What do people think when they are in a scanner?

There was the sciatic nerve causing him that terrible, unbearable pain in the lower back. The pain is excruciating, disturbing and paralyzing. Yes, paralyzing. It stiffens the muscles around the nerve so much that the poor person can not move freely even when the brain wants to get moving. It is a protection the body has to avoid the sudden and devastating pain caused when the bones pinch the sciatic nerve.

The suffering person searches desperately for medical help. In his suffering, with his mobility reduced, his face showing the pain in every move and his eyes pleading for mercy, the person goes to see a specialist doctor hoping to get a quick fix because he does not feel he can go on living like that. 

However, the doctor is not going to solve the problem immediately. The doctor will show sympathy and understanding by prescribing a strong pain reliever but will not go further beyond that without more data. Most often, the doctor will ask for a magnetic resonance analysis of the affected area. 

And there goes the poor suffering person to the scanner. For those who are going for the first time, the big, awkward-shaped machine looks threatening. In addition to the cursed, maltreating back pain that is causing him to have the worst moments of his life, he gets asked whether he suffers from claustrophobia, whether he is sensitive to weird noises and he is given a panic button, just in case. And all of that wearing an uncomfortable, completely inelegant, sterilized gown with nothing underneath in a room that is so cold that could easily be transformed in the cage of a polar bear. A nurse will help the poor patient to accommodate him in the bed of the scanner always with slow and careful movements because of the back pain or, in case the pain reliever has already achieved the strategical objective, because of the fear of having the pain back. 

When he is in the exact position in the bed of the scanner and has been given the instructions of do not move, follow the instructions for breathing when you hear them and here is the panic button, the nurse leaves and the patient realizes that his is now alone in the arctic room. A lone crusader battling against that gigantic machine that all of a sudden starts making noise of movement but he does not see it moving. What the heck is going on? Where are the moving parts? And, surprisingly, the bed starts moving carrying his body inside a narrow tunnel. A tunnel that is just a little wider than a human body. In this moment, he realizes that he is not staring to the ceiling as he was a few seconds behind but looking to a clear, whitish wall of the tube and he is trapped inside, caged like a big dog in a small traveling case but, unlike the dog, he can not see outside and he hears the terrible noise of things circling him, invisible attackers that will be ready to hit him anytime. In this moment, there are only to ways to go. The first one is the noble way: he can relax, control his thoughts, think that what he is doing there is for a good reason, that actually there are no risks and the tunnel is just a harmless piece of pipe. He can close his eyes and remember good moments, live his dreams, give wings to his imagination and let it fly. Enjoy the picture that he, and only he, can see in his mind. Travel through his past remembrances and build new, wonderful moments that are yet to come. He can dream in a way that he will not hear the noise and the claustrophobia in the tunnel will be completely ignored as the wall close to his nose will not be seen even though it is there. The enjoyable dream will only be interrupted, almost at the end of the procedure, by the instructions to hold the breath and breathe normal again. Yes, he has achieved it and has survived. Both have survived, he and the monstrous machine he was ready to battle against. 

The second way is the panic button. 

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