I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth.-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Mona's Musings

September 9th, 2011

On the Brink: Random Thoughts from Radiology

“For always in love there is an immense and impossible decision to make, and there can be no real rest until it is made. It is like the pilot being faced with the decision to try to make a dead-stick landing of a jumbo jet in a cornfield. Love cannot circle around forever; it demands resoluteness, wholehearted commitment. Never satisfied with just a little bit of a person’s heart, love wants the whole thing, and is forever pushing toward the brink.” Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage


A recent series of medical tests plants me inside a radiology office. “Revealing my inner self, I think idly, twirling on a stool in the darkened room. Not much different than showering — or blogging really. Silly thinking and spinning does little to alleviate my anxiety.

She finally returns: the technician-who-talks-too -much. Please nice lady…I know I must look tense, but you won’t make it better by chatting  – I just want to get out of here!

Away she blows: the weather, the insurance, the front office, what’s for lunch, we are so behind today and sorry for the wait and would you please take off your wedding ring?

Un-huh. Un-huh. Wait – WHAT?

Your wedding ring. Take it off. We’re going to x-ray your hands.


Luckily, my fingers are not swollen just now – the way they have been – and it slips right off. I put it in my purse. I love that ring. It’s my fifth I think. I lost the first one after only a year. Insurance replaced it – but the imposter disappeared a few years after that. I went around with a bare finger for a long time until my Honey went out on a limb and a credit card for an entirely new model, but that one also vamoosed sometime later. It gets a little fuzzy at that point – there was another version somewhere in there – but I do remember the one before this one. The shiny band had shrunk in London (cheese and cream) and was riding in my handbag until the next visit to a  jewelers. Bad idea. The bloke who stole my worthless purse probably never knew he threw a diamond ring in the trash. I balled so hard, I broke blood vessels.

Months later (and 34 years since we met), I spied my future (and final) wedding ring near a Munich ‘launderette’. Riveted, I could tell — even through the smudged window of a pawn shop — that it was exactly right for my unusually small finger: size 4.  And the design thrilled me — everything about it was perfect, especially the price… even so, it was probably the most expensive souvenir we bought in Europe and will always be my most treasured one.


I stare at my left hand, which has been positioned on the glass plate, ready for zapping by the x-ray machine. The knuckles are red and swollen; blue veins pop out between age spots; and my thumb will not extend – only the beginning of  deformities I might acquire. Just looking at it makes me cry and I hope the technician doesn’t notice. What will happen to me? What will happen to us? Will Dale still love me when I’m old and crippled?

Okay! comes the voice from the booth. Right, please.

This one feels and looks just as bad, all splayed out. The machine hums and clicks and round two is over. I realize the talkie-technician never did see my tears, or pretended not to. Relief. How would I have explained that my heart hurts more than my hands?

Please wait in this chair until the doctor okays the pictures.


I sit with my hands in my lap. Tucking thumbs inside balled up palms helps. If Dale were here, he would hold me. The memory of the night before, when the warmth of his large left hand made my small right one feel so much better, gives me a surge of pleasure.

My ring!

Fumbling painfully with the clasp of my purse and the zipper pocket inside, I blindly sort pennies from paperclips. Wincing with every pinch, I finally draw out the band and put it back on my ring finger, swearing never to take it for granted, never to take it off. No matter what happens, no matter how my thumbs may twist or throb,  swell or knob, ‘les misérables’…this ring, and the priceless man who gave it to me, will not disappear and cannot be replaced.

The technician comes back. You can go, she says.

I hobble on creaky feet out the door and to the car. Waiting for a green light, I realize my ring can spin at the base of my finger. Ahhh. Still no swelling. Can’t wait to tell Dale.

Who knew the day would turn out romantic?

Hint of Romance

The trick to moving toward the brink is to hold on tight — to each other.

What did you think of this musing?

Join the discussion!


  1. Sharon says:

    Dear Mona, Your thoughts are sweet and as beautiful as ever. I would not wish this problem on anyone, especially not you. I know all too well the routine and what’s ahead for you. Take heart, we have but mortal bodies, which sometimes complain very loudly. Having your dear husband by your side, you will triumph these times together. I love you. Sharon

  2. Bri Z. says:

    Sometimes the view is startlingly amazing when you’re standing on the brink, isn’t it? Terrifying, but amazing all at once. It is good you have someone to hold your hands while you stand at the edge and muse; someone who will never not cherish YOUR hands, no matter the years and pain evident in them. It was the first thing he noticed about you, wasn’t it? ;)

  3. sue simper says:

    Your hands will never stop creating and blessing the lives of others – they are a direct extension of your heart! On the tough and painful days, we’ll come to your rescue – and burn popcorn in your house or track mud all over the carpet. Then you’ll feel so much better….and we’ll all give you such tight hugs you can’t breath before we go home. Will that help? We love you so much, Mona!

  4. Valerie says:

    I love how you see romance in everything, even hard things that don’t seem to relate to love. But really, when you have true love, everything comes back to that. I’m sorry for the pain you are going through.

    I gotta say—5 rings?! Wow. I only had one the almost 18 years I was married. I have it saved in a box in case one of my children want it someday even though they say they don’t right now. It’s just a cheap band so not worth anything, but it is a part of their history.

    • mona says:

      I know I know — don’t rub it in! I can’t even remember WHY I lost them! As I told my daughter who was recently married – it’s the symbolism, not the size, of a diamond, that matters – and each of those rings packed a lot of symbolism. THANK YOU for kind comment about everything coming back to love.

  5. One of the things I love about you is your ability to see beauty. I’m amazed you can find romance in this experience. Thank you for sharing.

    I’m learning something about age and my relationship with my husband I could never have imagined when I was young. Let me tell you a little experience that happened a year or two ago. It’s just small, yet so big. I woke-up one Saturday morning to my husband sitting in bed facing me, holding my hand, stroking it gently. Was that admiration I saw in his eyes? He noticed me looking at him and said, “You’re hands are still so beautiful.” Not more than a day before I was looking at how the pores stand out more, how the skin is looser, more veiny. Since this moment, which ranks high on my romantic moments list, he tells me how much he loves my wrinkles around my eyes. He’s said it enough I know he means it. As my age grows, so does my relationship and our ability to see beauty in imperfections. Through our imperfections (and I have many more than these physical traits) we are learning to love more perfectly. Ironic really although it seems very eternal, this concept.

    I hope you’re hands don’t cause you too much pain. Physically or emotionally.

  6. Lois Brown says:

    I’m so sorry for what you are having to experience right now…but it truly is amazing that you could find the romance in a traumatic experience. But that is you….always seeing the positive and blessings in hard situations!! you are in my prayers!!

  7. Sarah E. says:

    What a terrible thing to do, stealing your purse! Crazy bloke!

    Still, even if there were 500 rings purchased, what a beautiful reaffirmation! Thirty-four years back up every one of those rings so that even the mere thought of your sweetheart can bring comfort to you in a vulnerable moment. Profound!

    I love discovering my husband, through challenges, again and again. A new angle makes him SUBLIME to me.

  8. I am a hopeless romantic and I justed loved this post. It reminded me of when I lost my wedding ring while camping. I took it off to put sunscreen on my kids. I put it in my pocket and it fell out. My family and I prayed that we would be able to find it. We all got down on the ground and searched all over for it. Even other campers nearby came to help. We couldn’t find it anywhere and had a feeling we should go in to town to see if there were any stores that sold metal detectors. It was a small little town with two stores and it just so happened that one of the stores had a metal detector, the last one left. We bought it, returned to the campsite and immediately found the ring. It had gloved some thick blades of grass, like it had gloved my finger and there was no way we could have found it without the detector. I was so grateful to God for guiding us that day and answering our prayers. I, too vowed never to remove my rings again. The best part is that we used the same detector years later to find my sister-in-laws wedding ring, that had fallen off her finger while sledding. It’s amazing how God is ever aware of our needs great or small. Thanks for the post! Your words are very inspirational. I hope everything goes well with your tests.

  9. Ellenor Abeln says:

    Hello Mona Darling: You are beautiful and every thing you write is inspirational and brings out the beauty in all you write. It is wonderful to have so much romance in your marrige. My late husband was very romantic and wonderful. I will never forget the time I got to spend with him.
    I love the way you write and it helps so many others. I am sure. Jusy keep writing.
    I pray that God will bless you always.
    Love you,
    Aunt Ellenor

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