High-tech medicine

high tech medicine

My father’s radiation therapy in the mid-1970s was really brutal. It scorched his entire torso, and it did no good anyway, as his cancer was far too advanced.

My mother’s 1990s chemotherapy in the 1990s was much milder. She was only nauseous a few times. Taxol made her hair fall out, which really stunned her; I think it was the worst thing about the treatment for her. But the chemo extended her life considerably, without much affecting her quality of life.

And now it’s twenty years later, and I’m doing a tandem combination of radiation and chemotherapy. The radiation is directed straight at my left tonsil; after the first few treatments, I haven’t noticed many ill effects, apart from a little neck soreness/stiffness. The first few chemo treatments were similarly mild (apart from a little nausea and fatigue).

When I go in for radiation, I lie on the table and let the nurses fasten on my Radiation Mask:




They also give me a plastic hoop to grip with both hands, so I don’t flail my arms too much. The treatment is about ten minutes long; the machine makes all kinds of space-age humming and beeping noises. Then the attendant comes in and unbuckles me.

My mind wanders during the treatment. Early on, I found myself thinking about the plastic hoop. It’s ridged, and slightly flexible –

When the attendant came in to unbuckle me, I handed her the hoop and said: “This is a dog toy, isn’t it?”

She chuckled. “Yep. The medical version costs a hundred and fifty dollars. I bought that one at Petco for seven ninety-five.”

File this one under “health care costs,” and “high-tech medicine,” and probably under “human ingenuity.”

Pity the poor dog going without his toy. But it’s in the name of medicine, after all.

Woof woof!

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

5 Responses to High-tech medicine

  1. Ingenious! And here’s to a treatment that is wholly effective without making you miserable. And has moments of humour interspersed.

  2. starproms says:

    I’m so glad you’re coping so well. Funny about the dog toy! Any light relief for you at the moment is surely more than welcome. Well done.

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