I’ve Found God! And I Am So Screwed!

Guess what?  There really is a God!

You’re thinking, like, “No way!”  And I’m thinking “Way!”  And you’re thinking, “Nuh-uh!”  And I’m thinking, “Uh-huh!”

What’s my proof, you ask?  You want the whole story?

Well, last fall I had a heart attack.  I am not telling you this to garner sympathy.  In fact, my hospital stay boasted many three-star highlights and attractions – even before the whole miracle thing.

First there was the festive Johnny / mini-skirt I got to wear, with extra-stylish slit up the back.  Also, I will always cherish the memory of my angioplasty, which included a free groin shave by a huge man who bore a striking resemblance to Hulk Hogan.  And who would pass up getting served  weird, syrupy canned peaches by a nurse who talked in baby-talk?

Of all the nurse-types I encountered – the bossy ones, the officious ones, the genuinely nice and helpful ones – by far the most memorable were the infantilizing ones, the ones assumed for some reason that because I had a physical ailment, I was also a moron.

“How ya doin’?” squeaky sing-song voice.  “You ate all of your peaches!  Very Good!”
“Thank you.”
“Did you pee for me?”
“I peed.  It wasn’t for you specifically.”
“Wonderful!!!  You’re doing great!!!!”
“I am?  Because I peed?  Does that mean something?  What does that indicate?”
“It means you’re doing Just Fine!”
“Good.  What about you?  Did you pee?…For me?”

Yet the most extraordinary experience, the one that really got me contemplating the big questions, was my MRI.  This was ordered because I seemed to be having a bad reaction to one of my medicines, and performed at two in the morning.  I was carted down a long series of dim, late-night hospital halls.  Everything was eerily quiet – just a few bits of blinking machinery here and there.  I was placed on a long rack, readied to be inserted into my futuristic coffin.

“What kind of music would you like to listen to?” the technician asked me.

“Umm, maybe Classical?” I suggested.
“Sure.”
“But…I mean…what would it be?  If it’s classical?”

I do like Classical Music.  But only certain kinds.  I have discovered that if you request classical, at least fifty percent of the time, you get The Nutcracker Suite.

“Oh, it’s very nice,” the technician said.
“But…I mean…”
“You’ll like it!” she said, settling the earphones over me, waving me bye-bye, watching me slide off to my doom.

There was already something otherworldly about the dark halls.  The near-death experience I had just been through, this dim, empty room with the machine.  And now I was entombed.  Motionless.  And through my headphones, I was soon listening to the haunting strains of some sacred song.  Beautiful.  Angelic.  And yet…horrifying.  “Aaaaaa-ve Ma-riiii-aaaaaaaaaaaaa!”

Holy crap!   This is really what they’re playing for something who just nearly died???  Ave Maria???  Apparently so!   “Sper-duuuuuuta…..l’alma miiiiiiii-a……”.   On and on.

I seriously expected a voice-over to come through.  “Well, as you can tell…this isn’t really just an MRI…You see, you’re on your way to the next world.”
“What??!!!!   I am????   Where am I going?????”
“Well, that’s an interesting one.  We wish we had better news for you.   We really do.  You really could have been nicer to your old mother.   Sitting back and letting her serve you coffee….”
“But she offered!”
“But she was sitting too!  You should have refused!”
“But…she’s my mother!  She likes serving me!  Mothers get off on that stuff.”
“She’s an old woman.  Get off your damn ass and serve her the coffee!”
“But…”
“Sorry.  If it helps, during the eternal hellfire, you almost made it to the good place!  Really.  You were close.”
“Wait!  Hold on!  Is this God?  I demand to speak to the management!”
“Sorry.   That won’t be possible.  Enjoy the music.”
“Nooooooooo!”

mri

Well, as you can tell, I did re-emerge back into this world.  And happily made a full recovery.   But I did start to wonder.  And that’s when it started getting weird.   Because this past week I was having shoulder pain and went back for another MRI.

This time it was during the day.  Much more normal-seeming.  “Did you choose what kind of music you’d like?” I was asked.

“Yes!  Classic rock!”   Not making that mistake again!

Only here is the spooky part:  As I was launched into the MRI tube, I thought to myself, very clearly, “With my luck, I bet they’ll play that horrible song, ‘Slow Ride’ by Foghat.”  I had not heard this song in years.  But I thought of it because it is the quintessential horrible song, and in my view it actually approaches the idealized, theoretically worst possible song.

And sure enough, as I am lying there in place, trying to ignore the slight itch on my nose:

Slow ride, take it eas-ay
Slow ride, take it eas-ay
Slow ride, take it eas-ay
Slow ride, take it eas-ay
I’m in the mood
The rhythm is right
Move to the music
We can roll all night
Oooh slow ride!
Oooh!!!

When the loud jackhammering sound of the machine kicked in, I was actually relieved.  Although I could still hear the music slightly, and it would have been nicer if the jackhammering had been just a bit louder (in fact, I bet you could sample the jackhammering sound and sell it online as “loud background noise to drown out ‘Slow Ride’ by Foghat”).

At last I was rolled out, back from that other world, that place where I receive my messages, back into this one.

Smiling, sing-song technician.  “Ya did great!!”
“I did?  What did I do that was so great?”
“You laid there!”
“Is that…unusual?”
“You were terrific!”
“But…I didn’t even pee.”

So there’s your proof!  God!  God is messing with me!   God does not think I am funny!  First “Ave Maria”.  My warning.  Then “Slow Ride”!   The very song I wished not to hear.   What the hell?   Err…I  mean heck!

I know what you are thinking:  “There’s no such thing as an atheist in a Foxhole.  And there’s no such thing as an atheist who is being forced to listen to, ‘Slow Ride’ by Foghat.  Of course, anyone subjected to that song would start to pray.”  Well, you can scoff all you want.   I for one intend to start getting my own coffee.

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16 COMMENTS

    • Thanks. glad you got some laughs. at the time, it was not fun at all! especially the first one. but…the good thing about writing humor is i look forward to awkward, unpleasant experiences now :). hoping there will be a morsel that will be of use.

  1. Enjoyed this – and almost envied you the first soul-stirring experience. My most recent MRI I had learned, and took along my own CD. “Oh, no,” I was told. “You have to listen to our instructions, so we can’t allow music.” And so, every minute or so, I was told to stop breathing – and not always reminded to start again, before the next instruction STOP BREATHING. This lasted an interminable 43 minutes. Docile as always, I checked: it was OK, I could now breathe as normal. I didn’t meet God, though.

  2. Dear Mr. Rotting Post Guy.

    You have described my experience in an MRI, more or less. I requested classical and they either misunderstood, or thought that I really meant Christian. Or maybe the technician was in an evangelical mood. I too was glad for the sledgehammering. When it was finally over with, the pain in my shoulder (which was the reason for my being there) was unrelieved. There was no miracle. I remain unconvinced.

    So, thank you for reminding me.

  3. Whilst upset to hear of your medical issues, I also snarfed my morning coffee reading this one. Another beauty! Never had an MRI, and after reading this and understanding that “Slow Ride” will be playing there (and likely on repeat in Hell, too) I hope to never make the acquaintance of God in the machine. I do hope you feel much better soon, and keep the sick humor coming. (And if it makes you feel better, I am following your blog and I,too, do not get email notifications of your latest posts. So it’s WordPress’s fault, not ours.)

  4. Oh my goodness, this made me laugh. Out loud. It brought me back to the ride through the very cold hospital corridors to have a CT scan, during my stay in ICU in 2008 and while it was daytime, I have to say those corridors were dim and deserted too. Might as well have been night. They don’t even give you an extra blanket for the ride. No music for a CT scan. I am pouting.

      • I did not have heart issues, but had somehow contracted C. Difficile and by the time I finally realized I needed the hospital I was critical and they had to take out my large colon. I had a 5% chance at that point, with or without surgery. But I was no longer conscious: my brother made the decision. I didn’t wake up for a week… and then…. TA DA! It was a done deal. Then another 7 days in ICU and 2 days on the surgical ward in isolation the whole time. A very dehumanizing experience, traumatic and not something I want to go through again. At one point I felt like an infant, at another, sub-human.

  5. I should add: as I am writing about it now, my first attempts tended toward puns and allusions and fall rather flat, so I’ve been encouraged to write the stark details. But the humour is there too. I do have one poem about the night I imagined being inside a pinball machine, and dressed like a superhero or some such odd thing. Of course, I was there over Halloween, so… and heavily medicated.

  6. I really relate to the way they talk down to you. I think about all the times “now we are going to lie on our back….” let’s lie on our left side…” “Did we pee?” I keep saying Oh, are you lying down too? But they never are…. 🙂

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