Thursday, August 2, 2012
Radioactive Man Is In The House: I Wish I Weren't
Ah, that may sound harsh. But when your beloved is diagnosed with some disease -- in my husband's case, thyroid cancer -- the initial urge is to book a trip to Tahiti, or at least take off for a few days to visit a relative in another state.
Alan swallowed his dose of radioactive iodine (RAI) yesterday morning. The stuff can destroy any cancer cells that take up iodine, with little effect on the rest of the body. While he sat in the hospital for thirty minutes after which a geiger counter was passed over his body to verify that the radioactive stuff was in there and beginning to do its thing (No, I'm not kidding!), I raced home to finish moving out of "our" bathroom and bedroom, into the guest quarters.
Radioactive iodine is highly contagious and can make everyone except the guy who swallows develop thyroid problems.
I then jumped back into Alan's car (mine doesn't have a back seat where he'd have to sit to "keep his distance") and raced back to the hospital to pick up Radioactive Man. Just as I approached the entrance to the hospital, I noticed an older man standing by the bus stop. He was wearing a surgical mask. Ah, I thought. This guy must have just gotten out of the hospital and wants to make sure he doesn't pick up any nasty germs that might be floating around.
I looked again. It was Alan waving at me to pull over. And that's when I noticed the bright blue plastic surgical gloves he had donned.
What a trooper! His sense of humor was in tact, even if his thyroid was not.
To live in the same house without the cats or me getting sick from the highly contagious radiation, we signed off on a set of do's and don'ts that included:
* No touching for 8 days.
* For the first 4 days, no more than a few minutes in the same room.
* Separate bedrooms for 10 days; separate baths for 2 weeks.
* No contact at all with our two Maine Coon cats for one week.
* No sharing of food. And no cooking for each other. (That's a real killer because Alan is the cook in our house.)
* Alan is to wear plastic gloves if touching virtually anything.
* Plastic baggies on all phones, TV remotes, and other shared electronics.
Our kitchen looks like a kosher kitchen, even worse. Cabinets are labeled with either his name or mine as are alternating shelves and bins in the refrigerator. "My" spatula and other utensils are on one side of the stove; his are on the other. Pots and pans are also equally divided. I cooked my dinner last night, cleaned up, and then vacated the room, closing the door behind me. Alan then prepared his dinner. We ate in separate rooms, the cats hanging with me.
I don't know whether it's my cooking or the stress, but I need to drink some camomile tea and curl up for the night.