Tuesday, October 30, 2007

447 days, 1 hours, 8 minutes, 21 seconds

In today’s weird news, yet another medical mishap. Surprise, surprise. A woman was treated with the Gamma Knife on the wrong side of the brain. Not to worry, not to worry, this does not necessarily harm the patient. Just a radiation mistake. She thinks of swelling three months later, trying to walk, she thinks about blacking out, she thinks of falling. She thinks and thinks and thinks of a lot of things while she can still think. The computer was supposed to spit her out if things weren’t perfect. The computer was supposed to protect her.

447 days, 6 hours, 22 minutes, 15 seconds

The bickering. Ask her what she remembers about this past week when she’s been too sick to write and she’ll tell you the bickering. It started at the oncologist’s. And God knows why she didn’t write it down at the time. There was a woman and her husband already there, the woman in the seat with a tray table that she usually uses. The empty chemo chair next to them. She was trying to get a DVD player to work. He was trying to help her. The nurse was trying to help her. Then the woman wanted to know again what drugs she was taking and her husband told her. Isn’t that bad for the liver, she asked. Or is it the kidney? He told her again what drugs she was taking. She asked the questions again. She tries to get the DVD to work. She says they must have brought the wrong tape.

Busy day. A young man in his 40s comes in and takes the seat between them. Everyone gets talking. He’s a doorman, comes for sessions every six months or so that’s all there is to it. She doesn’t remember how or why or when but the three of them get into telling stories, laughing their heads off to the point where the nurse has to come and remind them to be quiet. Stories about his work? Stories about his treatments? They’re having so much fun.

The man leaves and things quiet down. No more bickering. She and her husband just sit there watching from the distance. By tomorrow they’ll be the ones who bicker. It’s started already.