So, finally my doctor is convinced that I should take an MRI and see a spine specialist. Well wishing friends are relieved- good, at last the American Medical system is paying attention to their poor, suffering friend.
-But, do poke the MRI appointment desk, they advised.
With in an hour at 1:30 pm the phone rang. - Can you come at 3:30 pm today?
I was only half way through my lunch sandwich...my husband yelled- Take it.
Okay- I gulped.
-Did you have brain, heart, spine surgeries before?. - No.
-Are you claustrophobic?
-What do you mean?
-Well, your body will be put through a narrow tunnel- tube.
How narrow? But I gather all my strength and try to think of all the known faces that came out straight after an MRI. I take a deep breath and say - I think I'll be fine.
-Well then come, no jewelry, no make up.
I can deal with that.
So, after a million baby steps from the top of the roof parking lot, ( yes, everyone and their cousins are sick today probably, all are here in this hospital), through the green belt ( checking out sign post arrows), down to the basement, finally we arrive at the registration desk. My thigh nerves are really flaring angry now.
In a few minutes with perfect pronunciation I hear my name called - Anindita Basu! - by a cute looking nurse. I am impressed.
-No bobby pins, no jewelry, okay.
-Well...mmm I have this wedding bangle that I can not take off. See I was much younger, much slimmer thirty five years ago and I have never taken it off.
-Oh it's beautiful...why, sure. Look at the design, must be 22 k gold? - she calls a friend.
-Yes, but it is iron clad.
-What? Her eyes popped.
-Yes, it is very auspicious. The iron part is believed to protect my husband from evils. It is for his well being and I have never taken it off.
-How sweet. Does he have one for you
No, but I don't say that to her. I remember my feminist friend's remark- They are just iron shackles. In those days men could marry several wives and live under the same roof with all of them, each wearing an iron wedding bangle for His Highness. Damn it. Chauvinist pigs! Why would a modern wife wear it? I don't.
But I don't see it like that. It is a sweet, auspicious, sentimental symbol to me. - Can't I just wrap it with a cloth or something?
-Honey, It is a very strong magnet. Come see for yourself.
She is definitely much younger than me. But I liked her affectionate tone.
As I approach my wrist close to the tube - OH MY!!!
OUCH. I have never felt such a gigantic pull. The monster with its red lighted licking tongue looked at me - I WANT IT!
I understand. The nurse looked at me with all her tenderness. - See, Sweety, You don't want to get burnt. It will scald you. Go to a jewelry artist and take it off. Then come here. We'll wait for you.
I took an appointment four days later.- Will you be there then? I kind of got attached to her magnetic personality.
But she drew me away gently. No, my dear, but whoever be there will help you.
I came home and went to my studio. (see I call it studio- I AM the jewelry artist.) Easily with my flush cutter I could cut the gold part. But the iron part is tricky.
My engineer husband declared that there must be a split in the iron part too. His tool box arrived.
The blue veins in my wrist , delicate under my pale skin makes him nervous. But I am fearless. -Yank it out - I say. And with all his manly force he did.
I am free. What a sense of relief. Now I can take it off when I wish. I have gone through every security post to be ostracized, poked and touched in all private parts - yet I took it for granted for these thirty five years.
Now I am free. I believe I'll always be wearing the protective bangle for him - visible or not: and I trust that he has it too for me - visible or not; each couple who love each other must be wearing such protective bangles - visible or not.
Yet, I pick it up. How can I fix it so that I can wear it easily? The vines of hope design on the gold glisten with glee.