Thursday, July 15, 2010

#227: Radiation Gallery

Jayna selects my mask...
To be honest, I don't have much to say today, but Mrs P did accompany me into the treatment room today to take some photos for the blog. I love it when she shoots photos because she has such a remarkable eye. She was a top notch lighting designer when we worked in show business together. Now she applies that same vision to the camera lens.

This is Jayna selecting my mask out of the collection on the rack in the radiation suite. No one but me is in the room once the big machine starts humming, but for the few moments before that, the place moves with quiet efficiency. I go to my corner and remove my shirt. Jayna selects my mask.

Ready to place the mask...
There is a clean white sheet on the table where I lay down. They put a small cover over my bare belly for warmth, then someone, (here, I think it is Shug) slips the mask over my head. The plastic frame outlines my head and shoulders and the polymer snaps match up to holes in the table where they secure it. It may seem as it this is a pretty claustrophobic moment, but it really isn't so bad. The mesh is big enough that I can open my eyes, and even speak fairly freely. I can see through it, and never feel like I'm boxed in. Of course, If I tried to raise my head, I might feel like an extra from a Spanish Inquisition movie.

Bound and gagged...
And here it is, in all it's glory. The mask is marked with tape and sharpie marks to help the techs line up with the laser cross hairs all over the room. You can't see them because of the flash, but there are to sets on either side of me and one that shoots down from the ceiling. Once I'm bolted in, they line me up with these marks, double check all the measurements (sometimes with big calipers, sometime with what looks like a tape measure from Home Depot) and then someone says, "Here we go!"

The room clears and the humming begins. First they shoot two X-rays, one from the right and one from overhead. Using those images, the final positioning of the table is done by remote control. These little nudges are accurate to withing a millimeter. Only when all the points and crosses and dots line up does the big radioactive accelerator start its trip around my head, shooting me with millions of volts of X-rays in just a couple of minutes. It's all quite a miracle, really.

Of course, the secret of my success is a much more low tech solution.

The Love of my Friends


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