I have had many MRI's done throughout my seven year history of pancreatitis. If you never had an MRI done before and you are supposed to get one, you might want to read this review of Radiology Services just to get an idea of what to expect.
Getting an MRI is not horrible but it is also not a very pleasant experience. You arrive at the hospital where you check in and then the nurses ask you to disrobe down to your underwear and put on a hospital gown. After that they take you to the lab where the MRI machine sits. The nurse usually asks you about any piercings, tattoos and surgeries to assess if you have any metal or things like pacemakers within your body. After you check out to be safe for an MRI scan you are instructed to lay down on a motorized bed that slides into a large machine with a small perhaps 2.5 foot opening. The nurse explains that the test is loud and that it will take about 30 minutes (This does vary). Sometimes depending on the MRI type (MRCP = Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography) they might inject a contrast liquid through an ivy so that they can get a more detailed image.
Sitting on the bed you might start to get nervous as the grandeur of the MRI machine and the small opening that you're sliding into creates a feeling of claustrophobia even if you are not prone to being uncomfortable in small places.
Before the test starts the nurse will give you either headphones (recommended) or ear plugs. They give you this because MRI's are generally very loud. I must tell you that if you do get the Ear Plugs like I got at Bristol Hospital in CT, make sure that they are securely snug in your ear. I had a very bad 30 minute experience at Bristol Hospital because my ear plugs were loose and the nurse forgot to give me the alert button so I couldn't stop the MRI so that they can pull me out and I got move my arms to adjust them. Inside the MRI you are laying in a pencil position and there is literally no room for you to do anything. If you open your eyes the MRI machine casing is only a few inches away from your head. I usually close my eyes because having them open would drive me insane. At Saint Raphael Hospital in New Haven CT, I was given headphones that played classical music while the MRI was going. That MRI was actually as close to pleasant as possible. The whole facility made me feel at ease and the staff was very friendly. At Bristol Hospital, I felt more like a piece of meat to be examined and because my 50 cent ear plugs really sucked, I felt like the MRI was going to make me deaf. The process is very loud and I do believe that Bristol Hospital does have outdated equipment, especially when compared to Saint Raphael Hospital.
The bottom line is that no matter what stay you live in, you should call the local hospitals around you and ask them about their equipment age and what type of ear protection do they offer. I would never recommend Bristol Hospital to anyone looking for an MRI. But I would most definitely recommend Saint Raphael.