East 8 welcomed me with warm smiles and open blood pressure cuffs. I was scheduled for my first round of TBI (Total Body Irradiation) at 9:30 am. I spent some time unpacking my bags and organizing my room. Its a pretty spacious room with a great view of the eastern foothills. The morning sun welcomes me with a bright cheery atmosphere. I much prefer its natural radiance to the synthetic glow of hospital lighting.
When the tech from radiation came for me it was time to put my nifty mask and breast plates to the test. It's quite a treck down to the north end of the first floor so they bring a wheel chair for me. I haven't used it much so far (just Friday when I had an extreme spell of nausea). I figure as long as I have the strength to walk around I could use the exercise.
In the radiation room I step onto an elevated platform while they secure my bracings, and hang thick medal plates specifically shaped to cover my lungs during the treatment. As they got me all situated and strapped into place they took a couple preliminary x-rays to confirm with the doctor that everything was set up correctly.
It was about this time that I noticed a big furry spider come crawling out of the air vent not more than about 2 feet in front of my face (for the first round of radiation I am facing backward - you can see the vent in the ceiling just behind me). To make matters worse I was told to remove my shirt for the procedure and felt quite exposed to my spotted litte friend. When the tech came in and let me know that we were about to start I told her, "That's fine but I'm not holding still if this spider crawls on my face." She came back with a hospital chart or something and swatted him against the wall. The hairy creature wasn't quite finished though and made an acrobatic decent, plummeting downword on a thin silky cable. She swatted again and that was the end of the him.
At first I was relieved, and verbally justified the murder of the likely harmless arachnid by saying something like, "If you think about it, we did him a favor and put him out of his misery. He was about to get nuked by radiation." We had a good chuckle about that. But then I realized my blunder. What if we hadn't killed the spider? It's likely he would have acquired mutant abilities from the radiation - thereupon biting me and transferring his mutant powers. I could have been the next Spiderman! A once in a lifetime opportunity lost to the irrational fear of a helpless invertebrate.
The first day of radiation was pretty long because of the many x-rays that were taken. However, after the initial visit, we settled into a pretty good routine: 10 minutes of TBI to my back, take a break from standing and lay down to administer the CNS (Central Nervous System) radiation, and then 10 more minutes of TBI to my front side.
CNS irradiation is administered with lazer precision to my brain. They told me that I may see blue lights and smell something similar to bleach. This is not due to any of the functions of the machinery, but rather how one's brain reacts to pulses of radiation. I have both seen the blue lights and smelled the strage metallic smell - neither of which actually exist - yep I was trippin.
The good news is that today is day 6 of my radiation treatments. I'm done! And for all I had to go through I got to ring the bell of celebration!
More adventures to come, but for now I am going to "Celebrate Good Times Come On..."