The hospital where I am having radiation is 50 miles away, a one hour drive along a rural highway. The other option was Portland, 100 miles away. The nice 50-mile-away hospital provides a van service for people in rural areas like mine. So, this morning, I went to the designated spot and squeezed in with my seven comrades with varying levels of hair growth, and off we went. Mostly, it was quiet. I spent quite a bit of time chatting with a 9th grade English teacher from a neighboring school disrict, with whom I am aquainted through the book store back in my past life. He had a posthumous collection of Vonnegut writings in his lap, I had my Sonia Sotomayor autobiography. We chatted about books, cancer (his, throat), mutual friends, our children, and passed the time nicely. My only complaint? Oddly, ironically, the van kind of smelled like cigarettes - not like someone was smoking in the van, but like someone in the van is a heavy smoker.
Radiation took about six minutes, after about six minutes of set up on the table. I have to say, it was wierd. It felt like nothing, and something huge and mysterious all at once. No smell, no sensation, nothing visually apparent. Nothing got warm, or cold, there was no red or highlighter yellow nuclear glow... And then it was back in the van, door to door in three and a half hours. And this is my weekday life 27 more times. Maybe I need a sticker chart of some sort.
I would have chatted with the ladies sharing my bench, but they did not seem game. I imagine everyone is just plain tired, and two hours of spacing out or thinking quietly is not a bad thing when in one of those Cheryl Strayed which-way-is-the-bull situations. (See my entry "The Bull" if after my repeated references and overkill on this passage of "Wild" wasn't enough. I guess I need to read a lot more and develop some new material to quote.)
I'm really tired now and it could not be from radiation yet. I spent a good deal of the day in between the radiation road trip and a physical therapy appointment on the phone trying to find a place to fit me for a compression sleeve to prevent lymphedema when I fly, which I am going to, as soon as my sticker chart is full. I finally settled on the occupational therapist in Longview, where I have to go every day anyway, so that works out well.
Tomorrow, radiation road trip followed by an afternoon Herceptin infusion and oncology appointment. I think it is time to watch some trashy t.v.