it was only yesterday that I was found plundering my way through an unnameable dread. i could not tell if this dread was at all related to the MRI of my neck I had to undergo to make sure all of the titanium hardware fusing several vertebrae of my cervical spine was still in place and nothing had become loose or threadbare.
Or if it might have something to do with my 2nd piano lesson that would immediately follow. with that very ominous piano teacher i think i mentioned last week. i had not practiced, not even once. i feared for the worst, knowing she would ask me to play The Russian Boat Song that I told her I would practice every day.
I was probably more relaxed about the MRI. Moments before the MRI technician guided me into the MRI capsule, he asked me if I had any stray metal in your body… shrapnel, aneurysm clips (whatever they are), nuts, bolts, utensils etc. I mentioned the titanium, which he said would not be a problem.
Then he gave me a pair of ear plugs, and… the panic button, which i guess was supposed to be my security blanket. The capsule closed all around me and I could feel the vibrations of the machine slowly intensifying. It was then that I wondered if there might be more metal in my body than I had originally accounted for.
in that same accident where I broke my neck, i broke several other things, such as the bones in my face, which were glued together in a separate facial reconstruction surgery. It slipped my mind because, to put it simply, i had zero memory of those days. All I knew was that somehow my face was smashed up, and somehow it was glued back together again, using materials unknown to me. It never entered my mind to find out what those materials were. they might be screws or hinges or clips or aluminum scraps. And it never occurred to me that I would ever again need an MRI. Which is why it never occurred to me to tell the MRI technician about these possible foreign objects in my face until I was trapped inside the capsule and the MRI machine was already whirring.
The panic button was right there, in my hand, but at this point, it felt a little too late to use it. The poor MRI technician had gone through all of this toil to set it up and install me, and I didn’t like the thought of inconveniencing him by disrupting the process with my petty electro-magetic phobias. I could hear him asking, “why didn’t you mention this in the first place?… jeez,” followed by a heavy sigh, shaking his head while murmuring things that he or may intend for me to hear. This could get really really awkward. And this might be one relationship I would not want to jeopardize, as I have done with so many others this week.
The machine is slowly slowly gathering momentum. But maybe if there actually is metal in my face, i would have combusted by now, pulverized back into the matter from which I sprang. and maybe there was a possibility of not being magno-electrocuted, and maybe even making it to my piano lesson on time. it could happen, i assured myself.
I just lay there, my trigger finger resting upon the panic button, inertly… but now trying to imagine my lungs as balloons, gently expanding and contracting. very gently. this peculiar calming sensation of my organs, inflating and deflating with the crescendo and decrescendo of the MRI machine’s hums and vibrations. And I thought, if this is the way I am intended exit this realm, it would all be ok.
Eventually, the humming stopped. The MRI technician guided me out of from the capsule. I thanked and embraced him and walked out onto the streets, elated. I thought of the most important people in my life at that moment, and began sending texts to all of them, one by one.
it’s time for me to stop writing for now and begin my piano practice.