05 January 2011
Today was like any other day over the past few weeks. At around 9:40, I head to CARTI to have my daily radiation treatment. CARTI has made this one of the smoothest services on the planet – especially when you put it in context with health care services in general. This is nothing short of an assembly line operation, but with very kind and gentle people taking care of you along the way.
When you become a patient at CARTI, you immediately receive a key-card of sorts. It has your name on it in the form of a bar code that you scan when you enter, letting the folks in the treatment area know you’ve arrived – a very simple checking-in process. Then you proceed to the dressing area, one for men and one for women. Small lockers are there for you to place your clothes inside and there’s a cabinet filled with a variety of dressing gowns to put on. In my case, I only take off my clothes from the waist up, so I always have on my pants and shoes – then the stunning CARTI gown to complete the wardrobe during my time there.
Every day, almost as soon as change into my gown, they call my name to come back to the treatment area. I then lie down on the table, and two radiation techs spend a few minutes getting my body in position, lining the body marks up with laser lights. This is obviously a very exact process as there are many tiny moves made to get my body in the just the perfect position. It’s really quite impressive.
The radiation itself takes only about four to five minutes, may less. Then I’m out the door to change back into my clothes and head back home, the office or to my next appointment for the day.
Today was like any other day. I did all the above, including a skin check. My skin area is getting quite red and is somewhat burning. Ginny, my wonderful nurse, is very focused on this right now, wanting to make certain I remain comfortable with new ointments and other strategies to keep myself together.
After my skin exam with Ginny, I head out the door to my car, leave the parking lot and I’m on the way to the gas station. I desperately need gas before my next meeting at the United Methodist Foundation.
I’m almost there, ready to get out and start pumping gas. And then my phone rings. It’s Catherine, the nice lady at the front desk at CARTI. She kindly explains to me that I’ve left CARTI in my gown, without putting my clothes back on.
WHAT? OH MY GOSH! She’s right. I’m driving around in my car wearing my lovely blue gown, my clothes still back at CARTI. Embarrassing or what? Especially when I quickly return and the fun front office staff I’ve grown to care for much are there, waiting to laugh with me. They are so kind, and tell me that I’m not the first nor will I be the last patient to make this silly mistake.
What can I say? I guess I’m getting comfortable in my CARTI cancer clothes.
My friend Cyd laughs with me, tells me I’ve had way too much fun with cancer. Maybe so, but we both agree – it’s much better to laugh about the lighter moments of this adventure than cry about the heartache. As they say, laughter is the best medicine for your heart – and I think for your cancer too.
Posted by Stacy Sells at 4:37 PM