When my siblings and I were little, our mother always encouraged us to use our imaginations. We would make the best of a bad situation by picturing being somewhere else, or pass the time with a made-up scenario. When we were waiting in the little room at the pediatrician’s office for the doctor to come in, my mother would tell us to imagine that we were on the lam from the government, and how would we escape or defend ourselves? We would look all around us at the items and medical equipment and come up with strategies. I can remember looking up at the big, red box on the wall labeled “BIOHAZARD” and thinking I would weaponize used syringes. I don’t think I knew what would happen exactly if you were stuck with a used syringe, but I knew it wasn’t good.
Sometimes when my mother took my brother and I to the grocery store, she’d let us stay by the lobster tank while she shopped. We would hold hands and look through the glass together at the otherworldly lobster faces, and I could have sworn that I could hear tiny underwater voices screaming for help. To this day, I haven’t eaten lobster other than a few bites of a lobster bisque at a wedding. I imagine that I might experience a confrontational visitation from a lobster ghost through a nightmare if I did.
Last year I went to the hospital to have a scheduled MRI of my brain. I’ve had them before, but they were a lot nicer at my previous hospital. They played classical music through headphones and checked on me through the intercom multiple times. This time there was no music, and it was a much louder and more jarring experience. I’m not claustrophobic, but the rattles and bangs so close to my face made me feel extra anxious. I definitely had to make a conscious effort to keep myself calm. The sounds reminded me of something from science fiction, and it helped to imagine myself as Ripley from Alien. If I didn’t stay still, the Alien would find me. Spoiler alert: I survived, but since Ripley eventually has to live out the plot of Alien: Resurrection, can we truly call this a win? You decide.
In case you need an example of what an MRI sounds like, this is it!