Originally Posted at the Common Threads Blog
Centre Daily Times, on June 20, 2007
Last week, I had to go in for my first ever MRI. A friendly staff attended to the initial paperwork, and I got shown into the procedure room.
I was fine, till I lay down and figured out the reality of the procedure – the length of time, the small space, the stillness expected of me.
The two people there adjusted the headphones for my music – and suddenly I wondered if I could do it. I felt a wave of panic and voiced it.
They were instantly responsive. Would I like to just test it out – go inside and see what it was like?
Yes, I replied, that would be wonderful.
Having done that, I asked some more questions about the procedure. I made a decision of earplugs over headphones, and tried to get comfortable.
But I was still tentative. As I was mentally steeling myself for the procedure, one of the people in the room threw me a lifeline – would it help if he held my hand through the procedure?
You can do that? I heard myself asking incredulously.
Yes, I can, was the reply.
I am sure I can go through with it then, I replied. I asked him his name.
It was Dave.
Thank you, Dave, I said, thank you for doing this.
I got into position in the machine, and Dave held my hand. Five minutes into the procedure, I was comfortably settled, the newness and strangeness of the experience a thing of the past. I can handle this, I thought – this is a piece of cake.
And suddenly, with Dave still holding my hand, and the machine doing its job, I had an epiphany about what life was all about, and the incredible power embedded in that moment – the power of one helping hand holding another, making a difficult time easier.
The differences between us - race, gender, ethnicity did not matter at that instant. It was a simple but profound moment of connection between strangers, based on a common humanity. And on the power we all have to help each other.
So thank you, Dave, and thank you, Jennifer, for using that power well. What you did was all in a day’s work for you – for me, it made all the difference.