Tuesday, May 6, 2014
I put my palm in the reader (something new in i.d.ing people), give my birthdate, and my picture comes up on a screen. Right patient. They realize it's my birthday, and wishes are made, and asking if I have any big plans. I explain that the big plans will go down after treatments have ended. I climb on the table.
My butt scrunched up against the plastic pillar, covered with a sheet, a bolster under my knees,
my right arm extended overhead, holding onto a post behind my head, and my left hand at my side, tied in with a sheet to cover some support, but not enough, and sometimes my arms trembles, trying to stay in that very same position, which is what is necessary for the radiation to work correctly.
The big round saucer comes down above me, my head tilted away from my right side, which is the affected side. It whirrs, and from the corner of my eye I can see things lining up inside, making decisions and designs. Never sure when I am getting zapped. Many moving parts. Some things look down at you, some close up at your side, like a table closing in. Zapping now? You never really know. Sometimes the thing I'm laying on starts to jerk, a little, and a little more. I always feel for sure the zappings happening then.
I watch each shift of machinery, anticipating correctly what is coming next. Then every other day they come in mid-way, with a yellow gel-pack that they strongly secure to my radiated parts. It's supposed to pull the radiation closer to the skin. It extends the treatment for another two minutes, but then the tech's come in, and untie my hand, and I can let go of that rod that has my arm frozen in position, and takes a while to thaw. The tape securing the gel pack are torn off quickly, and I am free. The techs.. nice men and women whose names elude me, as I'm bad at that, but I sure do like them. "Another day down" the one of them always says. Yup, another day down.
Afterwards, in the changing room, I compare the both sides of my chest, and see how dark and red it's becoming on the right side... skin just breaking under the arm, too. So close to the end of treatments, but this is the skin at it's most sensitive.