Wednesday, July 4, 2018

DAY 003 -- "I've Been In My Mind"

The treatment today went smoother, now that I get the drill. This time, as the machinery circled ‘round me, I felt like a panorama of myself.

The trio of attending young women nurse-techies in the radiation room (henceforth known as my Radionettes) are the glowing cat’s pajamas outstanding in my field: professional, intensely focused on my every move, and each gifted with the kind of bedside manner not found in a book.

They’d learned of my musical bents yesterday, and with precision timing, today began piping my past through the intercom as we began. Neil Young. Perfect.

I’ve been in my mind,
 it’s such a fine line
that keeps me searching
 for a heart of gold.

And ‘round me it went.

Also today, a visit with the oncologist. He talks about my “new normal,” a catchphrase I immediately loathed and loved about my life now. Quite correct, Doc.  But, I never thought of my previous normal as normal, so I’m anxious to see where a “new normal” normal goes.

He meant, of course, how Rad Chemo (the name I’ve given my outlaw cancer) will change my day-to-day-to-nights from here on out. Rascal Rad’s a stickler for details, and now my life’s have-to-do’s have been upended, beginning with my schedule, now driven by my treatments.

All of my life’s anchors, along with its liberators, will now be dropped and/or let loose according to Rad’s whims.  Okay, Doc, but what about down the road? What’s the worst that could happen? (an old nursing habit. It’s always best to mentally rehearse everything that could happen on my shift, and what I’d do about it if it all went blooey.  Was I prepared?) 

I pressed him for a Plan B, even a C and D if/when Rad did go blooey, and he reluctantly went there, affirming that my worst case blooey was about as bad as I’d imagined. But, to his credit, after I’d insisted on discussing “likelihoods” and “probabilities”, he shifted his emphasis: “Let’s just focus on Plan A right now. The outcome of this course is not certain; everyone and every cancer is different, so staying positive and keeping just with Plan A for now might be best.”

He was quite right, though I didn’t tell him that I’d made over 300 skydives and had never thrown myself into the abyss without a Plan B (reserve chute). Tough to let go of that faith of leaps.

“Breakthrough” pain today, mostly mitigated with some self-prescribed CBD (cannabidiol). Get out ahead of that curve, always. Pain relief comes sooner and is more effective if you don’t wait until ten. Nursey, nursey, nursey. I’m trying to be a good patient and listen to my old songs. Today I’m a one, but I’ve been to ten.

One is better.

Lastly, a few quick points on my “new normal” (there’ll be a lot of these as we go.)

--- I now cheat at crosswords and do them in ink. Sure, I spend some time with the usual mad deducing, but screw it, life’s too short and when I’m boxed in I use the cheat sheets and move on. Acrosses and downs and I’m outa there. Next.

--- Two things I can’t do for a couple of days post-Rad:

1.  Pee standing up. I must now sit to avoid splattering irradiated whiz everywhere. I told them I didn’t think I was a splatterer in my pre-new normal life, but apparently if I’m a man, ignorance of the loo is no excuse, and it’s unavoidable.

2.  A delicate but important redirect: I must wear a condom, should the need (ahem) arise. Can’t risk lighting up the honey’s interior. When I was told this, I couldn’t help it, but I was struck with the voice of Jack Nicholson’s Randle McMurphy running through my head after he emerged from his Cuckoo’s Nest shock treatment:

“The next woman takes me on is gonna light up like a pinball machine and pay off in silver dollars.”

Best we leave it there for today; I’ve some domestic new normals to work out.

More as we go, El

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