Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Seidman Cancer Center
University Hospitals
near University Circle, Cleveland
As my Facebook friends know, yesterday I spent the late afternoon in this building undergoing a Sodium Fluoride PET Scan (link to info about such scans). My oncologist at University Hospitals wants to see if my pesky (oh, weak word!) prostate cancer is moving into my bones, a favorite venue (time share?) for this creepy (better word) cancer.

So ... Joyce and I drove down there yesterday. First step: An injection of the radioactive fluid that enables the scanner (see image below) to detect any oddities in my bones. As I was getting the injection, I made a joke about being Spider Man for a few hours. The technician smiled briefly--I'm sure he's heard that before--a few thousand times. He had a little trouble finding a vein in my arm (my veins, knowing what's coming, have become more and more reluctant to pop out as this disease has evolved), so he ended up using the back of my hand--not my favorite.

And then Joyce and I sat in a fairly comfortable individual waiting room until the toxic cocktail had time to course through my body. Talking. Looking out over Euclid Ave. with scores of Case-Western students swarming all over the sidewalks on that surprising day of false spring. (I even wrote one of my silly daily doggerels--on my iPhone.) Then ... off to the scanner ... which resembled this one (but seemed to be even longer).

I had to remove all metal (oh, my piercings!) and lie perfectly still for about a half-hour while I slid through the machine on a tray (I felt like food in a cannibals' cafeteria), which made noise only when it shifted me to the next position. To consume the time, I did what I usually do: I reviewed a batch of poems I've memorized. Oddly, I began with Emily Dickinson's "They say that time assuages" and ended with her "Because I could not stop for death." Those poems may not be just odd--but, oh, creepy (?) in their relevance. Inside that machine I actually smiled, thinking about it.

And then the half-hour was over, I was sliding back into the mouth of the machine. Putting on my shoes, my belt. Feeling both changed and unchanged.

The technician told me nothing (except "Good luck"). I know nothing. I don't know when I'll hear about the results. I assume it will be the same as always: If there's something worrisome/ominous, I'll hear pretty soon; if not, we'll go over the scan during our next appointment--about five weeks from now. Whatever. I'll worry whatever the case, of course..

Out in the waiting room ... that wondrous sight. Joyce. Who rose, smiling. Hurried over to me. I cannot express what that sight has meant to me since July 1969. When we met.

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