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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Voice of the MRI

I went in for an MRI the other day.
As the technician told me everything that would happen, I could tell she was trying to read my anxiety level. I've heard that lots of people freak out when they have to go into that tight contraption.
"How are you doing?" She asked me.
"Just fine," I said.
"Would you like a blanket?"
"That would be nice," I answered.
I half expected her to ask me if I wanted a teddy bear.
I told the technician that I don't have claustrophia.
Heights are more my thing.

So she covered me up, slid a couple of pillows around me, provided me some ear-phones, and then slid me into the tube.

For the next 40 minutes I listened to a variety of strange bangings, jack-hammerings, and boop-boops.
I tried to remain as still as possible, even though my back was starting to protest.
That was the reason I went in for the MRI. My back.

There was one sound that bothered me.
I lay there trying to figure out what it was about the sound that made my heart accelerate.
I suppose it was the almost human voice, insistently prodding my ears with:
"Boy! Boy! Boy! Boy! Boy!"
Kind of like Star Trek's Borg, "Boy!" startled me with its half human and half cyborg voice.
The hybrid voice beat on me: heartless, soul-less, loud, un-altering in its perfect repetitions.
He/it continued to disturb me for almost five minutes with "Boy! Boy! Boy!"

When "Boy!" finally quit, my breathing returned to normal.

Machines are not supposed to sound human. At least machines that we don't expect to speak.
Like MRI machines.

After the test was done and the technician pulled me out of the tube, she told me I'd done a great job. Her smile and touch were warm as she helped up from the table.
Her voice soothed me with its human inflection.

But even as I walked out of the hospital and got into my car, "Boy! Boy!" echoed in my brain.
I put in a CD and let the voice of Michael Card drive away the awful mechanical "Boy!"

This experience has helped remind me to thank God for the sound of human voices all around me:
my husband's, my children's, my grandchildren's, my friend's.
How wonderful to hear the warmth, the emotion, the heart behind each of them. 
Can you imagine not having their voices surrounding you?
Ahh, the human voice!


  1. Hi Dena,

    I've been in MRI machines a number of times. If you want, they'll play music through those earphones. Still, it gets blocked out by all the noise.

    Oh, and they also provide a wedge for under your knees to ease the pressure on your back. If there's a next time, you might want to ask for one.

    Yes, robots/machines will never take the place of the human voice. I'm thankful for the sense of hearing.

    Susan :)

  2. Hi Susan, Yes, I also had a wedge but it didn't stop my back from saying, "Ouch!" And I could barely hear the music because the machine's "boy, boy." But, really good point, Susan: I'm grateful for ears to hear even a robot's voice!