Tuesday, October 13, 2009


"Hi guys." I said trying to sound cheerful and casual at the same time.
On my way from the bathroom I had stumbled upon the computer room where the men who would in a few minutes be shooting high intensity laser beams through my brain were waiting to go into action. I guess somehow I wanted them to know that the anonymous masked woman who would be floating around the treatment room was a person with a Nationality and a personality and was above all likable and worth saving.
I glanced at the computers. The screen showed an outline of a brain ( presumably mine) with ominous black dots on it. So it was really true, I thought, rebellious bits of melanoma had had the nerve to venture into my gray matter,a fact which I found hard to believe, but little did they know ...they were in for it.
In ten minutes I was lying on a table trying to work open my eyes through a lattice work of a plastic mask that was screwed down onto the bed beneath me ,while at the same time gripping a mouth piece that held a small camera. The music CD I had made began to play and the nostalgic tones of Josh Groban began to fill the room
" Try not to move your head"
How likely is this, especially when the integrity of your brain is at stake.
How long will I be here?
Oh an hour and a half , two hours.
What! Two hours of lying here like the phantom of the opera, grinding my temporo mandibular joints to a pulp and trying not to drool.
"We're going to start the treatment now."
(Gulp) The table whirred and started to glide me under a machine. I must have looked like some macabre Halloween effigy revolving around the room. I thought about my college age son, who drove me here relating what he thought would be some funny scenarios,like hearing a distant technician yell " Oh shit!" right after the treatment or falling asleep and letting the mouth piece topple to the floor like a discarded lollipop. These didn't seem funny right now, for some reason.
Will I still be able to play the piano or write poetry after this is done ? I wondered. Will I still be me ? Or will I stagger off wearing the dead pan expression of a post lobotomy patient?
After a while I slipped into a kind of spacey SciFi time warp
The nurse would come in and adjust the angle of the table. (Clunk)
"Taking a scan" ( whirrrr)
" Starting treatment" (bzzzzzz)
Bette Midler : "God is watching us"
After about an hour I started to get a headache. I waved an arm,
"OK we'll be right in, I think we'll give you a break now"
Sweet relief.. the mask came off. The Doctor and the two physicists, who had been playing star wars with my brain came into the room to check out the revolving mummy.
Then back into the costume for one last act. They left. I lay there. Nothing. No nurse, no comforting whir of machinery. Could this be my worst claustrophobic nightmare realized. Not just stuck in a room with no way to get out, but nailed to a table as well ?
I tried waving a foot and a hand. No response. Finally the nurse came in. Thank God they hadn't gone on a coffee break.
"OK just one more treatment and you're done."
I lay through one more zapping as the lazer lit up my optic nerve and I had the unusual experience of seeing light emitted from inside my head.
Then quite suddenly it was all over. Two hours had seemed like 30 minutes and I was able to leave hopefully with black dots obliterated and my brain back.

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