I feel like I must be living in the future. First, I am radioactive. I don’t actually glow, but I am in this isolation room and people are afraid of me. Radioactive iodine comes in different forms but I got it in capsule form. Actually, they gave me so much it was divided between two capsules. The resident walked in around 1:30, and he had this small drum on wheels with a long handle. Inside was a small pills bottle with two capsules. He explained various things to me, told me not to drop the pill on the floor about 10 times. I took them. Well, I took one. I thought of a question and started asking it. He interrupted me and told me to take the second pill. Then he took a reading of my radiation levels and basically ran out of the room And the isolation began. If the staff gives me something, they leave it on a table outside my room and if I open the door, everyone stands at least 10 feet away. By Friday I should be safe to reenter society, but for now I’m effectively in jail, or weaponized. Or a little of both.
But that’s not all. This room is pretty nice compared to my digs at Montreal General. it’s recently renovated and in classic Jewish fashion there’s a plaque on the wall commemorating the person who made the donation (the irony here is that the mitzvah of charity is supposed to be anonymous and not self-aggrandizing, which is one of the Jewish values, along with the idea of the sabbath, that I have always thought was a great idea). Which isn’t to say it shines like a US hospital room, but the paint is new, the TV is decent (not HD but whatever), and the bed and chair are comfortable. Curiously for an isolation room, there is no shower, but there is a sink and a bathroom and the drinking water is nice and cold so I’m not complaining. I’m supposed to drink a ton of water.
Without a doubt, I overpacked for this trip. I’ve got too much reading, too much to watch and too much to eat. Kind of wasteful but also a good idea since I didn’t know how I’d feel. So far the side effects are mild–mildly dry mouth and eyes and I get a tiny tinge of nausea after I eat, but it could also be a) the thyrogen shots I had M and T in preparation for my radioactive iodine infusion or b) all the pills I have to take with food right now, each of which warns about upsetting my stomach. I’m like an old person all of a sudden. Anyway, they say the worst feelings are in the first couple hours after they give you the pills, but until I’m out of here Friday, I’m not assuming i’m out of the woods.
I have teched up the room to an extent that I’m pretty sure there’s more computing power in here than a lunar mission. I’ve got my laptop, which I turned on before I went radioactive, and which I am controlling with an old keyboard and mouse from Carrie’s old imac. when I’m done, they will go into isolation for 3 weeks after which any residual contamination will have dissipated. My internet connection is via bluetooth through my iphone, which I have suited up in a latex glove. Oh, and I brought my broken PSP (used a lot to pass time on transoceanic flights, but the analog stick is broken when means that when I play Madden, I can’t kick) in case I got even more bored.
So, to sum it up, I am writing to you while radioactive from a room nobody can enter, via a radiation covered keyboard that will spend 3 weeks in isolation, a computer I can’t touch for the next 39 hours or so, and a latex-covered iPhone. This is the future, but it’s more a Battlestar Galactica than Star Trek.
During the next 24 hours, long descriptive emails will be especially appreciated. I’m also trying to catch up on the massive backlog, though I think it’s time to stop writing and watch a DVD. I still can’t really talk on the phone, alas. Tomorrow, assuming I continue to feel well, I read.