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  • This morning I had an MRI. It's Saturday so I couldn't sleep in but at least I didn't miss work, and since 2 social workers quit and another was out sick for two weeks, ... well .. they need this ol work horse now - whether they admit it or not.

    But back to the MRI - it's not my first. The other two were a few years back and for different reasons. Still, I wish I had asked for the Valium, like I did the last time. As I was being prepped, I remembered my clostrophobia, and my heart started beating faster. The cute tech with the hazel green eyes and slight Russian accent assured me I would be ok. Somehow he reminded me of a spy in a James Bond movie. Maybe this would be an adventure after all - at least mentally.

    I did ask for an eye mask so I could psyche myself out that I'm somewhere else, sort of. The tech reminds me how loud the sounds are and gives me ear plugs. Plus, since they were doing my face and neck he packed my head in with other objects that felt comforting and reduced my clostrophobia - like being a baby swaddled in a blanket.

  • Once he shot me into the machine, however, I felt some panic and wondered if I could breathe.

    "Think of a cowbird story - quick!" I told myself.

    It helped a little.

    I started to plot my next Max story (my noir PI). But I found I couldn't concentrate. The loud noises were too distracting, even for my storybook mind. As I tried to engage in other thoughts and distractions, nothing worked. My mind kept going back to the sounds.

    Fairly quickly I realized I needed to just go with the moment.

    Imagine that!

    Living in the moment.

    I let my mind focus on the sounds.

    As I engaged in the one at the present I realized I was in a science fiction movie.

    "They came from outer space!"

    The sounds fit perfectly.

    Ooh! Scary!

    What was lurking around the next corner? Could it be a green blob of matter that would completely absorb my handsome Russian tech and leave me stranded in this machine forever?

    But I heard the tech speaking to me though the sound system.

    "I'm pulling you out for the contrast but don't move! Just give me your right arm."

    I still had on the sleep mask and wondered if my spy tech was actually giving me a truth serum to discover nuclear secrets.

    Do I have nuclear secrets?

    I don't look like Scarlett Johannson, although I wish I did. Wish I had her smoky voice rather than my Minnie Mouse voice.

    No, I don't think I pass for the Black Widow.

  • Once back in the MRI tube the sound changed. Suddenly I was back in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where I grew up. The Methodist Church stood in the center of town. The bells were chiming, over and over and over again. A deep melodious chiming. I was remembering simpler days, barefoot running down Main Street.

    How beautiful and comforting those church bells were.

    About the time I was in a deep relaxation, the jack hammer started. If you've ever been through an MRI (and I'm sure many of you have) you will know what I mean by jack hammer. I started thinking about Trump and his being pro water-boarding of terrorists. I thought, "Just put them in an MRI with this jack hammer sound for 24 hours - that would do it if they're still sane at the end."

    The fact that I now had thoughts of Trump made me realize I had crossed over to the dark side.

    "C'mon, I'm a Californian!

    Snap out of it girl!"

    Mercifully, the sound changed again. I am sitting at my piano learning to play. Three bass notes play over and over. A minor sound but it could be the beginnings of a song. It sounds like the beginnings of a Coldplay song, like Clocks. I'm ok with that. I like Coldplay. Plus, anything beats the jack hammer.

    A voice breaks into my thoughts.

    "You're doing great. Let me just check the films and then I'll pull you out. Hold still for another minute."

    It is strange when the sounds stop. The silence feels odd after an hour of constant loud noises beating into my brain. I feel myself being pulled out and I sit up. The tech smiles at me.

    "That wasn't so bad," I say.

    And I realize inwardly I got a cowbird story out of it after all. My Max noir PI story will have to be another day.

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