Thursday, January 12, 2006

No Laptop

We spent almost 5 hours today at the Nuclear Meds Department of WHC today for 70 minutes worth of scans. I took my husband with me just in case there were any more melt-down situations. Within a few minutes of our arrival he started to understand the general feeling of the place. I simply can’t figure out why you spend so much time just doing nothing, just waiting for whatever is supposed to happen next. In the span of those 5 hours, no one ever asked to see my ID – to see if indeed I was who I was supposed to be. Even though there were signs posted in every room to the effect of “Check 2 IDs just to be sure” – guess they have had just a few cases of mistaken identity.

At least the level of competence, if not the pace, picked up a little bit. Pat, a tech with very red, very teased hair, seemed like she had operated the WW II vintage equipment numerous times before my turn. Dr. Acio, the VERY short doctor we saw for 10 minutes at the end, was polite and seemed to know his stuff.

Meditation had prepared me well for the 3 scans – 30-minute full-body scan, 20-minute throat scan, and 20-minute chest scan. In each case, the only admonishment was DON’T MOVE. I took that to mean DON’T EVEN SWALLOW. The only way I could do this with a machine 2 inches from my face was to close my eyes and breathe and count and breathe again. I kept telling myself that it was so similar in length to the meditation I normally practice. I made it a point not to look up before the thing came over my face, but rather to just keep my eyes closed until someone said I was done.

I finally had to ask the inevitable question that has been plaguing me all along – whether I could bring my laptop into THE ROOM tomorrow. The unequivocal answer was NO. In fact, I can’t take anything in that I need for a month afterwards, except perhaps my glasses. Everything else will have to be measured for radioactivity and bagged for storage to exhaust the half-life of the radiation before I can bring it home. I suppose I had always suspected that this might be the case, but it’s still very disappointing. I was so hoping to write a lot on my computer, even though I knew there wouldn’t be a web hookup. So instead I guess I’ll opt for a pad of paper and just hope the pad passes the radiation police upon my departure.

I had also been worrying about whether I would be locked in the room. Apparently not, but I will be told not to come out. I wonder what would happen if I suddenly flipped out and started running down the hall exuding radiation everywhere? Don’t think I’ll try it.

Dr. Acio went over the home precautions – paper plates, flush twice, no exchange of bodily fluids, distance, distance, distance. I’ve got the drill down and the fun hasn’t even begun. Even if I can’t write it down, my memory is going to glow about this experience for some time to come. That I’m sure of...

So tomorrow (Friday the 13th) at 11 AM I’m off the air until my glowing body is released to go home hopefully on Saturday. Meanwhile I will have sucked a piece of lemon candy every 90 minutes around the clock, taken 4 showers, and drunk enough water to float a battleship as I flush this stuff out of my system.

5 Comments:

Blogger Kristin said...

Thinking and praying about you. For the record, I find 13 a very lucky number.

8:31 PM  
Blogger chicgirl said...

Barbara,
I am not sure how I found your blog but have been reading it for about a week. I have a friend, a guy, who I love. He had this and it was so hard for him last year. Your blog has made me so much more aware of what thyroid cancer patients go through. So thank you. He is soooo healthy now and, one year later, back to normal and happy. The thyroid medication makes you like new once you are done with this. So remember that (and this was his second bout of cancer - he had another kind before the thyroid). I am going to pray it is easier than you think it will be. Can you read? I hope the time goes fast and remember we are all eager to hear how you are doing next week and thinking of you. Best of luck!

10:24 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- My mother always considered 13 a lucky number. Hope she was right!

Chicgirl -- It's always interesting to discover I have a new reader whom I don't really know. Your story is so encouraging. What I learned today is that I can take whatever I want in, but bringing it out is the problem. That's why no laptop. I can take paperback books and leave them behind. I can take my Ipod as long as I leave it in a plastic bag while I touch it. Weird, huh? It adds a whole new dimension to packing my suitcase tonight, or should I say packing my disposable brown paper bag!

10:31 PM  
Blogger playfulinnc said...

Thinking of you today!

10:08 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I'm off in about 10 minutes. I have asked my husband to be a "guest blogger" on my site today to post an update which I can hopefully give him over the phone. I'm a little anxious but I'm just trying to look at this as an adventure, somewhat like an initiation rite, after which I will be stronger in my belief in myself. All thoughts appreciated!

10:17 AM  

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