By PETTUS READ
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 a wide-open expansion of sky, that for one who has been reared on a farm, is nothing but a daily dose of life's wonders. I've never been one to enjoy being enclosed inside structures for long and a recent happening has reinforced my need to stay a little longer at that bedroom window to enjoy the view.
Many of you may remember that a little over a year 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 medical reports stated they had removed all the cancer and I was cured, but it is standard procedure that you return in one year to undergo testing to make sure there has been no reoccurrence of the dreaded "C". I have done well since the surgery and gone beyond what some of the doctors had thought I would be doing, but you never know.
The appointment was made to return to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville for a MRI and visit with my oncology doctor after the procedure. I knew I felt good, but I also knew something about those MRIs and the nerve factor increased quite a bit the week of the visit. Not saying I'm a chicken, but as I have said earlier, I do enjoy the clear blue sky and the thoughts of being put in a washing machine is not what I enjoy doing. Everyone knows that MRI stands for Man Rammed In something.
Just as I was leaving the house to make the appointment, a group from a certain religion pulled in behind my truck as I was backing out. I got out and a lady met me in my drive. I politely explained to her I was needing to leave and she asked me if I was sure about my soul, while handing me a pamphlet with a picture of the world burning up. I thanked her and thought this couldn't be a good start to my trip.
When I got to the hospital and into radiology, they were running behind, which was fine with me. But, they finally took me back to a small room and showed me a closet to get in to change into a gown. 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. Looked a whole lot better than the lady in the red sandals. They didn't go at all with her green print gown.
From the waiting room I was escorted into the MRI chamber. There, 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 and I had no idea what they were suppose to do. At this point, I just did what I was told and 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 frontload 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 seventy-five minutes I listened to this washing machine make strange sounds, that 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. I went through the waiting area of non-flattering gown wearing individuals to my closet and 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 are required, making me one of the blessed to beat this thing. 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. At least find a prettier gown to match my shoes.
-Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org