They told her it was a doughnut machine, but she didn’t buy that one. I’d already told my daughter that the machine would take pictures of her brain, so she knew that the nurses’ allusions to pastries were just pretend. She hesitated for a moment, though, hoping against hope that they were to be believed. Finally she shook her head no.
She agreed to the green pajamas, though, and let them talk her out of her necklace, and even her pony-tail holders. We walked together into the M RI room, and beheld the doughnut machine together. It does look like a doughnut—thick and round and white.
They offered her the movie of her choice, to be delivered via special goggles and earphones during the test. She picked one she hadn’t seen and happily crawled onto the table—animation to the rescue! When all was prepared, I kissed her, smudged her forehead with a sign of the cross, and the machine slid her into the doughnut.
The movie began, and the nurse handed me ear plugs, and sent me to sit in a white plastic beach chair. I had barely sat down when the banging of the M RI started. Arrhythmic and piercing, the sound could not be ignored.
I looked through the window at the radiologist who was able to see my precious daughter’s brain, then back at her sock-clad feet in front of me. I wondered what they could see on those screens. Her passing thoughts? The half-learned math facts that vex her so? A growing tumor?
Not that. Certainly not that. Please, God, not that.
The author, whose name is withheld upon request, is an ordained Teaching Elder (pastor) in the Presbyterian Church USA. She lives in a small city with her six-and-a-half year-old daughter and her cat. Her daughter’s MRI results came back clear.To read the full article, subscribe now. As a subscriber, you can also view Gather online, on an iPad, an Android, and a Kindle Fire. Visit the iTunes store on your iPad, the Google Play store, or Amazon to download the app. Search for Gather magazine. To request a free copy of the magazine, contact us.