Just Try to Stay Still

Lying on the table for my MRI, the technician’s voice comes through the noise-cancelling headphones, “now don’t move…just try to lie still…make sure not to move.” I almost want to ask, “Wait…so I shouldn’t move, then?” But then I can hear my mother’s voice in my head telling me to stop being a smartass and I just let them do the test.

“This one is going to be about a minute long. Don’t move!”


That is the sound I hear over and over again. Sometimes the noises are a slow and soft ‘THUMP’, but, for the most part the tapping noise is fast and suppressed. It reminds me of the speed of a machine gun going off multiple times, but with the muffled sound like something was being hit over and over inside the machine.


Oh, good lord this is getting annoying. Of course, both of the technicians forgot to turn on the music, so here I am staring at the ceiling, alone with nothing but the beeps, thumps and my thoughts.

tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap

What was with those technicians in the beginning, though?Nobody smiles in this joint. Not my orthopedic surgeon, the nurses, these MRI technicians. Nobody. Is this place really that much of a downer? Everyone just needs to relax and have a Happy Meal. I should’ve totally pulled an Oprah for this appointment. Just handing out Happy Meals left and right until somebody smiled. “You get a Happy Meal! You get a Happy Meal! EVERYBODY GETS A HAPPY MEAL!!”

tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap

Ugh…how long am I going to be in here? I really feel like I have to move, but I’m afraid of the ice cold glare that the lead technician will surely give me if I disobey her orders.

“This one is going to be about three and a half minutes long. Try not to move!” Yes, ma’am drill sergeant!


I’m over this whole MRI thing. The only reason I had to come in was because the compartment pressure test that Dr. I’lljustgiveyouthistestrealquicksinceit’salmost5o’clock was negative, leaving me undiagnosed. I know I could’ve made my leg hurt more so that the pressure test sticking needles in my leg muscle would be more accurate, but I felt compelled to make it “hurt” as quickly as possible since the other doctor he sent in to watch me on the treadmill (because I’m sure my doctor had more important things to do than focus on patient care) kept asking every minute or so if it was time for me to stop yet.


I wonder what my orthopedic surgeon will say about the results of this thing. It’s taking long enough so I hope they’re getting good images. What if the tests show nothing’s wrong? I can’t have two negative tests; they’ll think I’m making everything up. My lower leg feels like it’s about to burst from the amount of pressure and pain I feel when I run and sometimes it and my foot go numb while running.

“This one’s going to be for 4 minutes. Try not to move! You’re doing such a great job!”

tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap

tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap

I should really stop complaining, but I hate not being able to run, not being able to get that endorphin rush after finishing a five mile run and not being able to train for the highest item on my bucket list: finish a marathon.

When my orthopedic surgeon told me I’d probably never be able to run a marathon, I broke down right then and there. “But I’m 22 years old! I should be able to!” I kept repeating it over and over to him. He suggested that I try biking, swimming or even rock climbing to be able to get the adrenaline rush back.

“But…but I’m 22 years old!” I kept saying to him. He looked sympathetic, but in the way guys who can’t handle crying look sympathetic. He was giving me a sad face on the outside, but inside I know he was like, “get me out of here, get me out of here, get me out of here.”

Instead, he told me I would have to take a DNS (did not start) for the Twin Cities Marathon that I had been training hard for the past 5 months. I knew watching my cousins and friends run it without me would make me fall apart inside.

And it did.


Of course those memories have to come flooding back now, when I’m in an MRI machine and can’t move. Maybe if I just bat away the tears, they’ll dry before this thing is over. I would totally be that girl that cries inside the MRI and they have to start all over. I’m a wreck.

tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap

I’ve got to stop feeling sorry for myself but, mainly, stop tearing up inside the MRI machine and get in charge of the situation. We’ll just have to wait and see what the test shows and when it’s all said and done, compartment syndrome or not, I’m going to run. I’ll just take it one day at a time. I’ve got to finish a marathon. Run the whole time or walk/run it. It doesn’t matter. It’s what I’ve wanted to do for the longest time and I’m not going to give up.

Now if only this test would hurry up and be over so I can go work on my new training plan. There’s no way I’m going to stop trying because someone says I can’t – medical degree or not.

“Okay, this one will be about two minutes. Just try to stay still!”

Not a chance, lady. Not a chance.


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