Monday, June 1, 2009

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Two men took the chairs beside me at Starbucks this morning. They were quiet, and it wasn’t until I’d looked up that I realized they weren’t simply staring off into space, but were conversing in sign language.

One man was hearing, and he told me his friend was about to have an MRI, and had just taken a sedative because he’s claustrophobic. The pill took thirty minutes to work, but only a few minutes must’ve passed because he looked nervous.

My heart went out to him. I, too, am claustrophobic (no, I won’t go cave-tubing in Belize next week; you can’t make me). I couldn’t imagine having to be in one of those MRI tubes, and I am able to hear and easily communicate with people.

The hearing man was trying to ease his friend's anxiety with humor, saying if the sedative worked too well, he might have to carry him into the doctor’s office. This was the deaf man’s third MRI. He'd undergone the first one without a sedative, and had panicked in the middle but wasn’t able to explain to the staff what was wrong.

The hearing man told me all of this, and nimbly orchestrated a conversation between myself and the deaf man, in which I asked questions and wished him well with the procedure. They left ten or fifteen minutes after having arrived, the hearing man helping his friend--now drowsy--out of his chair.

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