I am tired.

I was laying on the table this afternoon as the radiation technicians tried to get my position confirmed. They were taking longer than usual, and since I was so tired, I closed my eyes.

As I felt myself near dozing, I imagined what would happen to my arms if I fell asleep. Normally, I hold onto a foam ring with both hands, making it easier to keep them securely positioned over my chest. Were I to fall asleep, would I drop the ring? Would my arms flail out to my sides? Would the large orange cylinder that rotates around me crush my arms as it made it’s orbit?

I jerked awake.


When the treatment was over, I headed back to the waiting room to be called for my weekly doctor’s appointment.

I slumped in the chair, wondering if I would have to wait long.

When I saw Erin holding a rather large chart and scanning the room, I knew she was looking for me. Without saying a word, I caught her eye. She smiled. I stood up and walked toward her.

I have seen Erin more in the last four years than I have seen most of my brothers. I have seen her pregnant, and I have heard stories about her children. I have even learned some of her medical history, as we have talked at length about mine over the years. She sticks up for me to the doctor when I try to get out of embarrassing examinations. She’s as desperate for me to get married as I am.

“Are you getting some of your energy back?” she asked, knowing that I was already feeling tired last week after just five treatments. Back then, she blamed it on the traveling.

“No, in fact, I’m losing steam. I feel more tired this week,” I told her, wishing it weren’t true.

Erin weighed me, took my pulse and blood pressure, and asked the questions she always does, listening as though I was telling her a hilarious story. And it does get funny sometimes, me telling this friend of mine about my urinary problems and lack of sleep, her jotting down notes in my chart.

“He’ll be in in just a few minutes,” she said, as she left the room.

When the doctor walked in, we hugged, he introduced me to the resident shadowing him today, and then he got straight down to business: “So, I hear you’re tired.”

“Yeah, I think I’m wearing down,” I told him.

He looked over my chart, commenting on the size of the radiation field and my past medical history. “Well, it is day 11,” he concluded. “That’s usually when people start getting fatigued. I think what you are feeling is just all the result of what’s going on here.”

“I don’t need you to do anything,” I told him, trying not to be a whiner. “Erin asked, and I told her, but I know this is part of it.”

“Yes, unfortunately you’ve been down this road before. You know what to expect all too well,” he said.

When the appointment ended, we hugged again, this doctor of mine, whom I’ve also seen more times in the past four years than most of my brothers.

“Be good,” he told me as we started walking out of the exam room.

“I’ll try, but next week’s my birthday.”

“Oh really,” he said. “Next week’s Erin’s birthday too.”

“Really, I didn’t know that,” I told him.

And we walked down the hallway in opposite directions. 

Photo by kiwinz, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.