Poems for the MRI

No matter how much time I do in the MRI I always go in a nervous wreck. My favorite writer and spirit guide David Rakoff (whose death nearly three years ago from a sarcoma secondary to radiation treatment for lymphoma in his 20’s has left the saddest and most fearful absence) gave some fantastic advice about surviving time in “the tube” in an interview well before I had regular dates with the scanner. I’ve taken it to heart. Keep your eyes closed, breathe, and recite your favorite poem to yourself.

As a new nurse let me remember that sending a patient for scans will become routine for me, but it will never be for them. Let me validate fears and take time for words of comfort and advice (eyes closed, someone is always watching out for you, it gets warm in there, it is very loud, think about what music you’d like to listen to, know you are safe).

David Rakoff recites his favorite poem “Letter to NY” by Elizabeth Bishop:

I recite mine “Birches” by Robert Frost (one exhausted take, please forgive):

Neil Gaiman recites “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll:

In my opinion, a memorized poem is one of the best things a person can have. Useful in any number of situations.