The tech strapped me in and placed a cage over my face. “Wait…please.” My breath came out haltingly. “I have to close my eyes first, before you put that on,” I said. I wanted to move, but my arms strained under the Velcro straps, and I couldn’t pull the cage from my face. “Please!”
He unfastened the cage and studied my eyes. “You get claustrophobic?”
I’d begun to hyperventilate.
“Okay. Okay! We’ll do what we need to, but I’ve never understood what makes some people claustrophobic and others not—especially when someone gets scans as much as you do.”
I had to get my mind off things, so I talked mindlessly. “I got locked in a tiny trailer closet—totally my fault—when I played around as a kid. It took my family quite a while to find me. And I got locked in another tight place. Because of a maintenance malfunction at one of my old jobs. I was in the dark for almost 15 minutes, unable to move. I thought I’d die.” His eyes went wide as he listened.
“Let’s get you a pillow for under your knees,” he said.
I bit my lip. That was so nice of him. Those MRI tables are as hard as a linoleum floor, and they feel especially terrible when you have a partially fused back and tumors up your spine and neck.
He’d already put my IV in, and he moved a lot slower as he handled me this time. “You ready?”
I closed my eyes. “How long is this scan?”
“Just over two hours,” he said.
“Can you check in with me every half hour?” I asked, hearing the cage click into place.
“Thank you! I got so scared once when a tech couldn’t hear me shouting, that I actually climbed out of the MRI machine.”
“No way!” he said.
“Yeah, I almost fell on the floor when I pulled myself out. I guess that’s why you strap people in here?”
“Yeah, just to remind them not to move. Hey, Mrs. Magagna, do you picture anything when you keep your eyes closed?”
“Sometimes I pretend I’m on a dock in Jamaica. Other times I pretend to be lying on the grass up in the mountains. Anywhere that’s big and open.”
“Well I hope you’ll see something good this time,” he said.
And fortunately, I did. In fact, when I went into the machine, I had another dream about God.
To be continued …