Testing, Testing

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Vanderbilt Medical Center

Each morning when I rise, I usually look out my bedroom window to check the day the good Lord has blessed me with. From my window I can see farmland, trees, wildlife and an open wide expansion of sky, that for one who has been reared on a farm is nothing but a daily inoculation of life’s wonders. I’ve never been one to enjoy being enclosed in structures for very long, and a recent, ever-memorable happening has reinforced my need of wanting to spend longer at that bedroom window to enjoy the view.

About four years ago, due to sarcoma cancer being found on one of my kidneys, it had to be removed, causing me to undergo some extreme surgery and recovery. The final reports stated they had removed all the cancer and I was cured, but it is a standard procedure that I return every so often to undergo tests to make sure there have been no recurrences and that my one kidney is still taking care of business that two once did.

The checkups require an MRI appointment at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. Everyone knows that MRI stands for Man Rammed In something. That’s not my favorite way to spend a day, realizing the way clothes must feel inside a front-load washing machine, but if it keeps you on the outside for a while longer, let’s get it done.

Upon arrival to the hospital, they took me back to a small room, showed me a closet to get in for changing into a gown and left me there. I did as I was told, but didn’t realize until I walked out into the waiting area that everyone else was a member of the Gown Club – and it was co-ed! At that moment, I wished I had done a better job tying those strings in the back, but from what I saw it was not a beauty contest anyway. My black socks and brown shoes sort of set off my green multi-shaped circle-print gown outfit. It looked a whole lot better than the lady in the red sandals in my opinion. They didn’t go at all with her green printed gown.

From the waiting room I was escorted into the MRI chamber, where my glasses were removed and my key to the little locker that held my last worldly possessions was taken from me and placed on a windowsill for my return. I was then asked to lie down on a narrow table, and the attendant proceeded to place items on my chest that I have no idea what they do. I just hoped to see my key and glasses again.

After being Velcroed to some more items, the attendant now pushed some buttons and the table moved me into a front-load-washing-machine-looking device that caused me to develop respect for a Cuban cigar in a metal tube. I could hear the attendant leave the room and the door seal shut, something like Tupperware on a ham sandwich. I was there with my thoughts, which for me is a dangerous predicament. For the next 75 minutes, I listened to this washing machine do strange sounds, and if it had been mine, I would have called the Maytag repairman. My thoughts went from panic to what was I going to eat when I got out of this thing.

Finally, I heard the seal on the door open and the table rolled me out. Sure enough, my glasses and key were still there. The attendant told me I could go to the closet once again and get dressed. After going back through the waiting area of non-flattering individuals to my closet, I dressed about as fast as I have ever done. I left that department like a steer just turned loose from a holding chute after being wormed and dehorned.

The good part was the MRI came back completely clear, and no more tests were required unless there are problems in the future. I just hope there is some smart kid in our schools somewhere who can invent a better machine than the MRI when it comes to noise and closeness, or at least find a prettier gown to match my shoes.

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