I have just one week left of radiotherapy, after five weeks of being burned and zapped and prodded, and carrying around my green plastic shopping basket of clothes, and being asked to repeat my birth date and address, and being told to take a deep breath and relax into the table, every single day of the week. The only differences, day to day, occur when my treatment room, LA3, is running late, and they send me down to LA9, which is a bigger room and has a TV in its waiting area.
Every Tuesday, after my regular appointment, I have a meeting with a radiographer who asks me if I have any questions. I always say no, because everything is unfolding just as they predicted and described, in all its miserable banality. When something seems required other than nodding, I say that I feel tired all the time, and need to have naps every day. This, I’m told, is normal.
Of course, I do have questions. Why don’t any of the male patients have to wear the stripy gowns? Why are some patients in reception told they should “start drinking now”? Why do the radiographers always have such cold hands? Why is the TV outside LA9 always tuned to the Jeremy Kyle Show and not the Winter Olympics, like the one in reception? Why do people agree to go on the Jeremy Kyle Show, when they know he’ll make them look like fools? Are they lured by an all-expenses-paid trip to London? Would I go on the Jeremy Kyle Show if they offered me an all-expenses-paid trip to London – or Tokyo, say?
I don’t ask the radiographer any of these questions, though some days I’m tempted to ask the bus driver if it annoys him when someone dings the bell to request a stop, even though the bell has already been dinged.
At home, when I’m not groggy or trying to work on my book, TMiddy and I watch the Winter Olympics. Sometimes curling is on three channels at once, as though nothing else is happening that day. TM is disgruntled about the WO generally; they were better in the olden days, apparently, when Jean-Claude Killy was the star attraction. TM had a lab rat during his senior year of high school: he named it Jean-Claude Killy and created a Skinner box with a slope and a series of slalom gates.
TMiddy adopted a more positive attitude towards the Winter Olympics today when Finland knocked Russia out of the ice hockey. Overall, I’d say that I have more benign feelings towards the host nation, or maybe TM just lacks the Olympic spirit.
PM: How good to win in front of your home crowd!
TM: Even better to win in front of your Cold War enemy.