“Good morning Ralph” — “Good morning Sam”

Today wraps up my first week of radiation which means I’m 20% done.

Friends and family have inquired throughout this week about my radiation treatments, and my slightly emotionless response is “It’s fine”. I can’t see or feel any side effects yet.  There’s not much to say other than I don’t enjoy it, but I can’t give any real concrete reason why.   I suppose it’s because I’m just weary.  I’ve been going through various forms of undressing, needles, doctors and technicians for 6 months now and it’s getting old.  I think what I told Saundra the other day summed it up best; “I’m tired of everyone seeing me naked.  I just want to leave my shirt on and stay home.”

The routine is the same.  I listen to my audio book while I drive the 35 minutes.  Walk into the building and sign my name to the clipboard.  Give a faint smile to the few that say good morning.  Change into my hospital gown.  Wait anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes for the technician to escort me to the room.  I confirm that the photo on the computer monitor is me.  I undress on the table.  I have 2 to 3 technicians in the room fussing over my body, tugging me slightly to get me lined up within millimeters of the laser beam grid.  They leave the room. The machine makes a faint audible sound yet there’s nothing that can be seen or felt.  The machine rotates.  The 5 minutes is up, everyone walks back in, I put on my gown, grab my purse from the side chair, say thank you and as I walk out they say “see you tomorrow”.

You know what it is like?  It’s like the cartoon with Sam the Sheepdog and Ralph the Wolf.  That daily scene which shows the mundane aspects of their lives, clocking in and out every day; “Good morning Ralph.”  “Good morning Sam.”

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With all of my indifference tainting this beautiful Friday and my small milestone, I do have to say that the staff is wonderful.  Their energy is friendly and optimistic and they carry a spirited demeanor that could easily be transferred to the deck of an elite cruise ship touring the Mediterranean.  Instead they are making the most of their surroundings; a nondescript building with white acoustic ceiling tiles that is filled with people that have/had every form of cancer, all in the middle of Rohnert Park, a town that nobody ever talks about with any sort of enthusiasm.

They play a varied assortment of lively music in the treatment room each day, partially for the patients, but I suspect mostly for their own entertainment and sanity.  Yesterday was especially good with a slightly louder than usual Latin number that momentarily transported me away from all of this nonsense.  Good nonsense, because it’s doing what it needs to be doing, but nonsense still the same.

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