I had waited six months for this appointment. Finally, my MRI appointment. I had been in pain for so long and I was hopeful this would give some answers and some needed relief.

Xray Hands
Xray Hands – A composite of two photos from the public domain

I was told I would need someone to come with me to the appointment or I would be refused the test. All my mom had to do, was pick me up at the restaurant, a few blocks south of the hospital, where I was enjoying a holiday celebration with some friends. All she had to do was be there by 8:15 pm to pick me up. And turn on her cell phone, which in and of itself, is usually a big accomplishment.

And there I stood outside the restaurant in the cold a 8:15pm. At 8:20pm I was now getting slightly pissed and I called my mother. She answered and I surmised by the sounds that she had not even left the house yet. She swore she was on her way, but she wouldn’t tell me where she was. She just said she’d be here in a couple of minutes. At 8:30 pm, I was now really pissed and  starting to panic that I might miss my appointment. I called and she again reiterated she was just a few minutes away. “Where are you exactly?” I asked suspiciously. She ignored the question, stating she’ll be here in five minutes.

Just then, I see a 42 division Sergeant’s car and I walk towards it. I’m sure if they are not busy, I can catch a ride for the half a km up the road to the hospital. However, as I approach the car, the Sergeant pulls out and speeds off. Gone. As I turn around, I see a cabbie sitting in his car in the parking lot. I open the passenger door “Hi. Are you on duty? Can you take me up to the hospital?” As he tells me yes and starts his car, I see my mother pulling into the parking lot. I tell him thank you as I close the door and jump into my mom’s vehicle. “I’m so mad right now. Don’t speak to me. Would it hurt you to be on time just once? If they refuse me this test, I’m never speaking to you again!” I bombard her with my frustration. She laughs and responds “Don’t worry, you’re not late. You know I won’t even be on time for my own funeral.” This response does nothing for my mood as we pull away towards the hospital.

I jump out of the car and tell my mom to meet me at admitting. As I enter the hospital and wander around I find out admitting is closed. I am told to go to emergency to register for my appointment. As I sit there at the registration desk, I see my mom and she is going the wrong way. I try and call her “Mom. Mom. Margaret!” but she is hard of hearing and doesn’t have her hearing aids on. She’s close to me, but I can’t leave the registration desk. Now I’m ready to kill her, again.

I finally make it to the area for the MRI, meeting my mother who is wandering around, on the way. Of course, I gave forgotten my requisition in the car, so she volunteers to go back. As I check-in, the receptionist tells me I don’t need the form as they received it from my doctor. I try and call my mom to tell her. Of course. Her phone goes straight to voicemail. It’s been turned off again. I speak to the receptionist and find out I have enough time to try and go find my mother.

I almost run to the parking area. I didn’t pass my mother on the way, so I figure she must be in the car. After locating the vehicle  and not finding her there, I give up and decide I just can’t be running after her anymore. I have a test I need to get to. As I make my way back to the area, I am surprised to find my mother there. I hadn’t seen her at all. I ask her why she turned off her phone. “Because we are at the hospital,” she answers. “But we were not together. That’s what it’s for,” I say, frustrated yet again. I look at her and say “You’re supposed to be looking after me, but all I’ve been doing is looking after you! And I’m still mad you were late.” She smiled and said “You got here on time didn’t you?” I shot her a look, you know, the one that says ‘I’m not amused.’

As they lead me to the test, in all the running around and trying to make sure my mother was okay, I forgot to take my sedation for the test. They advise it is too late and would be useless now. My anxiety rises, remembering the things I had heard from others about feeling trapped with the machine being so close. But as I was driven into the machine, I actually felt like I had lots of room and I realized I didn’t need the sedation after all. I relaxed as much as I could with all the noise and drifted off.

As I came down the hallway, my mother got up and had a weird look on her face. When I came closer she said “Now don’t get mad.” Before either of us could go on, a male orderly stopped and said “Did you find the ticket?”  I looked at her and said “What ticket?” “Opps, she doesn’t know yet,” says the orderly as he walks away anticipating an argument about to happen. “I’m sorry but I’ve looked everywhere and I can’t find the parking ticket,” my mother tells me. I look down, shaking my head. As I look up I say to her “When did I become the parent and you the child?” As we both laugh at that, I start patting down my mother like I would  perpetrator, checking her pockets and such for this ticket before moving to her purse. Her pockets are gross, full of clean and used Kleenex. I mean like BOXES of them crammed into her pockets! But no ticket. Yep gone. Somewhere in the universe. “Oh well, it only cost $16.00 in the end,” I concede.

As we left the hospital I thank her for taking me tonight. I tell her I am still angry about her being late, but appreciate her doing this for me. But we both laugh as I tell this story to my brother when he is over visiting. I tell him about how I was chasing our mother around the hospital instead of preparing for my test. “She turned off her cell phone and didn’t have her hearing aids on. And then to top it all off, she lost the parking ticket!” It may have been over a month ago since this happened, but I’m not letting her live it down. At least not yet….

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