This morning I went for my MRI. The scheduling had been carefully done because of Daniel needing to go to to Physical Therapy while I was getting the MRI. I asked how long it took to get an MRI of the brain, and had been cheerfully informed that it wouldn’t take more than 20 minutes, half an hour at most. So, after double checking on all the issues (what about hair pins, is there any dietary considerations, can I drive myself, did the authorization come through, and again, how long should it take?) it seemed like everything was in order.
I dropped Daniel at Southern Delaware Physical Therapy Group and went about three doors down to the CNMRI office that is on the same street. When I walked in the door at 10:30, I was so pleased to have made it exactly when they told me to be there. I know the gals at the desk in this establishment, because one of my Sweet Mama’s doctors shares the building. I told them that I needed to pick up my husband in an hour, and signed in and began to wait.
And proceeded to wait and wait and wait. I had been told that I had been allotted the half hour increment between 10:30 and 11:00, so I began to be increasingly concerned as the minutes passed and no one called me. I am often amazed at the way God works in our lives at times like this. He provided a most unattractively vocal woman who was waiting on a ride who was cussing and calling the ride provider and in general being obnoxious. People like this tend to make me want to wait peacefully and quietly and make me want to smile sweetly (even though I may be clenching my teeth behind the grimace.) And so, I sat and tried not to be irritated and tired to engage her in conversation about her life and to listen sympathetically to her complaints about life and non-husband father of her 15 year old daughter, and why didn’t that ride come, and on and on.
Along about eleven o’clock, when I was supposed to be finishing the test, I decided to check on what was going on. Daniel was going to be done in another half hour and, at least at this rate, no one was going to be there to pick him up. I sidled up to the window and peered across the divide. The receptionist looked up from her work, surprised.
“I’m sorry,” I began, “But I’m just wondering. Are you running behind on your MRI’s this morning?”
She looked at me, dumbfounded. “You haven’t been called back? What time was your appointment?”
“10:30,” I said. “And I’m beginning to wonder if I am going to be done before I need to pick up my husband.”
She went into her computer screen and I saw a shadow cross her face. “It says here that you are finished,” she said. “You’ve been signed out as all done.”
“But I haven’t even gone back,” I protested. “No one ever called me!”
“I don’t know,” she said, again, guardedly, “We will have to find out what is going on.”
I went back and sat in my chair and waited again.
After about 15 more minutes, I went back again. “Can you tell me anything?” I asked. “Do you know what is going on?
“No,” she said, somewhat busy with something or other. “We still do not know anything.”
“Do you think that I should call someone to pick up my husband?” I asked. “He’s going to be done really soon, and I don’t want him to have to wait around after physical therapy because I don’t know how much pain he is going to have.”
She looked up briefly and said, quite emphatically, “You need to call someone to get him because we don’t know what is going on!”
And so, I got off and called Middle Daughter. She wasn’t dressed or combed yet. She had worked all night and was not her lucid self. So I called Oldest Daughter, who carefully and cheerfully put everything on hold and went and fetched her Daddy from PT and deposited him safely home.
By now it was 11:30, and I was increasingly upset. I went back to the window and said, “I’m getting irritated!”
The one receptionist at this office is a “cackler!” She has the most obnoxious voice — to the point that both Sweet Mama and I make comment betweenst ourselves at almost every visit. Often she uses it to snort off laughter or exclamations. It comes across raucous in conversation. But it’s all she has, at least I guess so, so I try not to be too affronted by it.
She looked up again from her computer. “I don’t blame you,” she squawked. “I’d be irritated, too!”
“What is going on?” I asked. “Can you tell me anything?”
“Something got mixed up,” she said. “We’re trying to figure it out.” And then went back to her task. I went to the ladies’ room, and then sat briefly back in the waiting room. Away from the other disgruntled waiting person. But then I decided that an hour was long enough to wait without any answers. So I got up again and went to the window.
“I’m sorry,” I said, with a little heat in my voice. “But I’m not leaving this window until someone tells me what is going on. If I could have an explanation, a time frame or something! But I feel like I need to know something. I am going to stand right here until someone tells me something.”
Things started to happen then. A nurse from another section went and peered into the MRI room, and it was empty. No one was there. She said, “I’m going to go look for (the receptionist from that side).” I noticed then that the second receptionist (not the squawky one) was missing. I had assumed that maybe she had gone out for a smoke break, but she suddenly came around the corner and down the hall and sat down at the desk. She looked up at me and her eyes were begging.
“I’m here,” I felt the need to re-announce, “and I’m not leaving my perch until someone gives me some answers.”
She had a long string of checkouts waiting at her side desk, and she looked sympathetically at me, and lowered her voice.
“Mrs. Yutzy,” she said, “I am SO sorry. There has been a big mistake. You were checked out as done, and our technician saw that she had no more patients until 12:30 and she left. We’ve gotten ahold of her and she is coming back to do your MRI. I spoke to her about 5 minutes ago and she said she would be here in 15. So she should be here in 10. I am so sorry. I don’t know how this happened. We didn’t check you out here, so she must have accidentally checked you out back there, but we don’t know. I’m so sorry.”
So I sat back down again. I was so incredibly frustrated. My face was aching, and it just seemed so “wrong.” I started to cry. The tears slid out of my numb eye and my numb right nostril started to run. I thought briefly how I wished that I could be pretty when I cried. And I thought about how stupid it was of me to be so upset. And then I thought about the fact that I was on prednisone and probably couldn’t help it, and then I started to think about what God thought about His Daughter, and about how there are words that I live by and they weren’t doing me much practical good in this moment of need.
And suddenly, I felt like God was saying to me, “Mary Ann. Hold on. This story isn’t finished yet. This won’t be wasted if you just trust me.”
Now if you think that this is my first reaction, or if you think this was easy for me, you can think again. I heard someone address my neurologist somewhere in the labyrinth of the office and I even thought briefly of going and complaining to him about the mismanagement going on in his office. But I again felt that I was to restrain my tongue — yes, but even more that I was to restrain my heart.
So I finished out those minutes by praying hard for a work of grace in my heart. I prayed that I would not do or say anything that would discredit the Lord Jesus.
And then the door opened, and there was this fragile gal, probably in her late forties, and she looked like she had been crying, too. She was talking to the receptionists as she called my name.
“Mary Ann — ” she didn’t look at me. “– I did my last patient, and then I didn’t have any more scheduled until 12:30,” she was saying, with more than a little frustration. “I didn’t know that I had another patient. They were all signed out.”
I followed her back to the room, and she was clearly agitated. “I just don’t understand what happened!”
“I don’t understand it, either,” I said. “I was scheduled for 10:30 and that was when I got here. When I checked at 11 why they weren’t taking me, they said that I was already checked out, that I was marked as finished.”
“I don’t know what happened,” she said again.
“Don’t worry about it, girlie,” I said. “Mistakes can happen so quickly. It will be alright.”
Then, with tears gathering in the corners of her eyes she said that she had a family problem and it had upset her.
“. . . and it felt like a good chance to run home and check on it, didn’t it?” I said.
“Yes,” she said. “I felt like I had to check things out.” And then she told me about her hurt in the situation without being too specific, and finished explaining the procedure to me while she strapped me in and down and got everything ready. My heart began to ache for her. She was clearly fighting tears, and she was feeling so confused about what had happened.
The first part of the MRI was over before I knew it. She was suddenly standing by my side, her gentle hands starting the IV and caressing my hand.
Then she said, “I just want to tell you how sorry I am. We did a clerical audit and discovered that it was my mistake this morning. Instead of checking out my patient just before you, I checked you out instead. I am just so sorry. It was my mistake.”
I had just spent some time praying for this gal while I was in the MRI machine, and suddenly, it didn’t seem to matter so much anymore.
“It’s okay, girlie,” I said. “I have found that when things like this happen that are out of my control that seem to complicate my life, that God has a reason. It isn’t by accident, and I believe this was somehow meant to be.”
She thanked me, but then was quiet. The MRI finished, and she helped me off the table. We exchanged a few pleasantries, and I told her that I hoped that her day would go better. I could tell that she was still fighting those tears and on impulse, I asked her, “Do you believe in the power of prayer?”
“Oh, yes!” she breathed. “I do, I do!”
“Would you mind if I prayed for you?” I asked.
She turned and shut the door leading out into the hall. “I would love for you to pray for me,” she said. “Please.”
She came over to where I was standing, and came into my arms and melted against my chest. She felt so vulnerable and broken.
And so, I prayed. I prayed for her broken heart. I prayed for repentance on the part of her family member. I prayed for forgiveness and restoration and peace. I prayed that the rest of this day would be so touched with Grace that she could not miss it. And I whispered a quiet heart prayer of thankfulness to my Heavenly Father that He had not allowed me to miss these Holy Moments in an MRI room of a doctor’s office.
Strange how the Holy can transform the irritating into glory.
My heart gives grateful praise.