The Beautiful People
So, here’s what Bloomington’s hippest cancer patient and his beloved arm candy do on Saturday date night:
We went to the grocery store.
Appropriately enough, there was dancing going on at the Kroger Theme Park. A bunch of couples were shoe-kicking to the strains of a DJ playing ballroom standards, all under the supervision of some dandy in a tuxedo and red bow tie. A sign said the whole schmear was sponsored by the Arthur Murray gang.
My reaction? Jesus Christ, I just wanna buy some groceries.
As for those groceries, my weekly list has taken a decided turn for the soft and liquid.
This was in my cart as we pulled up to the checkout counter:
- 2 boxes banana pudding mix
- 2 boxes vanilla pudding mix
- 2 boxes chocolate pudding mix
- 2 boxes raspberry jell-o
- 1 carton milk
- A bunch of bananas
- Two cartons of blackberries
- A case of 20-oz. Orange Gatorade
- A case of 12-oz. Orange Gatorade
That, kiddies, is my shopping for the week. The reason my menu will be taking on such a gourmand’s hue is the sores have started popping up in my mouth. They aren’t precluding me from chowing down on breads and salads and lasagnas just yet but that day is moving inexorably closer. I’ve got enough of the hard stuff to last me until that fateful day.
I don’t know if the sores are solely the result of getting nuked in the throat. My platinum-based chemotherapy dope has turned the inside of my bons mots hole into the Gobi Desert. Problem is, the very idea of water is nauseating right now because that precious metal has altered my taste senses radically. All I can drink are things that are acidic or sweet, ergo the Gatorade. The G-ade helps keep my electrolyte levels up as well because I’m still on the dehydrated side despite being force-fed a 1000ml bag of saline solution yesterday at the infusion center.
Plus, I noticed two spots on my neck where I’m sunburned. The Loved One has taken notice of those stigmata as well. We expected this. The sunburn itches and I’ll have to start dabbing calendula cream on it soonly.
I may as well explain how this radiation gun idea works. Dig this diagram:
The Rotating Nuke Gun
Okay, imagine the circle with the green Olive Pit™ inside it is a cross-section of my neck. The blue gadget is the radiation gun. It revolves around my neck at an excruciatingly precise level. This is why every morning when I lie down on my personalized backboard and rest the back of my neck and head in my personalized holder, I wait as the radiation technologists X-ray and CAT scan me so as to make sure I’m in the very same position every time. Occasionally they have to come in and nudge me a millimeter or two this way or that and the table itself has a fine-tuned adjustment system.
Once the technologists are satisfied their aim is true, a little buzzer goes off. BTW: they’ve high-tailed it out of the treatment room by this point and have locked me in behind a two-ton lead door. (At least I’ll be protected if a tornado strikes.)
The buzzer going off indicates the radiation beam is coming on. It’s a linear beam, directed to focus as much of the radiation on the cancer nodes and as little on my good flesh as is humanly possible. The blue radiation gun rotates around my head and neck directing its line of fire at the cancer node at all times. This way, the node gets zapped constantly — the machine makes two languid passes around me — while the rest of my meat only gets hit when the radiation line passes directly over it.
Let’s hope it’s so cute it makes this goddamned Olive Pit™ disappear.