© 2019 by Jason Elbinger

  All Rights Reserved



Updated: Jul 31, 2019

Today was the MRI.

The technician told me the exam would last around 40 minutes. I changed into my gown and placed my belongings in a locker. I didn’t wear socks today, so I left my shoes on to save myself from traipsing barefoot on the white-tiled floor.

The exam required contrast, so he stuck an I.V. connection in my arm, taped it secure, then filled a test-tube with some blood to make sure my kidney function could handle the dye.

My kidneys work fine.

The MRI room was cold, and I the machine was beating out a metronomic monotone rhythm that made me wonder how the MRI tech could stand being in that room at all. He had me sit down and remove my shoes, and I slipped as I stood back up because my feet were sweating. He then directed me to the slab of plastic, and I laid down and stared up at the ceiling.

He offered me noise-cancelling headphones, but I also asked for some foam earplugs. I knew from when I had an MRI of my elbow after I fell last year that it would be loud. Next he stuck me in my right shoulder and injected me with something that would keep my intestines from twitching, covered me with a blanket, raised me up, and slid me into the 3 Tesla MRI.

And told me not to move, so I scratched the itches that suddenly developed on my face and head.

I don’t normally experience claustrophobia, but I immediately began to sweat and had to close my eyes so I wouldn’t have to stare at the white plastic that surrounded me. I couldn’t move even if I wanted to.

And that was when it started. For minutes at a time the machine pounded and vibrated and poured out a noise that thumped in my head like a jackhammer and changed pitch and tone with each cycle. And at the end of each cycle I prayed it would be the last one.

But the cycles repeated and repeated and my body reverberated like I was standing next to gigantic speaker at a hip-hop concert, until finally the tech pulled me out of the tube and injected me with the contrast dye, and said it was almost over. I had him remove the blanket; I was sweating so much, then again closed my eyes as he slid me in.

And the cycles were louder now, and I felt the organs in my gut shifting with each vibrating thump of the machine, and I tried meditating, tried focusing on my breathing, tried imagining myself anywhere but stuck in a diagnostic machine that was looking to see how serious the cancer in my body was.

Then finally, it was over.

I put my sweaty feet back into my shoes and shuffled as the tech led me back to the dressing room.

The first thing I put back on was my wedding ring.

Then I went to the Five Below that was next door and bought:

On a lighter note, I dropped the boys off at FedEx, and they're being overnighted to the lab for analysis and crytpo-storage.

Biological Substance, Category B

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