On Friday we had our 4th doctor appointment in 5 days. Recent news that Isaiah now has 6 compression fractures in his spine prompted an order for an MRI and a bone scan.
Initially, we were told we'd need to wait several weeks to get the MRI due to the anesthesiologists' slammed schedule. Wanting to have the test done as soon as possible, I asked if we could do it without putting Isaiah "out."
Our team agreed to let us try but made it clear that they didn't think a 5 year old could hold still for the nearly 2 hour scan. A slightly combative combination of extreme confidence in my son, my conviction that kids will rise to the challenge when they believe others believe they can, and my own competitive (pronounced: twisted) nature caused me to argue that Isaiah could, in fact, handle the MRI without sedation.
What I never could have imagined was how intensely loud the whole experience would be. I naively brought Steinbeck's The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights to read to Isaiah. The technician smiled politely, handed us ear plugs, and pointed to the "panic" button.
For the next hour and a half Isaiah remained perfectly calm and completely still through scan after scan (there were 7 in all, with just 5 or 6 second breaks) inside this tube with what literally sounded like a jack-hammer pounding away. And I mean jack-hammer: that incessant, deep, gets-inside-your-head-like-a-bad-dream-will-it-ever-stop? kind of pounding. It was insane.
Though my head was only a few feet from his we couldn't talk at all over the noise. All I could do was bend at the waist over the table, reach as far into the tube as I could in order to rest my hand on his head.
I could hardly believe what I was seeing. He just dealt with it: This little five-year-old with a sense of calm through this nearly-unbelievably intense experience that frankly left me speechless in admiration.
When we got Isaiah dressed again in his new Jedi Master robe (with light saber, of course) and exited the room a whole crew of nurses and technicians met him with comments of amazement and praise.
Thanks for indulging this father's pride. Isaiah has just maintained such a hopeful, trusting attitude throughout this fight. I asked him, "What were you doing the whole time during all that noise?" He replied, "Just thinking." "About what?" I wondered. "About Return of the Jedi" he said, "and about how God was helping me be strong."
It's getting tough. But I'm so proud of him.