Posted by: ritagone | August 25, 2010


I don’t know why torturers around the world ever worried so much about the technique known as waterboarding.  Why didn’t they just get their hands on an old MRI machine because, I’m telling you, stick someone in that thing, and in minutes they’d be telling any government secrets they might know…or perhaps making up ones just to get out!

I ought to know, because yesterday I had an MRI done of my brain.  Yes, I had to put my head into a machine the size of a shoebox for 25 minutes and pretend that I was resting comfortably, taking deep breaths, earplugs in place, eyes closed, inhale, exhale, going to a happy place, don’t open your eyes because once you see just how encapsulated you are, you will indeed squeeze the little gizmo the technician has given you “just in case” you get into trouble and feel you must get out….

And yes, I did open my eyes the instant she said, “Don’t open your eyes,” because, well, who wouldn’t?

And yes, 25 minutes did seem like, well, a month.

And yes, I did survive those 25 minutes.  And then the dye that was injected into my arm.  And the 10 more minutes back into the torture chamber with dye flowing through my system like some sort of radioactive river schematic.  I found I couldn’t breathe properly.  I found I was absolutely parched.  When was the last time I had had a drink of water?  What day was it?  Did I know my name, rank and serial number?  Did I have a rank and serial number?  And – most importantly – what were Michael and I going to have for lunch when this was all over?

It’s amazing what the human body and psyche can endure with the promise of lunch afterwards.

My dear husband went with me to the facility because I wasn’t sure I could drive home afterwards, what with all that radioactive dye coursing through my system.  He even sat next to the MRI machine in the same room with me rather than waiting for me anonymously in the waiting room, which meant (for some strange reason – no explanation given) he had to take off his watch too.  I think I got through the procedure for two reasons: I didn’t want to have to come back at yet another time, and I didn’t want him to think I was a wuss.

I imagine that MRI procedure cost a pretty penny.  Fortunately my insurance covers most (all?) of it.  I’d hate to have to worry about paying for it on top of worrying about whether or not I was going to survive it.  The good news is that I’m not anticipating anything untoward in the results either.  I go in tomorrow to see my new hero, the neurologist who has found a medicine which has wonderfully cured my migraines, which were so frequent I was beginning to wonder if they were going to be my constant companions for the rest of my life.

So from a purely medical standpoint, I have nothing to complain about.  I survived a procedure that can tell my doctor things about what’s inside my head (no jokes, now!) that even 50 years ago would have astounded the world.  Details and minutiae that rival anything Google can put out about the location of your home.  I have (at least currently) insurance that covers the cost.  I have a doctor who cares about my health and who actually loves Jesus along with me, an added bonus, to be sure.  I have a husband who is willing to give up three hours of his day to take the journey along with me, to sit there and listen to very loud noises and sympathize when I complained for the rest of the day that this was worse than childbirth.

I am so over myself this morning.  But I sure milked the MRI for all it was worth yesterday.  I admit it.  And come on, admit to something yourself while we’re being honest: there are things you go through that you milk as much as you can too.  We all do.  Sometimes it’s the price that is paid for enduring something as challenging as an MRI or a root canal or childbirth or …you name it.  Whatever it is that pushes you to your limits of endurance, that makes you reach your capacity for hanging in there, and you reach it and clear the hurdle, sometimes you need to revel in it a while, to tell as many people as you can how stressful or awful or challenging it was.

And then, you move on.

And so, have a great day today.  I promise you will not hear about this MRI episode from me again.

But next week I’m going to the dentist to have a permanent crown put on….


Regards, Rita

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