I had an MRI this morning.

There’s been ringing in my left ear for about a month now. Most likely, it’s nothing (except annoying, of course), but my doctor ordered the MRI just to be sure. I’d love to say it was a piece of cake; nothing to it. But, the truth is, I didn’t handle it very well.

The nurse with pink scrubs instructed me to lay down on the plastic table. After she locked my head inside a “cage”, it began to spread through my body- heart-pouding, pulse-quickening, makes your hair stand on end, goose bump rising, shortness of breath, pure FEAR.

“Can you please take this thing off of my head!” I demanded. Begging the nurse to let Jeff come in the room with me, I did my best to suppress the tears that were beginning to form in the corner of my eyes. I sat up and grabbed the sides of the table with clenched fists and white knuckles.

“Just take a few deep breaths,” Pink nurse instructed. I obeyed, but the deep breathing seemed to do nothing for my heart that was likely to burst straight out of my chest.

“Okay, let’s try it again,” I said with apprehension.

She locked me back in and I pinched my eyes closed to block out the head cage that I swore would crush my head. I bit my lip and focused on the pain, instead of letting the tears escape through my eyelids. My left hand gently fingered the panic button…just in case. I felt my body move with the table into the machine. And then horrible, vibrating groans from the machine seemed to fill every inch of the tiny space that surrounded my head. I had no sense of time.

I briefly opened one eye and the fear began to spread throughout my body again. I was trapped! I was going to be crushed to death! I felt like I was losing control. “How am I going to get through this?!” Surely, I was the only person in the entire world and would be forgotten in this machine – forever locked away, serenaded by eternal groans.

“Consider it pure joy my brother, when you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance…” I started to mentally quote those bible verses from James that I had stored in my memory as a 13 year-old.

The sounds seemed to quiet a bit.

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…”

My pulse found a slower rhythm.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you…” 

I began to actually breathe like a normal, sane human being, instead of the quick breaths that barely filled my lungs.

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind…” 

I felt it slowly at first. The feeling ushered itself through my veins now, pushing out the fear. I unclenched my teeth for the first time, and I felt a strange peace overtake my body.

I finished quoting the verses, and thanked the 13 year-old with braces who first decided to memorize them.

Only God’s Word can calm my heart so quickly. And God promises that His Word will never return to Him empty, but will always accomplish all He wants it to. I love the Bible. It has been so powerful in my life; has brought so much peace time and again. It is truly timeless.

I echo the Psalmist’s words, “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.” (119:114)

The MRI came to an end. In the car, I laughed with Jeff and finally allowed the pent-up tears to freely fall down my eyes. (I’ll never understand how I can cry and laugh at the same time.) Today, I learned two things:

1) I am claustrophobic.

2) The Bible rocks. 

3 thoughts on “claustrophobia

  1. Oh Jenilee! You have no idea how many horrible yet precious memories this post brought back to me! Growing up I had a number of procedures done and my least favorite was the MRI! I thought for sure the machine was gonna explode it was no noisy. My mom actually had to make up a story when I was a little girl to make the time in the big machine go by faster. It was a story called The Little Star That Didn’t Have Any Light. I loved it SO much and just recently my mom got it published as a children’s book! Such a great thing for her! I can totally identify with your fear of MRI’s but if you ever have to have another one rest assured. The second time is easier. Keep on fighting the good fight and I hope you never stop posting!

  2. Hi! I just was referred to this blog post because I had an MRI today. I was so nervous yesterday and panicked about the claustrophobia, and my boss sent this to me. I was singing worship songs in my head to the tune of Kari Jobe. Eventually, I had them go along with the rhythm of the machine for a remix, LOL. Finally I fell asleep. Love the ending of this, and yes, the Bible ROCKS!

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