The nurses, Jennifer and Dennis, attached the cage to my head with four metal screws. I am relaxed and unconcerned with the fact that I now have screws in my head. Dennis takes me to another floor for one last MRI.
“This one will be short,” Dennis says. “We know what we are looking for.”
Since I have to be alert for the Gamma Knife surgery, I have been given a mild sedative. Frankenstein’s heart beats in my ears for ten minutes.
On the return trip in the elevator, Dennis stood in front of me in my hospital bed. A family slipped into the elevator next to us. Their children looked at me, horrified. I imagined myself as Hannibal Lecter, smiled at the children, raised my hand, stupidly the one with the IV, and waved.
The father said: “Uh, how are you?” His children seemed surprised by this question.
“I’ve been better,” I said.
Several hours later, the doctors attached a bar to the back of the cage before they slid me into the chamber for radiation. For fifty-four minutes, it was crucial that my head did not move in any way, shape, or form. The radiation precisely aimed at my brain tumor must not deviate, must not kill the good parts of my brain.
Larry, one of the radiation physicists asks me if I am comfortable. I am quite lucid now. The team attaches a heavy bar to the back of my cage. They slide me into the chamber. I am a Glamour magazine “Don’t” wearing hospital pants & my “Run like a Dog” t-shirt.
“I’m fine,” I smile at Larry.
“I’m going to start your music,” he says.
Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” fills the space where Larry’s voice was.
“Can you hear it okay?” he asks.
“Yes, thank you.” Let the brain surgery begin.