Tag Archives: radiation

Radiation Waiting Room

We are in the radiation waiting room.  It is intolerably cold and bleak outside, uncomfortably hot and dry inside.  There are just a couple of people here wall with sad looks on their faces, maybe not so much sad as resigned: resigned to this barbaric treatment.  I swear I can smell an odor of cooking flesh.  They have little room deodorizers all around, wonder if it’s to mask that smell.  

Patients come and go with various head coverings: wigs, bandanas, chef’s caps—whatever it takes to cover the embarrassment of having lost their hair.  Some appear to be in pain, moving slowly, getting assistance with their jackets.  There is a brown teddy bear wearing a green medical mask in view; I suppose he is here for the kids.

Doug is close to the end of his visits here.  

He has been sleeping in a chair the last couple of days for fear he might entangle himself in the tube he has to wear for three days; it’s pumping the chemicals into him.  I struggle to sleep in an empty bed thinking: “Please, I don’t want this to be practice for living alone.”  About to finally drift off, a cold sweat attacks and I’m awake for another hour, or two, or three…it’s a dismal fog at night.

I know there is snow falling outside.  I can see headlights coming in through the living room curtains where Doug is sleeping, flat on his back, not moving.  I hope the lights don’t wake him.  

Morning finally comes.  Doug awakens me, “Do you want to get up?  It’s 7 o’clock.”

Of course, I want to get up.   This is the nearly the end of all his treatments so I took the week off work as I thought if there were a time he would need me to be around, it would be this last week.  So, I accompany him, warning about touching doorknobs and cautioning him to use his hand sanitizer (probably more of a pest than a help.)

There are four old men in here now.   Three cancer patients and me.  Doug is meeting with the doctor.  He calls it “doctor and nurse day”.  I want to leave here so badly that my shoulders are scrunched up in fear.  Doug, having been doing this for at least a month, is cool and calm despite the intolerable heat of this place.


Today Doug had his meeting with the Radiation Oncologist and a nurse.  He does have some discomfort from the treatments but the pain must be minimal because he is not taking pain medication and hasn’t even gone to buy the over-the-counter remedy the doctor recommended–something called Aquafor.  The drawing on the jar actually resembles Doug a little bit.

He is losing some hair but it is not noticeable…all in all, things are going very well.  He is almost halfway through the treatment.  Of course, we don’t know if the cancer is shrinking but we have to hope that it is.  Doug has been getting calls from his friends and it is very uplifting for him to laugh and talk.  With this horribly cold weather, he is getting to be somewhat of a shut-in but has plans to go out for lunch a couple of times in the near future.  

Everything Starts This Week

Before Doug can begin his treatments, he has to meet with a “finance person”; it’s comforting to know that the finest healthcare system in the world has all their priorities in line, i.e. money, as our life expectancy in America continues to drop when compared to countries who offer that horrible, terrible, free, universal healthcare.Breakfast and Shopping City Market

Doug is going to be having at least two rounds of chemotherapy and about a month’s worth of everyday radiation.  He is a tough guy and I fully expect him to handle this better than most.   I don’t know that we have faced a bigger adversity than this situation; there are many lessons learned and yet to be learned.  Faith is picture it done.