Monday, June 22, 2020

Third Time's a Charm! Last update: 25 June 2020

Well, this round is in a new location, with a different machine, and different challenges in the full-blown midst of a pandemic, regardless of the opinions of inept knuckle-draggers.
The technicians are doing their best to keep things upbeat, the clinic is providing free valet parking, and the valets are dressed better than I am, providing a layer of guilt for such an unattended-to vehicle for them to put out of sight for the 10 minutes each session takes, from entry to discharge.

The first stop is for a hospital employee to ask a series of CoVid questions, and the interviewer may be from nursing, radiation, or even finance.  Volunteer-created masks are generally available, and once the path to the radiation department was tracked, we generally opted for the stairway for the sake of speed and lessened viral exposure.  Hand sanitizers are placed at 20 foot intervals.

The entryway is festooned with donated art - and even a player grand piano - to soothe and calm the patients undergoing more rigorous experiences than I never hope to see on my electronic medical record.

Stained glass by Mathias Alten, from his Grand Rapids home.  He was reportedly one of my great grandfather's friends, "back in the day"

My new best friend and a new mask to scare the kiddies with, come this Halloween --- 

These treatments have been condensed from 14 to 12, with the same total number of Gray units.  The two fewer visits in morning traffic along another challenging Michigan highway is a welcome adjustment.
Two spurts of radiation with each visit, aligned to predetermined marks, including a black dot tattooed upon the lower sternum (which can be used as a guide for The Stake should the radiation create a vampiric mutation).  Alas, no whiff of ozone, no sensation of scorched bacon. 


Session 8 completed, 4 more to go.  At this point, there is some sense of laryngeal swelling by mid-afternoon.  Swallowing is still possible, but anything moving down the esophagus needs to be well chewed.  Mashed potatoes and pudding are very, very attractive dietary options.  Fortunately, the early CoVid stockpiling of catastrophic foodstuffs assured the presence of those particular essentials.

It should also be noted that now, three months after the end of the previous radiation treatment for the MALT in the right eye, that particular eyebrow has almost returned to its earlier configuration without the need for greasepaint.

Some redness is beginning to appear along the neckline at this stage as well.  Eucerin at hand!

Session 11 completed, 1 more to go.  Now the redness has a shade of purple emerging, indicating a heightened level of burn, but still without external pain or itching.  From a local vegetarian restaurant comes a T-loaf (tofu-based), nice and soft and crumbly, and a baked sweet potato, just begging to be lubricated with some freshly churned butter (ok, freshly refrigerated).  The rest of the refrigerator is well stocked with pudding and apple sauce, and some nine ounces of viscous lidocaine is nearby, if necessary.  There are rumors that the deep freeze contains sherbet!   Swallowing has become somewhat difficult, as predicted.  This and the evidence of external burns are expected to worsen for at least two weeks following the final treatment.

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