July 22, 2007 § 6 Comments
I take Frannie to camp. There’s some haggling involved. No matter what time she goes to bed, she wants to sleep more.
And then, there’s the stretching. So much stretching. What’s with thoes long legs.
Breakfast is easy. Cheerios. There’s watching the gerbils, if we remember. Feeding them, if we remember. I unload the dishwasher and pack lunch. We manage to leave the house with a minimum of four bags. I carry all of them. 1) a napsack 2) a lunchbox 3) a bag of garbage to deposit on the way to the car 4) my combo napsack, pocketbook, canvas tote.
We drive to camp. She blows me a kiss, and waves goodbye.
I drive home and I park the car. It’s 9a and I walk 2 miles to my 9:30a radiation appointment at the BIDMC. I walk because my day may be busy and walking 4 miles roundtrip guarantees modest exercise for the day.
Approaching the building I pick up speed. 9:28am. There’s a Dunkin Donuts in the lobby which I pass. I am never tempted to stop. My first week I got lost, now I know which hallway to walk down and find the elevator easily. I press B for radiation oncology. There is something telling about treamtments that are reserved for the bowels of a building.
I scan in with my “blue card”. They’re very efficient this way. A flawless organization at work; moving people in and out all day with hardly a wait. Most days I’ll bypass changing into a robe or jonny. I have mastered the art of slipping my shirt on and off in a matter of seconds. It’s faster, and the less time in hospital attire the better.
One technician was pregant. I asked her if she had concerns working in radiation. She looked at me like I was an alien or an idiot. “There’s no radiation here”. Clearly she has confidence in the targeted beams and I suspect reasonable health insurance should anything be amiss.
Once on the table I lose myself in my ipod. I listen to something classical or latin. The meditation tapes I tried early on were too meditiative. I prefer music that can mask the drone of the buzzing machine each time another dosage hits me.
Every other day is a bolus day. I call it a bollucks day. The bolus is wet towel wrapped in saran wrap, placed on my chest. It functions as a conductor bringing maximum radiation to the skin. Other days the radiation just penetrates through me. The goal is even and consistent cooking. On non-bolus days my chest is bare. I would not have posted that picture.
By the end of my second week, I’m tired and the treated area feels hot, like a sunburn. My walk home takes a little longer.
I’d like to forget the cancer, but at the moment, it’s in my face Monday through Friday. The weekends are filled with better things, like the Hillsborough Ballon Festival.