(Stuck at) 16

Today’s post was supposed to be titled 15, marking the halfway point through external beam radiation (in terms of treatments, not days). But that’s not what happened.

I arrived 2 minutes late to my treatment, worried that I was holding things up. But upon arriving in the green room I found the family that’s always ahead of me, as well as another guy who has started hanging around after his treatment. It’s a full on social scene in there now. Anyway, it turns out that the x-ray machine which scans patients before we are zapped was broken. They gave us a 2pm estimate for the repair, and so we were shuttled back to the big sunny waiting room, which was an even bigger social scene. Hope & Cope was out in full force with a volunteer and there were also two clowns.

Yes, I said clowns.

They seemed keen to show me a magic trick, so standing there in my pigtails (I always “do my hair” in the waiting room while waiting, and hadn’t yet bothered to undo it), one of the clowns put a pen “through” a $5 bill, and then took it back out leaving no hole. I was satisfied, and they were too. File that under “psychedelic aspects of cancer treatment.”

So the ever-growing group of patients and I waited in Zone (aka, the sunny waiting room) for awhile. There was more talking with other patients. Wednesday is the day that I see my doctor, and so eventually I got in to see him. Since we had a little time (or he was in the mood to take the time, he had a medical student with him), after going over symptoms and asking for various drugs, I asked if I could know more about my treatment plan. That occasioned a trip into the “visualization room,” which I am delighted to say has nothing to do with “positive visualization” of any sort.

We sat down at a computer and he pulled up a CT scan of my head and neck and gave me a tour of the zone he was radiating. It’s from just above my clavicle to a little further below my jaw line than I had anticipated. In fact, he is deliberately trying to miss my salivary glands, which is perhaps why I can still taste stuff (except right after swilling the magic mouthwash, which has its own unique and unforgettable medicinal taste that stays and stays). He also explained that the treatment is entirely preventative, which I had surmised, but it was nice to have it confirmed.

After all that, I went back to the green room and inquired with one of the technicians, who said it would be at least two more hours before the machine was back online (this was well after 2pm; my daily appointment is for 12:30). Having been given my doctor’s blessing to take the day off and start up again tomorrow, I headed home. (I am sure I will have to make it up, which may alas push me into St Jean Baptiste weekend.) Tomorrow I am scheduled for a 7am treatment so I can make convocation. They assured me the x-ray would be fixed by then. I am disappointed not to change the number on my chalkboard, but I had to see my doctor either way, and it was nice to learn more about my treatment plan. And there will just be two day 16s on my sound art project.

I’d hoped to make a 4:30 keynote at the Canadian Communication Association today but alas, with transportation, a stop at the pharmacy, eating and showering, I wound up hopelessly late. At least there was the reception afterward. . . .