M – R -WHY

I wrote this piece on when I got an MRI a couple of years ago. I thought I had a brain tumor, but it turned out I was just taking Advil everyday and needed to stop that. Shows off my hypochondriac side quite nicely, don’t you think?

—————

As we walked off the elevator onto the third floor and turned right into the Radiology department, I thought to myself, “Am I really getting an MRI at nineteen-years-old?’

After I filled out paperwork, I sat around the waiting room with an Orthodox Jew, a man with a newborn, and a slew of other people that I paid no mind to. I had to sign my brain’s life away and get told that I look like a twelve-year-old before finally being ushered into a changing room and given a gross old robe and an ID bracelet.

I could not get the robe to tie properly on me and the locker to keep my stuff in wasn’t working. Luckily, an overweight naked lady gave me a quarter which made my locker stay shut and I found a spare string to tie my robe. I was ready for scanning!

In the meantime, I made small talk with a Russian lady who seemed to be amused by my confusing the Orthodox Jew with an Amish person. So much, in fact, she laughed until my name was called.

Escorted through a high-security door, I found myself on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The room was dark, cold, and bare except for the glass picture of a cloudy blue sky on the ceiling. I felt like this was how they sent people off to Heaven.

A foreign woman changed the sheet on the platform and asked me to lie down, while an Indian man told me to take my ponytail out. They placed a blanket up to my neck, which I later found out was made of lead, because it was going to be very cold during the MRI. Then they attached giant headphones to my head, because it would also be very loud.

They moved the platform I was lying on into the tank and placed my head into what looked like a white Easter egg basket. As they sent me off through my time-travel portal, they instructed me to not move a muscle, asked my name, and at the last second told me, “See you in 20 minutes!” Twenty minutes! I didn’t sign up for that.

Closing the door behind them, they went into the viewing room where only a glass pane stood between us. I could only see their movements through my peripheral vision, as I was lying down and couldn’t move from the basket and headphones.

The machine began winding up and an alien workshop disco melody alliance began. All kinds of sounds came through, which weren’t as loud as I had imagined. It was difficult to stay completely still and I was even reprimanded with the discipline of a Nazi officer over a loud speaker: “Chel-say-uhhh you ha-vvvv-uh-ve to stay sti-i-i-ll!!!”

What did I do? Swallow? Take too deep of a breath? Salvia was filling my mouth. “I’m not breathing through my nose in this mod ice chamber for twenty minutes,” I thought to myself.

I heard many different noises: a drum pad, a helicopter hovering and dragging around a garbage can, incessant beeping, scanning, and winding up then down. I even heard a video laser beam being shot, the kind you’d hear in a Star Wars movie.

It was over sooner than I expected and made me sort of dizzy afterwards. After a few minutes, I was back to reality. I got changed and left. Next, lunch at the Oyster Bar with my mom. I had New England clam chowder, three oysters, and some crab cocktail. Unfortunately, the crab cocktail was awful. But the soup was rich and filling and the oysters were deeeeeeelish. I took a train back to Westchester and caught a cab that smelled like a tanning salon.

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