February 24, 2013
I am placed in a new single-bed room; my isolation from the rest of the public, even though not strictly, still continues. No mingling with others, especially pregnant women and babies/children, continuing to flush the toilet twice, using only disposable cutlery and plates. The garbage is collected carefully and placed in a special disposal bag. I did not ask about this this time; “its contents need to cool down a couple of weeks before it can be dumped” I was told last time.
Although this is my second time going thru this treatment, although I have been there before, I continue to feel like a disaster, something harmful, something unwanted… I have 12 more days to go like this. “Being extra cautious, that is all“. The radiation in my body should not be harmful to anyone else as long as I keep my distance. That is what they said. That is what they had said the first time, too.
But this does not mean it is not harmful to me. I wanna scream sometime… Nobody, not even nurses, approached me more than 4 meters in the first 48 hours. I had to take showers at least twice a day; flush twice, suck candies or chew gums to protect my salivary glands from the effects of radiation, drink gallons of water, and furiously apply lotion to my body and hands to circumvent dryness induced by extreme washing. On top of these, I had to calm myself saying that radiation was in fact good for me; it was going to kill the blooming cancer cells. It was my door to cure. This too would pass….Yet, not for even a moment, I could dis-acknowledge that my body, my normal cells, were also at risk.
I was given the radiation in a pill, which I dutifully swallowed. Once I took the pill, I was officially “hot”. The nuclear medicine expert, standing meters away, tried to joke by saying this I guess.
I did not like the nuclear medicine expert from the beginning on. A tall, confident man. Asked me where I was from. I wanted to snap back asking”why?” but answered anyhow. Whoa… It turned out our nations had battles sometime during the deep, long history and my nation was certainly not one their favourites!! Ok…. why did I need to be told this? I fumed inside. In a moment, I transformed from feeling incredibly vulnerable to feeling like a hard-rock impasse. I took my revenge when he asked me whether he could sit on my bed to start explaining the cons and pros of the treatment and when I said “sure, please sit; you are old.”
I broke a large victorious smile.
Oh, yeah; I love myself:)
He came with a young fellow, who never uttered a word during the half an hour pre-treatment consultation. I assumed he was a resident or a medical school student shadowing the expert. Before they leave, I wanted to tell him “we are vulnerable and anxious; we need comfort, assurance, and compassion from our medical teams. Please, whatever you do, please do not aggravate your patient.”
I did not say anything but I hugely regret this now; maybe this young fellow would contemplate on what I would say. Maybe it could help other patients.
The life in the diary – XII
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