From the miscellaneous drawer

by Anne Swenson

Life is an adventure. In my latest hospital stay in Duluth an MRI was ordered. I had never before experienced this marvel of modern medicine.
Son Nick warned me that it is not for the claustrophobic since it is done in a narrow tunnel, close by one’s head.
I resolved to keep my eyes closed for the event.
His next caution was about the noise level as the test is done. Another self-resolve was made to keep myself distracted from the sounds.
The technician was very good at explaining the procedure, but I was glad Nick had prepared me for the process.
The plan I followed was the same one I use for going to sleep, although sleep was not an option during the loud noises.
I started with Dylan Thomas’ poem: “Do not go gentle into that good night,” which cautions that “Old age should burn and rave at close of day.”
I didn’t rave or rage in that metal tube, but continued on reciting silently next with Robert Frost’s “Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening.”
That poem reminds me of the woods along Van Vac Road in winter, and I find it comforting.
With more loud noises, I reached back in my memory of poetry for T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” although I do not know all 140 lines of it. However, the image of “The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,” is comforting. And truly, as Eliot states, “I grow old. I grow old...”
The loud noise continued and I was getting desperate.
I tossed aside “Now I lay me down to sleep,” as being too dreary and dirge-like.
I prodded my brain for what else lingered in memory from childhood? One I had recited to my own children surfaced: “’Twas the night before Christmas” became the saving grace, even if I couldn’t remember the names called out by Santa on the rooftop!
I survived and the noise stopped!
* * *
In the Ely Echo for October 8, 1979, 40 years ago, the headlines were:
• USFS officials study BWCA Management Program;
• Laurence Golobich retires after 21 years at the Hospital;
• Paul Smrekar files for council seat;
• Jackpine Bob outlines Peace Program in major address in Babbitt;
• Ely Council addresses charges of open meeting violation in court;
• $13.8 million BWCA appropriation heads to full Senate.