The Waiting Room


Day 9 of radiation therapy has been completed.  I am getting the preparation thing down pretty good now. A little shaky off the start but I now know how long it will take to do everything required.

One thing of note has been the faces in the waiting room.  Nobody looks at each other.  Now there are two sets of treatments going on.  Those above the waist automatically change into a hospital gown.  Those below the waist just seat themselves down with a typically grim expression on their face.

They have run late a few times this week so I do understand the grim expression.  I almost released the hounds as I got up off the table yesterday as they were running about 1/2 hour behind.  I made a mental note that I might want to think about having additional clothing with me in the event an ‘accident’ does occur.

Faces are familiar to me now.  The drill is one we all do.  We sit hoping our name will be called next as the bladder begins to quietly send the message that the tank is full.  If your name is not called then you know it is going to be another 15-20 minutes before you can get in so at least another 1/2 hour before relief can come.

On Wednesday there was a mix up as I was having my weekly check-in with the doctor and coupled with the fact that they were running behind.  I waited over an hour and basically could not hold out and had to relieve myself then down another 12 Dixie cups full of ice-cold water to refill the damn thing.

Sucking back that much water is not particularly pleasant either.

I became a little ornery which I later apologized for.  What I realized is that we all have such grim faces because having a full bladder is downright uncomfortable.  No one wants to exchange pleasantries.  Hell, if I had even giggled the other day the flood gates would have surely opened.

And I know that would be incredibly embarrassing.

I have no doubt that my face is just as grim.  When I apologized for my rather ‘abrupt’ behaviour, Nadia smiled and told me it was okay.

“You were in obvious agony and we do know how uncomfortable that can be.”

They have puzzles set up at a few of the tables that are in the process of being done. I don’t believe I could concentrate on this at all.  A TV is set up so I usually just try to remain calm and watch whatever offerings are being transmitted.

I now know how to make a Chiffon Cake and that I don’t like Bethenney.  Who knew?

When I hear my name called I catapult out of the chair and trot on down to the treatment room.  Jacket and purse are tossed onto a chair and I slip my pants down.  I have a guy on my team now and trust me, I am not shy about dropping my drawers in front of him.

They hold a sheet up over that area but hell, everything is exposed and I’m not going to pretend otherwise.  The request is to lie heavy.  Then they jostle me around and line up the tattoo points with light markers in the machine.

There are also large screen monitors on the wall displaying my information.  All the mathematics to lining me up for treatment is up on the screens.  My hips are adjusted, sometimes my legs.  They can even adjust the platform I am lying on remotely if need be.

The beast of a machine is a muted shade of cornflower blue.  It has about four or five arms with various apparatus’ on them.  One of the arms moves over my head at the beginning so that I am staring directly at a metal plate with some number written on it and some switches.

There is a part of me that wants to reach up and play with it.  I wonder what would happen if I did…but trust me, I will never know the answer to this absurd question.

Music is piped in and this morning Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ made me want to move.  But I can’t.  For the duration of the treatment my arms are folded across my chest and I must remain as still as possible.  The only movement allowed is breath.

When the team leaves the room the foot thick door makes the sound of a truck backing up as it closes.  More adjustments are made then the green lights off to the side blink then change to red.  A buzzing sound begins as the machine begins its first revolution.  On one of the big arms there is a dash of red then some scratches across the otherwise smooth surface.

I wonder what happened to cause this and several scenarios dance through the grey matter.

‘BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ’

For a 50 to 60 seconds this continues then a big flat arm comes to a halt above me.  The red light goes off and the green light comes on and the buzzing stops.

Billie Jean is not my lover…she’s just a girl who claims I am the one…and the kid is not my son!”  Michael wails into the room.

The green light flickers and the red light comes back on.  The buzzing resumes as the machine does another revolution in reverse.  I don’t feel a thing.

The machine completes its revolution then returns to its start position and the platform I’m laying on ascends from the mouth of the beast.  The team is back in.  The girls offer me a metal triangle to haul myself up.  Paul usually just gives me a hand and pulls me up.

My pants are pulled up and I take my little pink card, say ‘Thanks and have a great weekend’ then sprint to the bathroom.

Relief.

Just three more weeks to go.  I should ask about the scratches on the machine though and see if the explanation comes even close to the wild imaginings I’ve come up with.

Have a fabulous weekend.

Peace.

 

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