A womb with a view

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For those about to panic and skip by this blog, this is not a collection of words about childbirth.  This musing is about Magnetic Resonance Imaging or, on an alphabetical scale, an MRI.

I had reason to have an MRI on my knee two years ago after it had swelled to the size of a slightly deflated football.  In hindsight I should have contacted Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, but instead I opted for the less challenging task of calling my doctor.  After  her skillful medical prodding determined I was not a hypochondriac, I was placed on a waiting list for an experience I am hoping to forget but probably never will.

I am not new to hospital procedures.  I have had my fair share of expensive medical equipment scan parts of my body that only a skilled technician should see.  I just regaled a few friends with this tale about how a mammogram and an ultrasound have been the cause of many laughs.  (If you need a good laugh, click on the link.  It’s a really good story).  But having an MRI is an experience like no other when you are prone to enjoy open spaces and breathing normally.

I had done my best to mentally prepare for what I assumed was similar to a Sensory Deprivation Chamber.  I arrived early to undertake the task of filling out reams of paperwork which only made my pulse race faster than it already had been.  I dressed myself in the latest hospital fashion and was led to the room where I would spend the next 45 minutes trapped in a small vessel that made up for its size with its sound.

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(image credit)

I can only be grateful that I was not fully immersed in the tube-shaped magnet that would send pulses through the layers of my being.  My head was allowed to be free of the cage in which my body was being held hostage.  With headphones blasting horrific music and the thrum of the machine making me wish that I had chosen to be thrown from an airplane, the scan ensued.

I tried my best to close my eyes and concentrate on the disconnected notes playing on the music channel they had chosen for me.  But I am a curious sort of person and that doesn’t always bode well.  After mistakenly hallucinating for the duration of the scan,  I realized, after the torture was over, that the wall to my left was a live-action wall and that birds had been flying across the screen while I lay, coma-like, on the bed of the scanner.  I was relieved to know it was the hospital’s sick sense of humour and I was not having an aneurysm.  At the end of the process, I was birthed from the giant womb that is the MRI machine and sent, in my swaddling clothes, to the change room to retrieve the belongings that represented freedom – my clothes and my car keys.

I have a dear friend who, as of this morning, will have undergone his first of two MRI’s last night and I can only hope he weathered the first of his two storms with as much of a consequent sense of humour as I now have about my encounter.

And although it is an unpleasant experience, I do hope his womb with a view can provide answers that will help him move forward and begin to feel like himself again.

 

 

 

Rather, the light saw me

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I have started this new year feeling better about myself than I have in a very long time, maybe ever.   The scale still hovers around the same number, the grey hairs seem to multiply exponentially while I sleep and the lines around my eyes seem to be getting deeper.  But those lines around my eyes are being etched further into my skin because my smile seems to be a permanent fixture on my face.

I will be the first to admit that I have never spent much time volunteering for anything.  Sure, I jumped on the “pay it forward” bandwagon and I have even blogged about that very phenomenon.  But there is something much more rewarding about really putting in the time to help someone rather than just buying a coffee for the person in line behind you.

What began as helping a friend, who is currently tackling an undiagnosed medical issue, spiraled into a concept that is slowly growing into something I am becoming very passionate about.  It combines two of the things that I hold near to my heart – cooking and being able to help people.

Some of my blogs over the last few weeks have alluded to the Sundays we have spent cooking in the kitchen of the family resort where I am employed.  We have successfully sent almost twenty freezer slow-cooker meals to a young family who lost their home in a fire just after delivering twins, and we are gearing up to do it again this Sunday to add ten more meals to their freezer.  In a few short hours in the span of three Sundays, we have provided a month’s worth of dinners, giving them more time to devote to their children and their next step rather than having to think of what to cook each night.

I also had the pleasure of delivering the first of those meals to my very dear friend on Friday, the friend who inspired this journey.  Just knowing that I can alleviate the tiniest bit of his stress pays me in ways that I never thought possible.  It is a very emotional feeling and, even as I write this, it brings tears to my eyes.

light in your eye

I have watched them before.  I have seen volunteers many times and noticed the light in their eyes but, until now, I had never really understood the source of that light.  I get it now….and it is a light that I would like to have continue shining in my eyes for a very long time.

(image credit)

 

 

 

Beyond the open door

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On Friday night, I stared at this painting for a long time.  It hangs in a conspicuous spot in a familiar room but I had never seen it before.  Perhaps it was the shaded lighting of the late evening that made me study every detail in those brush strokes or, quite possibly, it was the collection of components in the painting that intrigued me, but every single item on that canvas made me linger and give it thought.

From the cracked tiled floor to the chance assortment of belongings, each item was distinct and gave me the feeling that any one of those things could feasibly represent a chapter in my life story.  That thought made me stare even more as I tried to piece together the narrative that the artist was trying to communicate.

I got a strong sense of the feeling of wanting to stay connected.  There is great comfort in keeping familiar things close.  But there is also the fascination of what may exist beyond our comfort zone.

That open door is the focal point that grabbed and held my attention.  In a room full of things seemingly collected on purpose, this door opened my curiosity.  What magic or what memory lay beyond that partially opened portal?  What is there to be found if we are brave enough to push it open all the way and take a chance on what is on the other side?

Sometimes being complacent with the things we have become accustomed to blinds us to what may lie just beyond the threshold of our comfort zone.  Maybe the memorabilia in the foreground is meant to alleviate any pain while it draws us towards the next step.

There is a warmth in just having things fit into the right place and having that place feel like home. But maybe the real feeling of home is just a few steps away and we just have to walk through that door to discover the hidden treasures that await us if we are brave enough to explore the possibilities.

 

The things that make us laugh the most

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toaster oven

“I do love my toaster oven though.  That’s what you need down there – heat up the meat and then toast your bun.” ~ SN

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That innocuous statement may seem like the least funny line you could ever imagine, confusing even if you have no context of conversation to be able to attach to that simple phrase.  But last night, that innocent message took a turn down an interesting path and led us on a journey of uncontrollable laughter in the wee hours of the morning.

What started as a discussion about a late-night kitchen raid slowly morphed into something much more amusing after I texted the above line.  It seemed to hover in cyberspace, not realizing it was soon to become the cause of a 45 minute fit of muscle spasms and tears of epic comical proportion.

He broke first.  I didn’t initially see the humour in it but, as he texted it back to me over and over and continued to laugh, I could swear I heard the faint echo of his laughter in my head.  Eventually I began to giggle because thinking of him finding such a sincere comment so funny made that comment start to seem funny to me too.  Soon the two of us had fallen over the brink and we, in our separate houses in the darkness of the early morning, laughed like idiots for almost an hour.

My ribs ached, my stomach muscles felt like they had begun to seize and my sleeve was soaked with tears that would not stop staining my cheeks and my pillowcase.  But at the end of suffering through the side effects of our mutual breakdown, I felt wonderful.  That silly string of words had made us both laugh harder than either of us have laughed in years.  It made us temporarily blind to all of the life outside of that moment, allowing us to truly enjoy an escape from reality that will forever be a memory we will both treasure.

Sometimes the things that aren’t funny really do make us laugh the most.  And if you can share that laughter with the right person, for a brief period of time, the rest of the world ceases to exist.

(image credit)

All of the things I did

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toes in the water

I am not here to just put my toes in the water.

I am here to cannonball off a spring-board,

fully plunging into the deep end.

I am not here to simply smell the flowers.

I am here to roll through the meadow,

to give in to careless abandon,

and to saturate myself in their fragrance.

I am not here to be a guest in my own life.

I am here to live purposely,

to breathe deeply the essence of this life,

because I know, all too well, that life is short.

And at the end of my journey through this lifetime,

all of the things I did,

and all of the life I inhaled,

will hopefully served to remind me,

that I lived a deliberate life and that I made a difference.

(image credit)

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