Survey Meters, Dexter, and Other Weird Shit Radiation Does

My third day in Portland I tried to keep myself as busy as possible between appointments. I knew the only way I was going to get through this trip without driving myself insane would be by distracting myself with everything else that is going on around me.

I didn’t sleep well. I think I have a sixth sense on when Mila is waking up and seem to always check the monitor the moment Toby gets up to change her. I got up slowly again that morning and took my time getting ready. I went to a different coffee shop nearby the hotel and asked for a dirty chai with almond milk, my favorite! They wanted to charge me $9.00. What! This place was ironically called Never Coffee, maybe by that they mean, never buy coffee here because it’s expensive AF! So I laughed awkwardly and said “Nevermind..!”

I grabbed a little breakfast nearby at a cute place called Cheryl’s on 12th. The nice waitress asked if I’m on vacation. Another one of those awkward moments where I could be honesty and go in to depth, but she had other tables to get too and I honestly wasn’t in the mindset to open up. I sat in the corner and starred at the baby monitor downstairs and watched Mila chill while Toby made coffee, breakfast, cleaned the bottles and “handled shit,” as he likes to put it. She is seriously the chillest little babe. We are so lucky. Just hangs out while we do stuff and smiles. Despite all this crap – our baby is pretty dang awesome!

After zoning out at breakfast and watching the monitor, I walked around the city a bit exploring. I realized my hotel block is in the shape of a triangle because I would walk from one side and immediately walk around to find myself in the same a timewarp – or just a triangle if you want to be technical. After a little exploring, it was time to head to the hospital again.

I wasn’t really sure what to be expecting besides a longer scan than the day prior. I fell asleep again when the machine turned on, this time a little deeper sleep than the day before. When it was done, they let me leave and have Wednesday totally free. I just had to be back Thursday for my final scan.

Wednesday came and my mom decided to come visit to keep me company! It was great. I picked her up from the airport at 9:00 and we went straight to Multnomah Falls. I set my camera up on slow shutter and got some fun silky shots of the waterfall and some with my mom and I, which we never get nice ones of the two of us, so we finally have one for the books! After a bit of exploring, Thai food, Salt & Straw (yum!) and walking around, we just took it easy for the day. It was nice to have a day off and some company.

Thursday, my last day in Portland, I didn’t feel like doing much of anything. I barely had an appetite, didn’t feel like walking around, or really talking. Probably was pretty boring company for my mom, but can’t help but just want to veg out during times like these.

We arrived pretty early at the hospital and just sat. They were going to do measurements and tell me if it was safe for me to be back with Mila or not. They also said they’d be able to give me a timeline on how long I’d need to be in isolation for my next visit based on my numbers/levels this trip.

When they finally called me to come back, they held out a yard stick at me and held a black box at the end of it. Yeah, as weird as that sounds..that’s exactly what they did. I asked what they were doing and they said it measures the radiation on my surface, called a surveyor meter. They did it three separate times and said the physicist would use these calculations to find out how much of the Azedra my organs could handle without getting permanent tissue damage, as well as the time period to expect for the next trip in regards to isolation.

I then was laid on the scanning table where they had me for nearly an hour. I was preparing for bad news – like I wasn’t able to go home to Mila yet and trying not to get too upset.

When I was done, they had my mom and I go in a private room to talk about the game plan next.

Good news – I could go home to Mila that night! Yes!!!

Bad news – I have to come back December 9th, begin the treatment and isolation and they have no idea how long I’ll be stuck there.

There’s no end date. I have no countdown. No date to look forward to on when I get to be back in the comfort of my family, my bed, and my baby.

My mom had been sitting in the lobby for that entire hour of the scan and the physicist unknowingly sat next to her with his student and a text book out. They were doing math on how much my organs would be able to handle. Obviously this made my mom super nervous as there were a lot of moments that they seemed unsure!

I know at this point that they’re planning on the maximum dose offered, there’s no timeline on when I’ll be out, and I got a description of what my room will look like.

Have you seen any episode of Dexter? Have you seen his set up for when he murders people? Yeah? Great. It’ll look just like that. Hopefully a lot less blood, like no blood at all. Just every square inch wrapped in plastic. The shower floor, shower head, toilet, sink, room floor, door handles – you get the picture. Oh, on top of that they’re encouraging me to bring things to keep myself busy, however they’ll all need to be wrapped in plastic too. How do you FaceTime with your phone wrapped in plastic?

When you are finally freed they test all of your belongings to make sure they’re ok to go along with you. I’m not sure what they do if they aren’t. Throw them in a biohazard type trash? So, like…don’t bring anything expensive? They said I can’t wear my own clothes because radioactive junk will be seeping out of my pores, sweat glands, etc. I can’t shower for the first couple days because they fear the water from the shower will drip and if I doctor comes in, they could track it through the hospital. I even get a letter from the hospital for the plane ride home because I could set off alarms, bomb detectors, those papers they swab on your stuff, etc.

All of this information makes me uncomfortable knowing they will be injecting it directly into my vein. Not really any other options though. I just hope it goes by quick, it’s successful, and they’re completely sure and confident that I can return to Mila safely!

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