It's truly not a mere issue of me making up my mind to do something that would be truly good for me.  I panic in such extreme ways that a normal person or a person that feels a "little" claustrophobic could understand.  My claustrophobia began when I was left in an MRI with my head tied down in a contraption and the tech decided to leave me in it while I desprately tried to claw my way out of the machine.  She was fired since she did this to another patient just weeks earlier.  I had nightmares while I woke screaming for the first three weeks.  I have gone through every type of therapy that you could possibly imagine to try and overcome this.  I have had open and stand up MRI's with the same results.  It's so frustrating.  Thank you again for your understanding.

       

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  • Posted

    Hi beth,

    ​The other alternative is CT Scan but that's a hit and miss, there has to be a clot there in the first place to be seen otherwise it doesn't pick up much after the event, that's TIA ,not sure about a full blown stroke.

    ​I can fully relate to your claustrophobia as I suffer from it as well and I refuse to get in, Doctors can knock you out to do it but when a doctor requests that an in house argument usually begins....lol.... they say that they haven't got time to stand around monitoring a patient who's been knocked out for an MRI the head Neurologist will argue with his team that it's an Anesthetists job.

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    • Posted

      Dear Samuels,

      Thank you kindly for your reply.  I appreciate your input and will take your advice into consideration in the future.  Unfortunately, my claustrophobia started 20 years ago due to being left to claw my way out of an MRI...of all things.  Last year, when I went to the hospital and told a minimum of ten people that I was extremely claustrophobic, it was not passed on to the doctor.  Unfortunately, when I refused to go into the MRI while truly scared to death that I had a stroke, the doctor decided to try and COMMIT me into the mental wing of the hospital.  Thank God for my husband.  He explained to the pyschiatrist (from Turkey--he was not with me in the USA) what the true issue was while I was locked in a literal 2X3 ft room with no windows.  We are still considering taking legal action against the hospital because now I have a true fear of entering hospitals.  The medical institutions truly need to take claustrophobia seriously and find good alternatives.  I guess a "normal" person's response would be to buck up and do the test if you truly believe you're having a stroke.  Unfortunatey, both of my parents died due to strokes and heart attacks...my father at 49 and my mother at 70 due to a massive stroke that left her multi-plegic. I took care of both of my parents so I understand more than the average "normal" person how serious strokes are.  If that's not enough to convince you of the horror of strokes and to immediately overcome claustrophobia, I really don't know what is.  A "normal person" would think that would be enough to buck up and do it.  It's just that severe...not crazy.  Thanks again for your kind advice

       

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    • Posted

      Hi beth,

      No I fully understand your claustrophobia, it's not something that someone can just "buckle up" and get on with it, the fear is real, I had suffered panic/anxiety attacks for 20 odd years caused by a snake bite , the conditions/phobia's are definately real.

      That's terrible isn't it.....leaving you alone in an MRI machine,may I ask what happened, did they actually forget you was still in there or did they just walk off to do something else  ? I still suffer a fair bit of agoraphobia, I was told this is normal after having a heart attack, I've had 3...mild ones, they sent me spiralling back into an agoraphobic state, no panic attacks *touch wood* just the agoraphobia.

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    • Posted

      Dear Samuels,

      I could tell that you did understand and I truly appreciated your input.  I do think that there are different levels of this anxiety and fear though.  For a period of time I did well enough to do a CT scan and that's when they found a tumor in my lung and that my pancreas was enlarged.  They went up a little to high when they were looking for my kidney stones and then the "fun" of exteme claustrophobia began again by a series of absurd hospital screw ups that I seem to attract like a magnet. lol

      What happened was I went to a neurologist that told me he thought I had a brain tumor.  At that point, they just diagnosed my Dad terminally ill and I was his caregiver.  I'm telling you this part so you will know how desperately I needed to do this test and I was more than willing.  The doctor asked me if I was claustrophobic at all and I wasn't at that point.  The doctor gave me a valium anyway and told me that I should take it about 30 minutes prior to the test.  I also took my nephew (whom I raised and his two year old brother died from a brain tumor...had no choice, he was the only one available) I also bring this up because if I had thought for a moment I had any issue, I certainly wouldn't have brought him into this. I raised him after his brother died and even immediately after this incident, I tried to put up a valient front as not to upset him.  I honestly didn't believe this would be a big deal.  I was only concerned with the outcome and not the test itself.  Upon getting there, I took the valium and an hour and a half later than my scheduled appointment the women finally took me back to the room.  It was very large and there was another room with a window.  I kind of felt like I was at NASA about to take a trip to the moon..lol.   Either way, she put me in the machine the FIRST time and I asked to be removed.  I had never felt that panic in my life.  I sat on the edge of the machine and told her this and explained that the valium had made no difference for me and asked if she could send over for something more to help me.  Her response was, "this is not a hospital.  If you happen to have a reaction to medication and die, I cannot help you !  NO, (LOL) I will not be getting you any medication!! "  Either way, I was taken back from her attitude but told her that I would be willing to try this again. I explained how important this was and if she would be willing to let me relax for another five minutes that I really wanted to do this.  She told me either I do it now or I would be cancelled.  Of course, I went ahead and tried.  I must tell you that discussing this at this moment with you is hard...this is how terrible this is.  I think her schedule must have been behind (obviously) and she didn't have the bedside manner AT ALL.  To get back to this...she told me she would put the ear phones on my head and a cloth over my eyes and that if I panicked again that she would be behind that glass wall and could see me and she could also hear me...so she would pull me out immediately...no worries.  BIG LIE there.  After screaming and yelling to get out for what seemed like eons ... and then trying to claw my head out of the harness it was in and literally trying to claw my way out of this machine for what actually timed out for 26 minutes...I guess I passed out.  Turned out... she went for coffee down the hallway and thought I was an idiot.  She was fired eventually, since my neurologist knew of another she had done this to.  He was livid to say the least. I had nightmares where I would wake screaming for weeks. Back then open MRIs weren't readily available.  My husband had to drive me 5 hours to a town outside of Chicago and I cried and panicked through the open MRI with my husband holding my hand. 

      Thankfully and very Blessed...I didn't have a brain tumor.  It has however left me with this very terrible situation.  My husband travels throughout the world and I could be taking trips with him and seeing wonders I have dreamed of seeing with him.  I cannot do this because of the claustrophobia ...I can't get on a plane.  Well I can but I have to literally be knocked out to do it and have two people to carry me through the airport...that's just in the US.  I can't imagine what would happen if some health issue came up for my husband that I needed to get to him.  This also causes me great anxiety when he is gone.  Movies theaters are now out too.  Car rides in the mountains prove difficult.  I can't watch certain movies ...panic attacks can insue from those too.  It did get better for a bit when I was first saved.  The hospital messed up with me again.  Now it's the worst it has ever been. People don't know how serious this stituation can be...even the doctors (they seem to be the worst at times).  People may think that movies and trips can just be avoided, but I was always an outgoing and active person that enjoyed doing many things with my husband.  It changes your life in profound ways.  It's not the big things that annoy me the most.  Actually, it's the small ways that get me.  Like sleeping with covers on and waking in a panic if the blankets hit my face in my sleep wrong.

      I hope that you find relief from your agoraphobic state that you find yourself in from time to time.  My heart goes out to you.  Thanks for taking your time out and listening.

       

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  • Posted

    I had an MRI scan and they put headphones on you and even ask what music you like to listen to it wasn't scary at all the only thing I didn't like was having to keep still. I would go ahead and have it done because you will worry as I was doing thinking am I losing it and I was the same as yourself getting my typed words mixed up even though I knew how to spell them correctly and was even spelling them outloud but my fingers didn't cooperate with my brain and I had short term memory loss it was very scary.

    The only difference is I knew I had had a TIA because I was rushed to hospital with the face droop etc

    The MRI scan showed damage to my brain and they say I had been having a lot of small strokes that have been going unnoticed but at least I know now what was causing my problems and after the shock I find they aren't quite as bad as before but that was I think due to not knowing

    So I would if I were you try and have the MRI for your peace of mind as far as I know I don't think their is another option as it involves the brain.

    Did your face drop? or have difficulty holding up your arm(s)?

    A cat scan is not as reliable and can only give a limited view.

    Good luck

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    • Posted

      Dear Hilary,

      Thank you for taking the time to respond to my request.  Unfortunately, twenty years ago I was left in an MRI (of all things) and this has left me frozen from claustrophobia.  It's truly not a matter of me simply making up my mind to just do it. 

      From the way you described your circumstances, I don't doubt for a moment that something very wrong didn't happen to me that day.  Please read my response to Samuels to get a bigger picture of what happened that day. 

      My face didn't droop and my arms or legs didn't feel numb, however, I felt something was very wrong with me the evening before.  Enough so that I looked in the mirror and smiled because I was certain something very much was wrong with me. 

      Unfortunately, the damage that probably could have been prevented wasn't. I just feel blessed that it isn't worse than what it probably could be.  My breathing is now bad.  My pain management doctor seems to believe something has gone wrong with my diaphram?  I plan on following up with some sort of pulmonary specialist and finding out about Samuels advice in being put under.

      Thank you again for your kindness

       

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