|Seidman Cancer Center|
Joyce and I are sitting in the Starbucks at Legacy Village, sipping drinks, reading, relaxing, waiting until about 12:15 when we’ll head back to Seidman for my scheduled bone scan. What a gift—sitting across tables from her for nearly a half-century, watching her read, hearing her tell me something on the page that has moved her, thinking about her words, wishing that Time were only a rumor, that she and I would sit across tables from each other until there are no more books to read, no more thoughts to share.
Right now, I am radioactive (look out, Peter Parker!). At 10 a.m. I received an injection (in the back of my left hand—my elbow veins were hiding: they’ve had enough!) of the spider-bite stuff that will enable my bones to glow a bit when they scan them at 12:30.
I’ve had more than a few of these scans before. Time on a slab. A Star-Wars-y machine moving over me, humming. I’ll probably spend most of that time in my head, silently reciting poems I’ve memorized over the years. Maybe I should learn one about being a septuagenarian Spider-Man-wannabe? (Surely, Frost has one like this? Or Yeats?)
Right after I got that injection, I headed down to the radiation oncology area and had my daily radiation treatment (only three more of the spine-zapping!). And when I emerged from that into the waiting room, I had a surprise. An old friend from Hiram College days (learning via Facebook that I would be at Seidman) had showed up with some cookies (they will not last long!) and a kind note. I don’t believe I’ve seen her in, oh, a half-century or so. But there she was, wishing Joyce and me well. My understanding of the dimensions and capacity of the human heart keeps expanding the more I proceed through this darkness. And I did a masterful job of controlling the tears that gathered in my eyes, demanding egress.
And after that bone scan? We will head for home, where we will have a quick, light lunch, and I will then climb the stairs to our bedroom and pass out (I hope) for a couple of hours.
I’ve got a few days off now to recover. Saturday-Sunday-Monday (no zappery on Labor Day). And I hope to regain some strength. And I will continue to marvel at our species and at the kindnesses of which we are capable.
The bone scan took longer than I recalled (about a half-hour). Several views: head, entire body, side of head, ribs, pelvis--during all of which I had to remain immobile. And I did, indeed, run through a bunch of poems in my head while it was going on.
We were nearly late, returning to Seidman from Legacy Village (only a few miles away). Richmond Road is torn up, and there were myriads of cars competing for the few lanes available. It took us a half-hour. I handled the stress. Sort of. Fortunately, we'd left at noon instead of the planned 12:15.
Afterward, we joined the flood-tide of traffic on I-271 and I-480, got home safely, had a little lunch (as I'd planned). And upstairs I went and slept a little.
I told Joyce afterward about a difference I've noticed between these radiation sessions and the ones I had in January 2009: "Back then," I said, "I was resolutely telling myself There's nothing wrong ... there's nothing wrong."
But this time? There is something wrong. And I can feel it.