Meet Mr. Photon

by wjw on November 14, 2023

Today was my first day of radiation. (25 to go) The machine was very large, but it was in a cavernous room, and when the machine was in operation, the operators scurried away to a control room behind their lead or concrete shields.

The treatment room was called HOPE.

My job was twofold. First, I was to lie down while large, glossy white sub-machines moved around me, like clumsy, slow-moving satellites bumbling around their primary. To make it even more science fiction-y, they were firing x-rays at me as they moved. Being penetrated by beams of highly energetic photons was painless and just a little boring. The whole thing took about 15 minutes.

This, I thought, is how I’d always imagined being abducted by aliens, lying motionless while enigmatic machines floated around me and filled me with rays.

But I mentioned I had a twofold job, right? My other job was not to pee.

They wanted me to have a full bladder, because a heavy bladder sort of anchors other nearby organs and enhances accuracy on the part of the photons. To this end, I slammed down 24 ounces of water on my way to treatment.

But it turns out the machines were backed up, and I spent over an hour in the waiting room trying not to pee. Then I went into the treatment room and tried not to pee while being orbited by elements of a linear accelerator. Then I tried not to pee while I grabbed my stuff and dashed to the nearest toilet.

Reader, it was the longest pee of my life. It seemed to go on for days.

25 to go.

John Appel November 16, 2023 at 2:30 pm

Hoping that suppressing the urge to pee is the hardest part of this process for you. Continued best wishes!

Alex King November 29, 2023 at 12:24 am

It could have been worse. It just shows you have the Right Stuff.

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