Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sir I am afraid you have cancer,,,(cont)

Now that the immediate problem of tumors is past, life goes on. I was sitting at home, trying to keep a weather eye on the love of my life and her oldest daughter. This pair of comedians used every opportunity to do cute things to the guy with a hole in his abdomen. I found out quickly that the bed was a trap, I could lay down, I just couldn't get up. For a quick reference on how this felt, bury four or five large fish hooks in your tummy and every time you think about moving, pull on the hooks. That would be close.

The recliner was the only place I could sit or lie back and still get my arms under me to push up. The recliner position sticks your toes up, the perfect position for painting the nails. For some reason clear only to those two, my toenails needed to be blue. I almost tore a stitch getting that stuff off. I took serious grief for the entertainment of that pair. I am still plotting my revenge.

After a while I got really bored, I thought I may as well try to go back to work. After all, I have to be somewhere, and doing rounds at good old Stump Water Nuclear Station isn't terribly strenuous. I figured by doing rounds I would allow someone a break and they could do something else.

I over looked a small thing, stairs. When I got to the plant and started to the control room, I was confronted by a thirty foot tall set of stairs. It didn't look too bad, until I got half way up, then I couldn't go any further, and there was no place to sit down. One of my friends, a lady from document services, came by, took one look and asked what was wrong. I told her, she proceeded to tell me just how freaking stupid I was. Well, I had figured that part out. She informed me about convalescent leave, and company policy on surgeries. After I struggled to a phone I called HR and got told again that I was an idiot, by now this was not news, and go home get a release from the doctor.

All right , already I got the point.

The sawbones wanted me to be fairly well healed before radiation therapy. Just in case I had to puke. Those of us in the industry are trained, literally from day one, about the effects of acute radiation poisoning. Not pretty. Now we are going to do it on purpose. I had a consultation with one of my Surgeons and asked how much dose I could expect. He told me in a calm voice about three thousand rad.

I almost fell out of my chair.

That’s seven and a half times the lethal dose for fifty percent of the population on average. He neglected to mention it would be in a carefully shaped beam. He also skimmed over the part where its spread out over several days so they don't cook you like a kitty in a microwave.

There's nothing like good communications, and that was nothing like it!

The folks at the Oncology Clinic were great, I was treated everyday by two of the prettiest, sweetest angels, I ever expect to meet. The girls would do things to lighten the mood by drawing things like flowers and fish on your skin while they were setting the laser aiming grid and tying your feet together to stabilize your position. I got my dose in twenty-four seconds per day. That was about one hundred forty two rad a day. All those things they tell you about radiation are true, it will make you sick, and tired, and give you a sunburn. Trust me its not something they made up.

The thoughtful darlings gave me a prescription for some really good drugs for the nausea. The little problem they overlooked is covered in the Physicians Desk Reference, side effects include everything except, giving you horns and a tail.

I'd rather puke.

A couple of months later I was at the local market, and caught a girl in scrubs eyeing me. That doesn't happen every day. She asked me if I remembered her, it was one of the angels from the clinic, she hugged me and told me I looked great.

That means I was still breathing, most folks that get the full bag of tricks, don't make it long. I guess anyone still moving under their own power is a reward to those girls.

I don't see how they do it.


HollyB said...

My Maternal G'mtr had radiation therapy @ M.D.Anderson back in the early '70's. I have nothing but praise for M.D.A. When her cancer was 1st diagnosed she was given a prognosis of 6-9 months. After the wizards @ M.D.A. worked their magic, we did in fact bury her...16 years later, after many fun and laughter filled years.
But I remember the "radiation sickness" she went through and she carried the "burn scars" with her the rest of her life. But she considered it a small price to pay for her life. Since the scars were on her face, it's a good thing she wasn't a vain woman. She just called it her "tan".

HollyB said...

Oh forgot to add, since it WAS the 70's...and I was in High School... I made her some "special" brownies to help with the nausea. She only got a small one, and she kept it down and later was able to eat and keep other things down, too.
Hey, it was for a good cause.
But I can see where it wouldn't be for everyone.

Ambulance Driver said...

>>I made her some "special" brownies to help with the nausea. She only got a small one, and she kept it down and later was able to eat and keep other things down, too.<<

Hash brownies: Betcha can't eat just one!

Rocky Mountain Medic said...

amazing story.

God bless you.