Subject: Jen wellness update #30 (31Aug00) The Mask
Ok, Jen's had her first radiation. It was surreal. It takes place in the basement - no windows. The mask is worse than you imagined. It's a custom made cage molded out of plastic chicken wire. Jen lies on a table with a plastic pillow behind her neck, places a spatula in her mouth, then the mask is clamped over her.
All is quiet and somber in the radiation room, and the technician asks Jen to be calm. Then we all leave to go to the computer console. I'm allowed to stay and can see Jen on a closed circuit camera. I can talk to her through a telephone, and she can move her hands to say she's understood.
Of course, for the technicians this is just another day starting at 7:30, and suddenly its started. All we can see is a computer graphic of the beam - Jen doesn't seem to notice. Meanwhile bouncy pop-music is echoing through the control room, and the staff are joking about what they're going to do to the woman who's leaving today.
Meanwhile, Robert is in the men's waiting area (segregated waiting areas - to preserve modesty) and a guy is telling them all his story about having the top of his head removed.
The radiation took about thirty minutes, and I occasionally checked in with Jen - she was visualizing good things, and remained calm.
For the geeks amongst you: I was amused to see my first Y2K bug. The beaming equipment (manufactured by Siemens, just in case you have infinite faith in those German engineers) had a date display which claimed 31st August 1900.
By contrast, the administration of the chemo seemed almost fun. Dr. Kramer's office is light and airy in Pacific Heights, and Jen simply has to have an IV and sit in a comfy chair (yes, the comfy chair) for six hours. Kramer assured Robert that he'd be very bored.
Photo of Robert and Jen to follow.
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