Waiting Rooms and Radiation Machines

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” – Matthew 6:34 MSG

“Pull into the first left,” he said as I drove into the health center parking lot where my Dad’s radiation treatment would be. I traveled down the day before to spend time with my parents and go with my Dad to a couple of his appointments. He was really excited for me to see the incredible machine and meet all the amazing people at the clinic where he receives his treatments.

We parked and walked to the building. I made a comment about the book I was reading saying it was in poor taste to read a book with “death” in the title while going to hang out in the radiation waiting room. Dad chuckled and gave me a look that made me realize I was over thinking things. We entered into the building where he introduced me first to the man who helped patients get in and out of their cars if they had trouble and were not strong enough to pull themselves out and open doors. He was a sweet man in his early sixties who sat at the entrance to the door so he could have a good view to the pull through drive for patients who needed help.

Afterwards we walked to the check in counter. My Dad made sure to introduce me to the receptionists whom he showed his check-in tag to. She greeted us both with a big smile and told me how much she enjoyed seeing Jim each day.

Dad and I took a seat in the waiting room and visited. He shared about how friendly everyone was and what it was like in the radiation room. On the trip down, I had wondered how this visit would go. Dad had mentioned he liked all of the people he had met and seemed to really  trust his doctors, but cancer is such a scary word. He had been taking radiation treatments since Thanksgiving and had lost some weight. In fact, he let me know in ten more pounds he’d be back to his college weight.

A radiation technologist came out to tell Dad it was his turn and was greeted by, “Hey, Jorge! This is my daughter. She is visiting from Arkansas. I wanted her to see the machine and meet everyone.” Then my dad looked at me and said, “Kysia, this is King George.”

Jorge took both Dad and I back to the room where my dad prepared for his treatment. I met all the technicians who shared with me sweet moments about my father and showed me how the procedure worked. I saw the big radiation machine and how it rotated to get the exact spot where my Dad would need treatment. Outside the room were located screens where technicians sat to make sure everything was going well. Dad climbed onto the table while I walked to the waiting room.

When we first found out about Dad’s cancer, the whole family was nervous. We each handled the fear in our own ways. Dad, determined to beat the disease, dutifully attended each step of the process. Side effects from some of his diabetes medicines made the process a little more difficult, but he remained faithful. He has had his bad days and his good days. Today was a good day.

Treatment didn’t take very long. After about twenty minutes Dad exited the radiation area door with a big smile saying good-bye and “see you tomorrow” to everyone in sight. As we left the building he said, “Isn’t that machine impressive? How it can rotate and shoot though my skin to get exactly to where I need the treatment.”

“Yes, Dad it is,” I replied. “Too bad you aren’t going home with me. I have a mammogram on Monday. I could show you my machine, the “Mighty Boob Squisher.” He laughed rubbing his face with his hand and then went back to the radiation machine explaining exactly how it worked. We climbed in the car and headed home to Mom.

I giggle a bit at my Dad’s enthusiasm over the radiation machine, but I am so very thankful for the technology and all the people making a difference in his life right now. The warm smiles and words of encouragement from the people at the clinic all bring sunshine into an otherwise dark experience.  He is blessed despite the disease. We all are.

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