Summer and the Radiation Moon
My radiation treatment has gone from futuristic Skynet sinister to the arthropodic surreal. The mighty cyberknife has been temporarily felled by a bug. For a second time.
A moment of disorientation. My brain. Locked door, eh. Are we in the wrong place. Let’s check the signage. Nope. (I forgot the Anova lettering was much further up, nearer the top of the three story building.) A lobby chair was sitting outside on the landscaping gravel. Is that a clue? Are they throwing it away? I might take it, a nice looking chair. Maybe it had a bed bug, from last week? Maybe I’ll leave it.
Due to a malfunctioning phone (getting replaced today) I made the drive to Lonetree only to discover, for the second time in a week, that bed bugs had been found in the reception area. When I got there, I went to the door, pulled on it and it was locked.
Oh. That door’s ajar. I went over to the door, usually locked, that opens directly into the treatment area where the cyberknife lives and pulled on it. I’m a curious guy and I was definitely puzzled.
Hey, you guys know your front door’s locked? Stupid question, but I thought, well I’m not sure what I thought. Still a bit disoriented by being unable to gain access to my cancer treatment. That’s cancer. And, my treatment is trying to save my life. So, you’ll forgive me, I hope, if I felt discombobulated by the situation.
Patty and Dr. Gilroy were there. Dressed in his usual tattersall shirt and slacks, Gilroy was at the computer station where, before each session, I have to say Charles Buckman-Ellis, 2/14/47 and give Nicky or Kim my music preference for the day.
Oh, yes, they knew it was locked. Another bed bug was found.
Then followed some learning about bed bugs. They wait until you get to sleep Dr. Gilroy said. Your co2 exhalations tell them it’s safe to come out. They crawl out from the seams in the sheets and mattress, climb up on your body, and drink your blood. Like a mosquito, he said. Yeah, I thought, more like a vampire. Then, Dr. Gilroy went on, they poop blood. That shows up as black on your sheets. Oh.
Patty, usually dressed in light flowing blouses, had on an athletic t-shirt from some local college and white pants. We don’t know who’s bringing them in or whether the fumigators last week didn’t do a good job. So, we’ll be closed today, probably tomorrow and Friday. I hope we’ll open up on the weekend.
No, Dr. Gilroy said. They need the rest. Seven days in a row is too much.
Patty said, “Well, we’ll open on Monday then.”
In response to my unasked question Dr. Gilroy said, “Having some space between treatments is not a problem. The important thing is getting all 35 treatments. This will just push the finish date back a bit.”
We talked a little more, shaking our heads at the absurdity of the situation. Cutting edge robotic and nuclear medicine technology felled by the common bed bug. This shows, I said on leaving, the power of arthropoda.
Yes, Dr. Gilroy said, they’re taking over the world.