Wednesday, April 23, 2014
The First Day
Today was Phil's first day of radiation for early-stage prostate cancer. We overslept. We didn't get up until 5:45, which meant we weren't in the car until 6:10. We didn't realize that rush hour would already be well underway at that hour, and we had 24 miles to go to make a 7 AM appointment at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
It was a beautiful spring morning. The daffodils were gone except for withered brownish blossoms, but the red buds and self-seeded Bradford pears were lovely. A quarter moon sat low in the sky. Traffic slowed, traffic sped up, drivers switched lanes unexpectedly. Still, Phil managed to squeeze into a narrow space near the "Radiation Oncology Patients' Entrance" at 5 to 7.
Phil's machine, "Synergy", was ready for him. He is the first patient of the day for this machine, which is one of several. All the machines have upbeat names. I sat in the waiting area with other patients and family members, in full view of the radiation room. Four heavy sliding doors seal the room while the patient is on the table. A sign by the door reads "Beam On." A Korean lady with two high-school or college-age kids chatted while her son and daughter focused on their iPhones. Her husband must return to the hospital each afternoon for the second phase of his treatment, which has to be scheduled six hours after phase one. They go home during the interval, but this can't leave them much time for anything else but being treated for a life-threatening illness. Also saw a cheerful man with half his face gone. And I heard laughter in the hall. People are remarkable.
We stopped at Lexington Market on the way home for bacon, eggs, and toast from a stand run by a perky Korean lady with broken English. We ate standing up at a table and watched a quartet of deaf people having a loud argument in sign language. We were home by 9:15. Thirty-nine days to go.