Thursday, June 24, 2010

Letting go

There is a moment that I have experienced several times just after the
techs say "OK, here we go" and walk out of the room to hit what I'm
sure must be a giant red button.

Digression #1:
Nevermind that this is a new state of the art radiation machine with a
giant window over me that reveals lead "fins" that slide around on
their own accord, opening carefully to make various shapes and
patterns while emitting the dose of radiation.

(Digression #2: Dammit iPhone. Stop changing patterns to Patterson.
Son of a peach pit I hate autocorrect sometimes.)

Ok. Back to the moment. It's a tiny flash of COMPLETE, TOTAL PANIC.
Where that flight instinct rears up and I flash on "Hell no! I have to
get off this table and get out of here!"

I am prepared for it now. The very first day, I think I might have
jumped ship for real, if I hadn't had a good cry in private right
before that appointment. Caught me somewhat off guard, it did.

Now I know I will have that brief flash of fear every time, and when
it hits I just squeeze the hand grips a bit tighter, and try not to
move off the edge of one shoulder blade.

(Digression #3: The techs position me, and I understand why, but it's
NOT comfortable. The first thing they do is slide my hips toward the
right side of the table, then tug the sheet I'm on, right by my waist,
straight up toward the ceiling so I am on an edge of that left
shoulder blade bone. For kicks the other day I said, "let me see if I
can get my shoulder into that alignment without you moving me". The
tech laughed when I did; I was SPOT ON with the tattoo marks and where
the lights from the machine needed to hit. )

But it's easier to "lay heavy" and not try to help them move me -it's
better to just let the techs do their adjustments. My one lucky guess
aside, they are quicker and I can't see the measurement numbers being
projected onto my body.

There has been a fair amount of surrender during this process. Letting
myself stay in bed to rest and recover from surgery. Letting nurses
dress an open wound. Finding a way to let the time drift by when sleep
won't come. Staying home watching tv with one eye open while the world
races by just out of my reach. Letting other people cook and handle a
crisis or two for my children. And now, surrendering to the machine,
even though that big grey whale scares the crap out of me for those
brief moments. Letting it do its job and not running in fear.

Every now and then however, I perhaps "let go" a little TOO MUCH.

I fell asleep on the treatment table today.


Too tired plus being on my back with my eyes closed... I startled
awake when the techs came in to adjust me for the second part of the

I drifted off again, while they were sliding the table around in tiny
increments. I sort of twitched awake just as she touched me. Ooops.

They left the room and hit the big red button and I FELL ASLEEP FOR A
THIRD TIME. Out. Cold. Zonk.

It's all about letting go.

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