I Can’t Like This/Phantasy Friday

I had a miserable experience last week. Humor is said to make bad things tolerable and I’d love to see if that’s true. Doubtful, but we’ll see.

I’m claustrophobic and had to have an MRI. Did you get the part about claustrophobic? And I’d never have made it through without the training-by-observance from a niece.

I arrived forty minutes early. (Note to self: Need to apologize to maintainance for double skid marks in parking garage from my heels where hubby had to push me into the building.) Handed my paperwork to the nice young lady at the main desk. She peered at the paperwork, typed at her computer. Typed more at her computer. Frowned. Typed again. This went on for fifteen minutes. Result? She squared my papers and handed them back with the announcement I wasn’t in the system. I’d have to leave and reschedule my appointment.

What?!? I knew if I left I’d never come back. She called “Next”. I had to do something. Quick.  Did I mention I’m claustrophobic? Took me forever and no sleep the night before to work up enough courage to go through this today, and I was supposed to go back and start over because they’d misplaced my information? Not happening. I’d been to the doctor with my niece when she had to have shots. And for a six-year-old who is a wisp of a person (she’s tiny) she has a good grasp on physics. As in leverage. So I followed her fine example.

I leaned across the counter and wrapped my fingers securely around the far edge. My toes were off the floor, but it was still workable. Tip: you have to tuck your elbows together underneath you, so you don’t leave a wing for someone to grab hold of. Effective. I knew because it took four adults working in tandem to pry Emma off her counter.

It put my face pretty close to the young lady’s. Being wild-eyed must have made her nervous because she wheely-bobbed her rolling chair to the far side of the cubicle. Fast. Banged slap into the counter there. Learned heavily hair-sprayed hair might not separate, but did you know it can shift on the head like a loose helmet when the body halts suddenly? Interesting. Going to use it in a book one day. For fifteen minutes she blinked while I kept insisting I was on the schedule because my paperwork said so–and it came from them! Just before Security arrived an older woman in management inquired what was wrong. Guess it’s not every day you find a large woman dangling from the counter. She sat at the same computer, and somewhere in the bowels of hospital hell, found me. Slid off the counter, straightened my blouse and said thank you.

Off to radiology. Signed in ten minutes late and settled into the waiting room. Another young woman, this one with a clipboard, popped her head in, looked around, checked her board, then walked off without saying a word. Ten minutes later she did the same thing, but with an impatient sigh. Ten minutes later she repeated the exercise. I asked her if she was looking for someone–like me. Clipboard to chest she said, “I’m looking for a fifty-six year old woman and there isn’t one here yet.”

Bing! I’m fifty-six! “Do you mean . . . ” and said my name. She brightened and asked, “She was here? Did she go to the bathroom?” Had the nerve to frown at me when I told her I’d been here the entire time. Argued with me I wasn’t fifty-six. Had to produce my driver’s license! I’m so nervous, okay downright scared, my toes are digging grooves in my shoe soles and there are indentations in the edge of the plastic chair from my finger grip, and some kid was arguing with me instead of getting me to my procedure! Couldn’t even enjoy not looking fifty-six in her eyes.

Off to the torture tube. Oh, joy.  As I’m changing into the gown that strips you of all dignity I hear the tech. He made sure to talk loud enough for me to hear. He went on and on about inconsiderate people who can’t make appointments on time, and how it upsets their entire schedule because they think they’re special. How if he had his way, for their rudeness they’d wait until they got through with everyone else before doing their tests. I’m terrified and he’s yammering about me, when it’s the hospital’s fault I’m late?

Unfortunate timing for them to trot out the cage I’d have to wear over my head while in the torture tube. All I could think about was the old black and white movie where they put such  a cage over a prisoner’s head and released live rats into it. I lost it. Unloaded on him and didn’t curse the first time. Informed him of my arrival time. How I was delayed by inept computer skills of temps-in-training manning check-in. How I resorted to planting myself to prevent dismissal. How, though I felt honored to participate in the new experiment in telepathic communication between patients and service personnel, he needed to inform upper management it was an abject failure.  And now being subjected to the anonymous ranting of a tech from behind his one-way glass was the final straw.

Take it back. I did curse. Once. Told him he needed to trot his happy ass out from behind said glass and talk to me face to face. That was the only way he would continue this conversation or his test. If he didn’t, they really would need security because I was coming in after him, gown and all! I heard click. The door being locked from his side.

Think it’s a red-head thing. Don’t remember grabbing the doorknob but I can tell you the damn thing wouldn’t open no matter how hard I rattled it. Not even when I planted both feet to either side of the doorfame and yanked. Suggested an uncomfortable–and probably anatomically impossible–place for him to put his rat cage, too. Then I realized how perfect this situation was. He couldn’t run away! 

He was forced to re-listen to my ordeal, step by step, as I’d experienced it. I was over being talked down to by some twit who didn’t have enough professionalism to ask if there was a reason for my tardiness! Informed him being morbidly claustrophobic, he was lucky I was here at all after being subjected repeatedly to his hospital’s rank lack of proficiency. Warned one more undeserved word from him and some very un-grandmotherly things would fly out of my mouth.

Sigh. Probably projected the image of a rabid, beady-eyed porcupine. Or monkey jacked up on steroids during the doorframe thing, but I didn’t care. No sleep meant I wore myself out quickly. We eventually met half-way. He came out and personally fixed the rat cage over my head after placing a cloth over my eyes. That way if I panicked and opened my eyes, I wouldn’t panic more by seeing the rat cage over my face. It’s quite humiliating when the knocking and banging going on inside the machine is you trying to get out.

We made it through the test, but it would never have occurred at all without Emma’s grand plan to avoid shots. Thank you, sweetie. You taught me well.

10 Responses

  1. I love this post! I read it twice and giggled both times. Nicely done. 🙂 Also…I hope the test results come back okay!

    • Thanks, Rebecca! One of those embarrassing but true incidents in my life. And just think, I’ve actually gotten a better hold on my temper later in life! LOL Find out results the 9th. Appreciate the good wishes.

  2. I laughed through the whole thing, and I could picture you doing this… I’m thinking you need to WRITE COMEDY… grins.

  3. GIRL! you know my super hero name is Claustrophobia Girl (son says that is not so super) and I had one of those MRIs of the brain. NEVER again. I have to tell you MY story- I was not quite as bad as you, but close! I will die of a tumor before I ever go that route again. I swear that helmet is a medieval torture device. Fer sure!

    AND the part about not looking 56 is true but why the hell the woman didn’t call out a name???? What’s up with that?

    Hope you are ok. I love ya!- see you tomorrow, my friend!

  4. oh yea- cute pic of the grand daughter- she got the red head thing going on. too? LOL!

  5. Think they were checking to see if I have one! snicker Brain, that is!

  6. WOnderful story. Laughed the whole way through. Great graphic description. Was with you the whole time.

    Hope everything went well. Later RVF

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