With hospitals I’ve learned nothing ever happens quite the way you expect. Except waiting. You can always expect that.
So today I was supposed to have my first session of chemotherapy. That didn’t happen. So I have to wait until tomorrow for the joys of six hours on a drip.
But I did get my first dose of radiotherapy, accompanied by the usual waiting. It was a strange process. After half an hour in the main waiting room I was told I would be in Sala 1, red. Then I had to wait outside that. For a long time. Eventually the door to Sala 1 opened and I was called in to a tiny room containing only the sort of bench you get in gyms. This was the changing room, although all I had to do was remove my shirt which took at least 10 seconds. And I waited some more. Nervously. Then a nurse came in and said they were waiting for the doctor. Could I put my shirt back on and wait outside because they had other patients to treat.
Half an hour later I was back in the changing room wondering what was behind the second door. Finally, it opened. I expected to find the treatment room. Instead, on one side was a brightly lit office and on the other a corridor. That’s where I was told to go. The decor was almost dreamlike, deep red floors and lime green walls. The end was entirely covered by a mural of some sort of Alpine landscape. But it wasn’t actually the end, the red trail led round into the treatment room filled with expensive gadgets I’ve never wanted to use.
I was led to a table with a block for my head and another one was put at my feet, with ropes attached for me to hold on to. Then a mask was clamped to my head and I was told not to move.
I’ve no idea how long the radiotherapy lasted. I lay rigid, my eyes shut, hearing the clicks and whirs of the machinery, accompanied by occasional bright lights. I felt nothing. But it is a cumulative process and I didn’t expect any pain yet.
Then this afternoon my mouth began to dry up. Permanent destruction of the saliva glands is one of the side effects. So maybe I’ve now said goodbye to spit for ever.