Thursday, September 13, 2012

Three Down

Fuck the saran wrap, fuck the gauze and the tape and the wild machinations just to shower. It’s so easy for a hospital crew to tell you not to shower for eleven days, but real world, just not tenable. Thanks to Al Gore and that wonderful world wide web of internets, my research concludes that it’s important to keep the incision from this type of procedure dry for 48 hours, then one may feel free to remove bandages, and the “steristrips” placed by the surgeon {fancy looking tape} will come loose on their own over the next week, and then you’re all set, bravo! The dissolvable stitches {my nemeses} are subcutaneous and the surface of the incision is glued closed and can get wet and breathe fine, fresh air after said steristrips have fallen off.

I finally had my first radiation the other day and I’m finding the whole experience disorienting, depressing and dehumanizing, triple D, it’s easy to forget that these people are trying to help me. It feels from a Margaret Atwood novel, we get an ID card with barcode and scan ourselves in, then change into our assigned starchy johnny, I’m #33, I retrieve it and return it to a cubby on the wall and it’s washed {I’m told} once per week. My johnny is ill-fitting and drags on the ground, but after stowing my clothes in the cubby I emerge in the next waiting room where at least there are trashy magazines. On Mondays there will be blood drawn and on Tuesdays, I’ll meet with the doctor, and Monday through Friday, I’ll wait until they fetch me to go into the cold room and lie on the cold table. I’ll raise my right arm over my head and lay still while they adjust me and finally zap me a few times with a machine that is disturbingly low tech in appearance. It looks like an amateur inventor put it together in their basement or was ingeniously constructed from spare parts a la Dr. Who. On the first day they gave me two small samples of Aquafor to put on my skin along with a coupon for a dollar off a future purchase, thank you medical/pharmaceutical industrial complex. No one mentioned that there is actual radiation burn cream one can purchase on-line which may do a better job, this is why cancer patients need to stick together just like new moms, because there is so much the books and the professionals don’t/won’t tell us. The actual patients, I think, are so often an afterthought.

I’m feeling battered and bruised {literally}, my incision hurts and I’m surprised that the radiation area is already a little sore. Three down, thirty to go. I finally had to put my beloved messenger bag away, there were just no shoulders left to carry it on comfortably. Luckily I had a posh fuscia leather bag with a handle in my closet made by Holly Aiken in North Carolina, a fab internet find. But as I’ve mentioned her I must give a shout out to my favorite local messenger bag makers, Little Man Originals and Red Staggerwing Designs.

It’s a beautiful day today. I got into the studio, I finally got to the grocery store and little boy is happily ensconsed back at improv class. I hope more kids show up next week or there might not be an improv class to go to, and that would be worse than giving up my messenger bag.

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