I had a large growth on my right hand’s middle finger and the surgeon didn’t know what it was. I already had a CAT scan yet they also wanted me to go for a MRI. I knew I needed deep emotional healing in order to clear it but hey, I’m not a doctor.
On the day of my MRI, I was not feeling well due to, okay I’ll say it, my period. I was in pain man - pain. It was one of the months where my emotions and physical body decided to do a dance with the happy and sad jokers flipping without any notice. La, la, la, la, el la - not fun. I’ll tell you again - not fun.
I was not excited about having the MRI. The hospital insisted that I have a blood test first to check if my kidneys could process the metallic chemical that they would inject in my body. Yuck, metal in my blood, again not something I wanted to endure. I’m extremely sensitive to most things and that day I was in no mood to do it.
My energy was low and I was not thinking clearing. I arrived two hours before my MRI as the hospital requested. I gave the clerk my form and she looked at me, “aren’t you an early one?” Yes, but I need a blood test first. The front desk didn’t have the documents, “once you get the paperwork, come back and I’ll book you in for your MRI.” I was sent off to another area to get the documents. I waited patiently for the slip. The clerk told me to go to yet another area for the blood test.
The blood test was on the other side of the hospital. I was feeling awful as I was standing in line holding my paperwork in one hand and my lower abdomen with the other. I was trying not to cry from the pain. All I wanted was to be in my bed with a hot water bottle. (Oh, that sounds lovely even now.) After checking in at the desk I had to obtain a number. It’s strange how the system works but at least it works.
The blood technician just came back from his break and there was one patient before me. I finally was able to rest. I noticed a beautiful couple and the woman seems quite nervous but I smiled at her. I sensed that under her scared exterior was a brave warrior woman. I felt her strength as she looked into my eyes. We broken our connection and I went back into my own thoughts. I looked down at the ground and cried because the pain of my cramps took over. I had tears coming down my face and yet I didn’t make a sound. She noticed but didn’t say anything.
The technician jumped out of the room after the patient left and said, “You’re next but could you please wait until I go to the washroom?”
“Of course, please go,” no pee, pee dancing with a sharp needle, not around me. “Go!”
I sat up and prepared myself for the blood test. I don’t like needles, or any sharp objects around me. I always turn away when they take my blood. Most of the time doctors, nurses or technicians can’t find my veins. I’m a thin woman really you would think there shouldn’t be an issue. Thank goodness this time it was fine.
After the test, I returned to the imaging area and handed over the original document. She finally booked me for the MRI. I was given more documents again. It was already one hour into my visit at the hospital. At this time, I was crying and really hungry. I needed to eat something, anything. She told me to take those papers to the MRI desk. I pulled myself together and walked up to the next desk. I didn’t read them I just handed them over.
The man behind the desk looked at up and said, “Could you please fill them out? Please use ink.”
“What else would I use, my blood?” I thought it was smart to say.
He stared with a blank face, “ink will do.” He had no sense of humour.
I looked for a place to rest and answered the questions, ‘Do you have any metal in your eyes?’ God, I hope not. Of course they need to know about metal as the test is electro-magnetic. There were two questions, I was unsure of. I returned to the desk and asked how I should answer them. He replied, “I don’t know anything about this, I only collect them.”
“Well, I feel so much safer knowing that you have no clue.” I started to laugh. I snorted. I guess my nervousness took over. That’s when I realized he was wearing a blue jacket, he was a volunteer.
He said with a serious note, “women shouldn’t snort.”
“Hey, I’m sexy when I snort! Most people love my laugh.”
He raised his eyebrow and started to chuckle. We exchanged a few more comments back and forth. I finally asked if I could get some food. I was getting very dizzy. “If they told you not to eat then no,” he stated. I was clear to eat: right on.
Off I went in search of food. There were a few food outlets and I walked past them a few times. When I finally made my decision to go to Subway which was near the blood clinic, the volunteer from the MRI department walked toward me and stated, “I left my coat on this end of the hospital.”
“Yeah, right, you’re following me. I know your type,” I winked at him. He is about 5’5” and 67 years old. He stopped and smiled at me.
“You’re name is Naomi, right?”
He grinned, “My name is Ryan Finn but my birth name is Reuben. I’m Jewish but Ryan is a nice Irish name.”
“I like both names,” I looked at him, “and yes, I can see your golden hair.”
He smiled and chuckled once more, “well, my mother said I was golden.”
Again, we tossed a few comments back and forth. I was feeling very weak and the pain was strong.
“I really should get my food so that I can go back to the MRI department,” with that he walked away.
I grabbed my food and headed back towards the imaging area once more. I encountered a woman I knew for 15 years and our children were friends. Her husband died 8 years prior and the anniversary of his death was soon. I forgot that she worked at the hospital and of course we discussed why I was there. “You’re looking very well, Naomi,” she stated. As we were talking the volunteer walked pass us again. He didn’t have his coat.
“Really, because I’m in so much pain, my period is killing me,” I felt comfortable enough to tell her.
“You look great. I would never know that you were in pain. How old are you now? I know the boys are 17 years old but really how old are you?” she asked.
I changed my stance and said, “I’m 36 years old. You know, people are telling me I’m looking younger every year. I don’t understand it.”
“Well, you look like you’re in your twenties,” she shared.
“It’s nice but my teenage son will not spend time with me. People think he is my boyfriend. That really upsets him,” I forget that this really does upset me too. “He told me to look more like a mother. He said ‘I should wear overalls’. That’s not a mom, that’s a farmer. Anyways, I would look younger if I did,” I started to laugh.
We shared a few more details of our lives and she invited us over during the holidays. “That would be nice. I’ll talk to the boys about it. I have to eat and get back to my MRI appointment.” We parted ways.
I finally sat down to enjoy my sub. I finished that baby in a matter of minutes. I was so hungry I even purchased an apple pie. It was so good. I covered myself with my coat and tried to sleep. The area was extremely busy because there was an entrance to the street and elevators. There was no peace let alone quiet.
I heard the phone ring at the desk. Ryan stood up, “Naomi, please come with me.” Oh... I wasn’t ready. I went to the door and he asked a few questions, “Naomi, are you Jewish?”
“Well, my mother is,” we both laughed, “but she was adopted. It’s a long story.”
“How do you pronounce your last name, ‘Ben oh ist?’”
“No, it’s Ben oh wa (Benoist). It’s French.”
“You have an s in your name. What does that stand for?”
“Super” I piped up.
“I know what the s is for. It is for snorting,” he finished. We both laughed again.
As we started walking down the hallway and Ryan suddenly jumped because a shorter man grabbed Ryan’s arm. “Short men cause problems,” Ryan said as he measured his height compared to his friend.
“Well, short guys are fun too,” I laughed as I looked down on Ryan since he was shorter than me too.
I got a sideways look from the elderly man. He shook his head. “If I were only a few years older,” he said.
I broke out into major snorts, “Older, eh?”
“You’re not supposed to laugh at that. But that’s okay, it’s endearing.”
We walked through the door and there was a technician standing there. “Who do you have here?”
“This is Naomi,” Ryan introduced me.
“We are not ready for her,” the other man claimed.
“Well the phone rang and I didn’t get it. I assumed you were ready for her,” Ryan admitted.
I had to wait another 30 minutes for my appointment. They gave me a choice to sit in the dressing room or go back to the lobby. I chose the dressing room. I really needed to close my eyes and rest. Ryan seems to want me to come back to the lobby. He offered his hand for me to shake it. He wished me all the best and then he gave a dashing smile.
It was a unisex dressing room with individual stalls and a small waiting area. I finally used the washroom at the back of the room. In the waiting area, I allowed myself to cry without worrying that someone could hear me. Then I closed my eyes and hugged my jacket. Another female patient entered the room with a different technician. I opened my eyes. They didn’t see me in the chair that was tucked into the corner. She was instructed to change and remove her clothes and jewellery. I closed my eyes again. I didn’t want her to be frightened that I was sitting there. When she came out of the dressing stall, I said hello. She just smiled at me and I noticed her knee was bleeding. From around the corner another staff member gave her some gauze to help clean the blood.
“What did they do to you?” I asked her. She didn’t answer.
I looked down at the floor. I felt her looking at me then she asked me why I was there for a MRI. I showed her my finger. “They don’t know what it is.” We spoke for a few minutes about her work and her knee issues. She has a healthcare aid at two different hospitals. She already had surgery but it is still hurting her. She works with patients that have knee injuries. It was ironic to her that hers hurts too. Part of me wanted to say ‘it’s because you’ve taken your clients pain’ but I kept to myself. She shared that she was working two jobs because both were really good. She never takes any time for herself only on her vacation days. Even with the vacation days she works at one hospital. She didn’t even take much time off after her surgery. I wanted to say so much to tell her but I knew she didn’t want to hear it. The technician called her in.
I had some more quiet time to rest and I was relaxing. Yes I knew I was in a hospital, imagine that. A few more minute passed and I was called into the room. Once I entered the room I noticed a large machine with a circular opening. I was still in a lot of pain and didn’t know what to do. The staff were both men and I had to explain that I was in pain because of my period. One technician looked at my paperwork and said, “You are here 12 hours early.”
“Oh no… I didn’t realize that I misread the information.” That’s why the receptionist was rude to me earlier. “I can come back if I need to. I didn’t mean to jump ahead of someone else,” I answered hoping that I could just go to home and climb into bed.
“No. No. It happens all the time. People mix up their appointment times. We are not as busy as we normally are. You can have the MRI now.” The technician looked at my finger and gently moved my hand around. “You need to lie down and place your hand over this.” He placed this foam stepping stool like thing on the metal table. “You need to lie down on your stomach and separate your fingers on each of the steps.”
“Oh sir, I’m in a lot of pain right now. I don’t know if I can lie down on my stomach.” I tried to explain it to him.
“What type of pain?” he asked.
“I am on my period and I am cramping very badly right now. I’m not sure how long I can stay on my stomach.”
He was very kind and understanding, “At any time you need to move or go to the bathroom tell us.”
He grabbed a number of pillows for me to adjust my body so that I was more comfortable,
“The test could take from 15 to 30 minutes depending if you stay still.”
“Okay, I’ll do my best.” I took a number of deep breaths to relax myself. That’s when the table I was on moved into the machine. “Are you okay? Remember don’t move or we will have to start again,” with that the sound started. It was a loud hammering noise or more of a heavy dropping of an item over and over again. My whole body tensed up and I started crying more and more openly. How did I get to this point in my life where I have to stay completely still? Why do I fight my downtime? I gave up as the tears were flowing down my cheeks and I couldn’t move to clean them. I realized that my sensitivity to sound increased even more when I was on my period. I decided that I would get through this experience as quickly as I could. I relaxed more and more even though my tears were falling. I started to sing to myself and that’s when I calm down the most. All I needed was self-compassion and love. Once the machine stopped the technician came out. “You’re all done. We’ll send the results to the surgeon. How was it for you in there?”
“I didn’t like it. I am a singer and sound worker. The sound felt extremely uncomfortable for me.” I answered.
“Oh, really? We have a number of musicians that love the beat. Drummers always come out with inspiration,” the second technician said.
“Well, thanks guys, but I didn’t like it and I am happy that it’s over.” I replied quickly with a bit of anger that my experience was down played as not possible. “Can I go now?” They both nodded and I walked back into the dressing room to get my belongings. I stopped in at the washroom again before my journey house.
Once I made my way out into the lobby of the MRI I noticed that Ryan was gone. I looked down at my feet and decided I’ll head home. I walked passed the pharmacy, the gift shop and made my way to the main entrance of the hospital. Ryan was with the other volunteers and I waved at him. He gave me a sweet grin and nodded goodbye.
I left the hospital knowing that I needed to honour and respect my feelings while I go thought my experiences. I looked at my middle finger and laughed. It was plain as the bump on my finger I needed to let go of my anger. Thank goodness that I had my humour that day because I’m normally not very cheerful on my period. Snort!