Journal entry by Stephen Matchett

Wow I finally kind of caught up on the stupid stuff. I’ve been wanting to write a POSITIVE description of my high point of the day each day, which is my daily trip Monday through Friday to the radiation therapy every day. At Buchanan Hospital, which is my old hospital, where the cancer treatment takes place. That is, I get an outdoor trip every day (except weekends) through my old neighborhood to my old hospital which is where the cancer treatment takes place every day. Generally the treatments are at 11:15 so I am scheduled about 10:15 to be picked up. I get four visits in the outside air, i.e., I am picked up at Davies where I live, by a team of two always charming drivers, well one driver and one person who rides with me inside, we have a delightful talk, sometimes I’ve had them before but usually it’s a new person, and everybody to a person loves this job! Usually they’ve just started out, it’s a year or two. Sometimes you get a little more experienced person, five or even six years, but generally it seems like a starting out thing. 

We have a drive through my neighborhood, different streets and routes depending on who’s driving, so I get to see different parts of it. Sometimes, especially at the beginning, I got to even go by requested routes (lots of drivers like to be given suggestions) and see specific parts of my neighborhood! We even went by my house a couple of times so I could check on is still standing!

Anyway, we eventually get to Buchanan campus, where I get outside visit number two, as we disembark to enter the cancer treatment center they still operating there, despite the rest of the hospital at that location closed! I also make a point of thanking and acknowledging the driver portion of our team for getting us there safely, because they need to know that you’re appreciated.

I then get to say hi to my old hospital and ride downstairs to level B. The elevator is just short enough that they have to get me in sort of diagonally for my feet! Downstairs on the cancer floor they sign me in and we sit there in the hall till ready. I’ve got my phone so I’m usually checking my messages. Then we go into the treatment room, switch onto the gurney from the one I’m on (through sort of an aerial switcheroo). Which is when  the best part of my day arrives then for me, which is taking off my glasses and, wait for it, haha, my breathing mask!  Because I’ve been wearing a mask and taking it off I get to breeze actual air! Then they put on the mask that keeps your face still, and start in on the required radiation, which lasts about 15 minutes or so, in funny different positions and passes  over and beside your face. Then we  unscrew the mask again and the process is repeated, back on the hospital gurney, your stuff back on (unfortunately including your chicangos mask!) and do it all over again the next day, or if it’s Friday, then Monday. Then comes fresher visit number three, as you go out of Buchanan, and back into your truck return to Davies! Thank the driver again and pack in for the return ride.

Another ride through the streets, and back to Davies, where you get fresh air #4! And it’s home again jiggety jig, a switcheroo to my waiting godsend gurney and into bed, because that’s all I’m ready for at that point!

Oh I didn’t say, a skilled nursing facility doesn’t have its own laundry, because I just want to keep you in the nurses gowns all the time. However what I am doing is getting dressed every day now, and it feels more human. What it means is that I have to collect up some laundry every couple of days and wash them and bring them back so I still have things to wear. Another job that wonderful Damon is willfully doing because it’s so help to my mood!

Anyway I think with a sense of some structuring of my day, that is, this kind of ridiculous commitment that they make to travel I have to say is a godsend! It gives me something to look forward to!

Then the rest of the day I’ve got the chance to take care of tasks, like banking and that kind of stuff, and even be animated to a participatory, conspicuatory or speech session if there should happen to be one on offer!

And of course reading all my wonderful posts and emails!! I’m a happy camper! 😃
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