That’s Entertainment???   10 comments

I don’t have much to talk about this morning in the way of books, comics, movies, or gaming, so I thought I might do something different and just talk about me.

Every weekday morning at 7:30 a.m. I have an appointment with a pretty nurse, sometimes more than one, who does intimate things to me while I just lie there and take it.  This happens because I have prostate cancer, and I get my treatment for it every week day morning at 7:30.  I’m just lucky to have pretty nurses.

Cancer is a scary word.  We all know people who have died from one form or another, and if you don’t, you’re probably real young–lucky you!  I’d like to be real young in today’s world.  However, cancer is not always fatal.  There are many different forms of cancer, and some of them have cures.  Sometimes the cure is surgery; sometimes it’s radiation; sometimes it’s chemotherapy.  For me, the cure will be radiation.  And I will be cured, and live happily ever after for at least ten years.

Cancer happens.  If you live long enough, it will happen to you, too.  You could look at it–if you’re old–as a mark of success.  If you hadn’t been so successful in living so long, you wouldn’t have gotten that cancer.  If you’re young, cancer is more of a tragedy because it may cut short your life.  But, if you ever get cancer, don’t let it get you down.  Modern medicine is pretty good.  The doctors can probably cure you.  They will cure me. (Heh!  Attitude is a lot–my attitude is that this cancer thing is a minor inconvenience and I will beat it.  No reason to think I won’t.)

Each morning session of radiation beam therapy is a form of entertainment for me now.  It has become a routine that I almost look forward to.  AT 7 a.m. I leave my house and drive myself to Good Samaritan Hospital at 10th Street and McDowell Road.  I park in an exclusive gated parking lot, and I hike through a long long corridor to the Oncology section of the hospital.  I avoid the main entrance and come down an elevator by the back way.  I check in at the tomography desk, and if all is going according to schedule, i soon find myself taking my shoes off, pulling down my pants, and reclining upon a very lightly padded bench–a sort of movable table.  My slacks are down at the bottom of my buttocks, and my underwar is pushed down until the base of my penis is exposed.  (not the whole thing–just the base–modesty is minimally preserved).  A large strong rubber band clips my feet together while a broad strap goes around my upper torso and helps support my arms.  I link my fingers and try to relax.  They have done something nice with the ceiling.  As I lie there looking up I see beautiful leafty tree branches and clear blue sky above my head.  It’s peaceful and serene, and only slightly marred by the fact that the center panel is missing and I can see a light fixture aiming a ruby targeting laser down at my body.  Alas, the sky has a hole in it!  (you know, we Americans don’t really do enough with ceiling decoration)

I have two main nures, Alicia and Maria.  Both are young and attractive–at least compared to me.  There is also Cassandra–neither young nor attractive, but good at what she does.  Way back at the beginning of July, the doctor and his nurse assistants first laid me on this bench and tattooed me.  I have small red circles now on hips and abdomen that help them line me up on the table every day.  The radiation beam, althrough invisible, must be precisely directed at areas inside my prostate gland.  They achieve this, not by having an aimable beam, but by putting the body exactly where it has to be for the beam to do its work.  This requires precision–a few millimeters off is a wasted treatment.  My nurses push and pull and move me around like a dummy until they’re satisfied.  My job is to remain absolutely motionless–not an easy job for me because I am prey to random itches and stabs of pain all over my body.  But, if I get a twinge, I can’t move to rub it.  That’s agony for me.  And the bench I lie on isn’t all that comfortable either.  It’s hard as a board and parts of my body ache on contact with it.

When I am properly positioned, the whole bench moves and inserts most of my body into the tomography machine–don’t know what else to call it.  The machine itself is a huge, free-standing, dull beige lump of metal with a couple of small computer screens on the front.  It is hollowed out in the center so that a body can be positioned inside it.  The bench is on a moveable track so that it can slide in and out of the machine to any desired degree.  This is the first of two journeys into the machine.  On the first journey they do a C.A.T-scan of my prostate.  After looking inside me briefly, they figure out how much more I need to be moved for the treatment I’m getting that morning.  Then they haul me back out of the machine, come back and readjust my positioning on the slab, and when everything is perfect they put me back inside the tomographic unit and fire up the radiation gun.

During this whole procedure I am lying there like a dead man, or at least trying to be like a dead man.  My hands are folded on my chest with knuckles interlinked to hold them together, my eyes are closed, my breathing is shallow.  There is usually a CD playing in the background–it has a medley of old rock and roll from the sixties.  It’s kind of pleasant.  I guess you could say that’s the entertainment part of the morning procedure.  When my altitude has been perfectly adjusted–that’s what the scan does–it tells them how much my body needs to be raised, lowered, or inclined–they gun the motor and put me back inside.

Then follows about 5 minutes of the actual treatment.  While I am lying there with my eyes shut, pretending I’m in deep sleep, or I am the dead knight on the slab, the machine works its magic.  I haven’t mentioned it yet, but this is the noisiest room in the hospital.  The C.A.T. unit makes a horrendous din, even when it isn’t doing anything–something like the sound of gigantic refrigeration units pounding away inside the metal.  When the radiation is being administered, it also makes a sound like a cranking solenoid in a car.  Rarr, rarr, rarr, rarr.  It sounds like rocks grinding together more than anything else. 

This part lasts about five minutes, and is really the best part of the procedure.  This is the part where I can imagine the magic machine is actually reaching inside my body, sorting out the bad cancer cells from the good healthy ones, and getting rid of the bad ones.  At this time I sometimes drift in and out of consciousness.  I am never very deeply asleep, but for moments I am less aware of the discomfort.  It’s kind of like hurting, but not caring. 

And then it’s over for another day.  They release me.  I pull up my pants, put on my shoes, always say thank you to my attendants, and speedily depart.  On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I come back home and have breakfast.  I don’t have to be to work until 10 a.m.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays I’m due at the library at 8 a.m.  I’m about half an hour late on those days.  I usually go by Whataburger and get some breakfast on the way.  Whataburger’s biscuits and muffins and burritos are about the same you’d get at any other fast food place, but they have the best orange juice in the city.

And that’s my morning entertainment every week day–a mixture of routine, pain, music, and hope.  I consider myself fortunate to have this particular adventure in medicine.  Every morning when I go in, I see the other cancer patients getting their daily treatment.  All of them seem to be suffering more than I am.  One man comes every day in a wheelchair–he is such a frail-looking old guy.  Another woman looks like she is in actual agony when I see her come out of the tomography room or into the dressing room.  Yes, I’m glad that my ordeal is nowhere near the most difficult being faced by people in this room every day.

Now that I think about it, the whole procedure is very sci-fi in nature.  Lasers, internal body scanners, healing rays–if that isn’t science fiction, I don’t know what is.  The tree branches and sky on the ceiling are very nice.  I kind of wish they’d go a bit more Hollywood with it all.  Why is my doctor machine a dull beige monster?  Why can’t it be sexy black or gleaming green panels?  Why is the radiation beam invisible?  For a few extra bucks, they could have rigged the inside of the machine to sizzle and crackle and make it look like lightning is dancing around your body.  Think of the psychological benefit such theatrics could have!  A person would really feel that the cancer is being zapped in such a machine.  Perhaps I should tell the doctor next week about this dream.  The application of just a little more imagination on their part could really jazz up this treatment.

Today I”m not working, so I’m following my session on the rack with the pleasures of blogging and doing my laundry.  When I finish this, I will give Trollhalla members their trollish victory points, and then send Tosatt Earp the notebook he purchased from me,  Yay.  A trip to the post office.  🙂


Posted August 21, 2009 by atroll in Uncategorized

10 responses to “That’s Entertainment???

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  1. Wow! What an awesome take on what I otherwise had imagined to be a terribly frightening day-to-day survival ordeal. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Egad. It’s a bit of a shock to learn your Troll God might be mortal…

    A friend of mine recently made a full recovery. If the good will of others counts for anything at all in these matters, you will make a fast recovery too. There are plenty of people out there that think you are just the Bee Knees Ken!

  3. Good luck to you, Ken. The “C” word is frightening and I wish you a speedy recovery!

    Harry E

  4. wow…Ken, this is encouraging me to make sure I am timely in my own prostrate examination, which I am dreading even though it is still two years away. I need to get up now, the chair feels rather uncomfortable…

  5. I wish you the best of all possible outcomes, Ken. This was well said and sounds just like you at your best. It is a real pain to get old but the alternative is worse. Good luck!

  6. Not a week goes by without my being thankful for you and your work. My heart goes out to Mrs Trollgod and your children who are most likely finding this time more difficult than you.

    I also wish you a speedy recovery!

  7. Big, big hugs, Ken.

    I pour intense supplication into your rolling boxcars every time you need ’em!

  8. Nowhere near the ordeal you’re going through, but you remind me I need to make my annual trip to remove precancerous lesions from my face and arms.

  9. I really wish I could have that kind of attitude if it would happen to me. You just cheered me up, and I’m not the one that’s ill! Well done, Ken! And thanks! //korrraq

  10. Science fiction, yeah. I just noticed one of the related posts: Robot beetle roams around inside your body to seek and destroy cancer. Medicine just keeps getting more and more like science fiction every day!

    All the best on your recovery, Ken! I admire your positive attitude!

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