Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm a Claustrophobic


This is another one of "THOSE POST" that is mostly for my sanity :-)

I'm a claustrophobic... and tomorrow I have an "OPEN" MRI of my neck. I had an "OPEN" MRI a few months ago before my back surgery. There happened to be a small window in the room that I could see. My heart still sped away and I so wanted out from the MRI.. even though it was "OPEN". Tomorrow the MRI will be done at a different facility. I don't think there will be a window for escape. I used to be able to handle the CLOSED MRI. I would simply put my mind in a happy place. Why is it so hard to put mind in such a place now when I'm in a "panic attack" situation?

Was I always claustrophobic? I can remember being a child and playing Hide and Seek. I would hide in the top of closets and under beds... or outside in the dark of the bushes.

Becoming claustrophobic happened around the time of my Granddaddy Swain's passing. I was ten years old when he passed away (it is almost a sin in the South to say "died"). I can remember some things about him; like him putting sugar and canned milk into his coffee. He would pour the coffee back and forth between the saucer and cup to cool the coffee and then sip his coffee from the saucer. As he held the coffee cup and saucer together it would rattle as his hands shook. I can remember sitting in his lap and he would talk to me, but I cannot remember what he said.

When I was three or four years old Granddaddy and Daddy took me and my brothers down to the baptism pool of the church that my Granddaddy was caretaker of the cemetery. The pool was in the woods. My brothers and I jumped in and out of the water... the cool water felt so good on that hot summer day. I felt good as my Granddaddy caught me and lifted me to the side of the pool so I could jump in again.

I feel close to Granddaddy even though I remember only a few things about him. A few hours before he passed away he talked to me and my sister and told us how pretty we were in the dresses that Mama had made for us.

My Granddaddy passed away and they stopped all the clocks in the house. I don't remember what time it was. It felt so strange in the small house.... no clocks ticking and chiming... only people quietly murmuring and crying. I remember crying and my heart felt like it would explode.

After the death of my Granddaddy I started to have a dream. In the dream I'm a little girl... maybe five or six years old.... in an attic. In real life I remember no such attic as this one. It had old toys and books on shelves. A rocking horse in the corner and in the middle of the attic was a huge dome-lid trunk. I go near it and touch the top and as I do the lid to the trunk opens. There is my Granddaddy inside! He climbs out of the trunk... we caress and Granddaddy holds me in his arms as he reaches into the trunk for a book. Then Granddaddy closes the trunk lid and sits upon it. With me on his lap he begins to read the book. That is the end of my dream. I had this dream once or more a year up until I was in my mid-twenties.

Since this is a weird, but pleasant dream; I'm not sure what it has to do with being claustrophobic. This is the time... of my Granddaddy's death.. that I began to hate being in small areas with no window and doors closed. I hated being crunched up in the backseat of the car with my three brothers.

Now.... Elevators are awful.... a mirror in them doesn't help. The toy department of a store is even worse. Many times in a store I wait out on the main aisle for Frank if the aisle he is looking on is narrow and the shelves are high. I dislike waiting in the doctor's exam room. Sometimes I crack the door open until the doctor arrives.

I'm not afraid of death or dying. I'm terrified of being in small places with no window. Mice, rats and some other critters terrify me.... those fears are probably handed down from my mother. I can think of nothing that happened around my Granddaddy's death to me that would trigger claustrophobia. I was never shut in a closet or other small place that I can remember. I have no doubt that I will again see my Granddaddy.

Over the years deep, relaxing breathes have gotten me through my panic attacks and the ability to put my mind somewhere else. I'm losing the latter ability.

This is how I remember my grandparents.

Granddaddy is in his stocking feet. Grandma made her dresses. She looked through catalogs for dress styles she liked and then cut her a pattern from old newspapers. I saw her do it and it just amazed me that someone could be that talented.

Well... today... you know just how weird I am

♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠

Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed. -- Michael Pritchard


  1. I hate MRI's. The last one I had for MS took two hours! It was closed to boot. I was about to loose it. I hope yours goes a lot quicker than that and it's open.

  2. I will keep you in my prayers and hope your MRI goes smoothly. You have such similar memories to mine growing up. I remember grandpa sloshing his coffee in the saucer to cool it and his hands shook and rattled the dishes also. My grandma was like yours and would choose a favorite dress picture and then just cut out the fabric and stitch it up - made it look so easy! Take care Zaroga and let us hear how you are. God bless you.

  3. Last MRI I had, I started to spaz, and stopped and thanked God I wasn't claustriphobic, cause really I'm not. I'm glad you are having an open one, hope it goes well. I really enjoyed your memories, thank you for sharing.

  4. I've never had an MRI but I don't think I'd like it. I hope it all goes ok for you.
    I can remember my Daddy putting his coffee in the saucer like that. It must have been something they did a lot back then. Amazing what women used to do that we don't know how to do now days. I can remember when the stores had all kinds of fabric to pick from now you can't find it hardly anywhere.
    Enjoyed your post.

  5. I can well identify with your feelings about that MRI machine. Don't think I'd cope any better with it than you are. Ask for some "don't care medicine" if they don't offer it. That way you can probably sleep through the whole thing - if possible. It shouldn't take too long for the actual test. Think good thoughts and pray your way through it! Good luck!

  6. I had an MRI once and I know exactly how you're feeling right now. I barely made it through it and I'm not claustrophoic, there's just something about that machine.
    My grandmother did the same thing when making clothes...or she would go in the store and look at something she liked then she would go home and make the exact same thing.
    Sometimes we need to do a post like this.

  7. Zaroga,

    I've had one MRI and wasn't crazy about it at all. I really had to put my mind in another place. But I'm terrified of the point you said. It even scares me when one of my kids or husbands walks near an edge that's up high...even like in a mall. It's no fun!

    I have had a dream about heights that is the same one exactly and I've had it many times. So I guess that makes me weird with you! lol!

    It's great that you have wonderful memories of your granddaddy though!

    Have a great day!

  8. are not at all weird!! I too have developed fear of small places...but it did not start till menopause!! Funny time for that to happen..Everything bad seemed to happen then..i had a terrible time!! WHEW!! I am so glad to be on the other side of that...i loved hearing about your memories of your granddaddy!! I think these are things that we need to write about and get down know our minds might not always be this sharp..Unfortunately!! So get then down while things are clear!!
    i think that blogging should be for writing down memories..
    Hang in there..the new OPEN MRI's are good..the first one I had no one told me much about it..I was in a very bad state..I cried and shook the whole rest of the day...the next time I took Zanex and did not care what they did to me..Smile!!


  9. Zaroga, It is supper time Thursday - how are you feeling today? Please give us an upate when you feel up to it.

  10. Zaroga, It is supper time Thursday - how are you feeling today? Please give us an upate when you feel up to it.

  11. I so enjoyed reading this! My Papa drank his coffee the same way! Boy was it STRONG! I will have to post a picture of my Aunt Doll and Nanny, they made their clothes, too Nanny would use my male cousin as a human pattern for my clothes by tracing him on newspaper. She worked in the mill so she didn't wear too many dresses.
    I hope your MRI comes up OK, I have the rats fear and can't stand to be in water that covers my chest. It's really bad since I have my lung problems.


Thank you for visiting my Nook. Your comments are much appreciated.

Make it a great day!