Six years ago this month I was spending my mornings taking off my pants, putting on a hospital gown and lying beneath the beam of a radiation machine. 26 times I felt the technicians pull me into place. 26 times the beast of a machine spun around me and delivered it’s invisible radiation. There was every emotion in the world under that machine, fear, hope and even a bit of laughter as I’d tell the tech some minor joke.
I remember one thing the most – my shoes.
I had a pair of brown slip-on shoes. They were more like slippers, but made for the office and guys like me who hate to tie shoe laces. In the dressing room I’d take off my shirt, pants and underwear, but I’d get to keep on my tee-shirt, socks, and was told to put my shoes back on for the walk to the machine. Stripped of all dignity, save for my fancy office shoes and a plain hospital gown.
Just before I’d get on the table in the treatment room, I’d have to surrender my shoes. They sat on the floor next to the table, waiting for the treatment to end.
Technicians would push and pull my body until it lined up with the laser beams shooting out the walls and ceiling. Then with my gown pulled up, I lie half exposed to the world as the techs retreated to the control room and the noise of the machine drowned out the 80’s rock and roll music they thought I’d like.
5 minutes became 10 and then an entirety as my mind drifted to that place of no thought where I held my body rigid and my emotions at bay. Life seemed to just drain away as I looked up at the whirling machine and the clouds painted on the ceiling.
When the machine retreated and the music again fell in my ear I sensed a person next to me pulling my gown down to cover my nakedness. Gentle words were spoken and strong hands pulled me up to a sitting position.
“Let me do the work.”
“Take your time.”
Were the words I most remember before my eyes could shed the mist of the distant land where my mind had been. The first vision I most recall was of the floor,
and the shoes waiting to walk me home.
Till next time,