12.07.2012

a very big machine

I should have requested the metal template they made for me to direct the radiation.  They make one for each person; it has to be forged or something.  They make a jagged pattern in sharpie on your body, do a transfer onto graph paper, and then make the piece of metal.  I'm sure that I paid thousands of dollars for it; I guess it might be radioactive, though.  Or that they melt it down for the next person.

They give you little dot tattoos; I remember when I got mine, and joking with the tech that she would probably make a lot more money doing that for a living.  She agreed, but said she was better at science than drawing, but that the needles or whatever and ink were better quality than other gixmos for making tattoos (total lack of tattoo knowledge).

So the machine has a feature to project a big green target onto the sufferer, and the tattoos are to align everything before the med techs go into another room, very far away and behind foot thick walls of lead, and then turn the machine on.  It is one of those places a woman might work where you are on maternity leave the moment you conceive and get a day off if you're a little late.

They take xrays from different angles, and then zap through the metal template.  The machine moves around you.

Yes, I'm geeky; I read the documentation on the machine.  It was the brand new Aston Martin convertible of machines.  It was a pretty light green color.

A nice woman who gave me her more preferable appointment time when she finished said, why can't they make these tiny dots into hearts, smilies, or something?  I know a lot of women do that after the fact.

It doesn't hurt or anything, not just then.  Everyone's really nice, you get warmed-up blankets, they pipe in music over the intercom, tell you when you can breathe, when it is almost over. Because I was young, curious, not particularly afraid, and often commented on the music selections, they made me feel like I was getting a gold star every morning. "You're wearing lipstick and mascara!" I wore the flame doc martin mary janes my Dad gave me eons ago the first day.  Everyone thought that was hilarious.

They explained things, showed me their computer set up, acts which I find far more soothing than "calming music."  They stopped playing that calming music, and started playing actual, real, music for me.  They did get a little peeved at me for being bored and hopping on a computer to check my e-mail.  "You could be accessing other medical records!"  "But I'm not, and this connection is slow -- why? Call IT."

I suffer every single side effect from everything; I chalk it up to being a poet, rhetorically, in conversation, but this is not who I am.  This treatment temporarily harmed my lung below where the cancer had been.  I needed every single iota of good will I had built up from being cheerful when I went completely crazy.

***

I did request sound files from MRI and from the MRI companies themselves (very official, I can do that; redirected to another depaertment, hey), nada -- even though all the MRI machines are named things like "Symphony."  My friend Candy Campbell was able to send me the sounds from her MRIs.  She had a nice MRI tech.

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