Robyn Margulis Vernon Ogrodnek

I am getting old. That is a reality. As such, I have had plenty of years to experience various types of medical tests. Some are quick and easy, others, not so much.

I have decided that I really dislike the breast smashing that I have to endure once per year now. I also despise the colonoscopy (sorry for the gross-out). But there is no test that I abhor more than the MRI. I know some will read this and think, ah, no big deal. But, admittedly, the length, the loudness, and more important, the terrifying coffin-like confinement, accounts for my hatred of this test. For me, the MRI scan causes immense anxiety and a claustrophobic response. With that said, I would go through a thousand MRIs (albeit with some serious medication) if it meant that my child could be spared one.

My daughter is still suffering effects of a concussion four weeks post-injury. We have a scheduled a visit with a neurologist and are expecting that he may order an MRI of her head. I am experiencing some serious anxiety over the idea of my 13-year-old having to submit to such an exam. As I recently endured my own MRI for a knee injury, I inquired about what hers might be like. I was shown a huge helmet that she would have to wear and was told how the test would go down. It made me want to cry.

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When you become a parent, everything changes. It is something that is preached to you by other parents when you are expecting your first child. And those same folks tell you that nothing can prepare you for that reality until it actually happens. They are right. You can be the most self-centered, self-absorbed person in the world, and parenthood will likely change that in a flash.

You are the reason for your child's existence, but your child, instantly upon his or her birth, becomes the reason for yours.

Most parents will tell you that they would die for their children. And when your child is hurt or sick, you want nothing more than to take away the pain. You wish the pain on yourself. Since that is not possible, I guess we do the next best thing by taking care of them as best we can and trying to minimize the scarring.

When my son was 5, he fell and broke his collarbone. I will never forget the morning after when he cried out to me from his bedroom, unable to lift himself up from the bed.

When my daughter was sick with respiratory problems, I remember lying in bed with her to administer back percussions during the night.

I recall another time when my very young son had a stomach virus and I slept on the floor with him all night so I could be there when he woke up to talk to the puke bucket. I remember crying a lot that night.

At the age of 11, my son currently suffers from night terrors. For those not familiar with this horrendous nocturnal event, those afflicted "awake" in the midst of a nightmare, seemingly aware, but not. While in the midst of a terror, the child is talking, walking, thrashing, fighting, and has a look of absolute terror in his eyes as he is experiencing, in his mind, a horrifying event. I have witnessed my son throw himself against a wall, scream with such terror that he would make a horror-movie-casting agent proud, and nearly hurl himself over my hallway banister while in the midst of a terror-ridden episode that, thankfully, he would not recall the next day. I can't help but wonder if an MRI would detect the tear in my heart.

Nothing can prepare you for the intense feelings that parenthood brings. And with the intense feeling of unconditional love comes the even more intense obligation of protector. And when your child is hurting, as a parent, you want nothing more than to take it away; even if it means taking on the hurt yourself. I suspect that every parent who takes the time to read this has experienced the same at some point in time.


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