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A 4 Hour MRI
I’ve got some really lovely friends and acquaintances out there. In anticipation of a four-hour long MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), I put out a call on my Insta Stories for recommendations of things to think about while strapped onto a table with a plastic cage pressed three inches from my face, which is two inches from the top of the long plastic tube, much like a construction sewage pipe, that they slide my body into up to about my knees before turning on the very loud jackhammer-buzzer-beep that erupts at irregular intervals.
The responses I received from people brought sweet tears to my eyes. What flowed into my DM’s was so much tenderness and connection during our still-ongoing pandemic when so many of us have shut waaaaaayyyy down from connection as the intensity and disconnect of the world keeps being waaaaayyyy up.
Why would I need a list?
If you’re wondering why I would need a list of recommendations, a fun fact about MRI’s is that they’re magnets, which means that things like earbuds or phones are not permitted.
About five years ago, I had an MRI where they offered me a kind of listening device and offered to set it to any radio station- I’m assuming it was plastic? I don’t much care for technology so I did not think about it more. I had them set it to NPR which, my reader, is a big mistake! No need to listen to detailed reports about a bombing while trapped inside a six foot plastic tube unable to move. Nope, no no no. Nope. In every subsequent MRI I’ve asked for said device, and they act as if they have no idea what I’m talking about. So, I go in silent and try to stay calm and hope for the best. My last MRI, I imagined myself walking on a trail or walking path that I love in every place I’ve lived. However, that was when my MRI’s ran about 1 hour 30 minutes. I usually get a brain + spinal MRI with a contrast halfway through (meaning they inject me with dye, which feels like ice creeping up my arm-wires and into my heart). This time we had to add a cardiac MRI, which added 2.5 hours.1
In gratitude, an update to those that sent sweet thoughts, prayers, and ideas of what to think about, and pass-it-forward energy, I wanted to share a sampling of some of the beautiful suggestions (which I’ve anonymized):
A List of What to Think About in An MRI Machine:
Imagine trees, dappled light, fluttering leaves.
Imagine growing cycles of different plants from seed to harvest - picture each stage from seed, germination, growth, flower, fruits.
what are five books I’d like to share with my kids? Why those five? At what ages should I share them?
Planning and tending to the garden of my dreams.
Naming all the herbal concoctions that could be made from the garden of my dreams
Naming all the little ones I know & casting specific blessings and prayers to each one.
Imagine each step of planning and then preparing a meal with beloveds.
Remember everyone you’ve ever made out with.
Walk from one end of a sacred place with both know well to the other, stopping at each specific marker along the way, noticing each dragonfly and drip of water.
Thank you to each of you that sent in a suggestion. I wrote down and memorized the list and dipped into many of them throughout the four hours, and I will tuck them away for future MRIs.
If you have strategies for what you focus on when you’re enduring unplesantries and not able to distract with music, podcasts, etc. drop them in the comments!
BTW: While I was in the MRI I ALSO spent some time wondering how I was going to thank people/acknowledge their gifts/share the love and I decided to finally start this Substack Newsletter as a modern-day way to blog because I’m tired of giving my writing and content to Facebook aka rebranded to “Meta” with their creepy new surveilence glasses logo as they try to dodge regulation and accountability for misinformation spreading.
IBID: I also imagined walking around a wheelchair-centric Accessible Dwelling Unit I hope to realize in a backyard I also hope to realize, and BOTH of these topics I might take up in another post.
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Some people tell me they fall right asleep in an MRI. That, my friends, is not a possibility. I also don’t like sedatives, as in won’t take them unless absolutely necessary for, say, full on surgery. Even and especially around some random medical providers.