Monday, 25 April 2016

Back in Space Again

Radiation and the first round of chemotherapy finished on Thursday 21 April. I'm sad that I won't see my lovely radiation therapists daily anymore, but here we are, R, K, and myself, cheerfully celebrating the end of my time at Unit 7. Please take careful note of the Sudoku dress...



There's a cowbell at the reception desk (seen here with big ribbon/thule wrapped on top, making it looks like a tiny bouquet of flowers) that everyone is encouraged to ring when their sentence at RT finished. I shook that thing around for ages.

As my mask was un-clamped and lifted off for the final time, I captured a few patient's-eye-view photos of THE MACHINE's face before getting up. I was reflected in its cornea, or perhaps I was already in there, inside its aqueous humor. Wait, no. I wasn't in there. I could not have been zapping myself, could I? Nein, THE MACHINE attempts to fool me yet again with its clever legerdemain.


What did I look like in the eyes of THE MACHINE? Let's take a look.



My first impulse was to put up a link to the evil doings of HAL, for these photos recall, somewhat, sort of, the austere, retro futurist stylings of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Oddyssey. At least the first one does.

But this whole experience has been so bizarre and enigmatic and scary that I feel it may be just as apt to rip Space Oddity out of ye olde black hole that Major Tom likely got sucked into. *Click the link and let it play in the background before you read on.* 

I have always thought it to be the most terrifying and sad song in the world; I have always been afraid of space and the fullness of its lack (NB this is changing. Star charts up on my walls now). The song still makes my eyes glassy even though I am no longer four, or ten, or twenty five years old. It does, however, retain the the classic Bowie interference of absurdity (the long sliding fart of a tuba at a key moment at the solo's end wtf). That makes me smile. And all the more so now, for within two weeks of Bowie's final departure from this world, Planet 9 was "discovered." (We know it's you, Starman. You and your shameless transformations. Planet 9 is but the latest Bowie character).

Now, imagine floating helplessly away from everything you know. And "planet Earth is blue and there's nothing [you] can do", which could be taken as two separate observations. On the one hand it is noted that the Earth is blue,  and secondly,  it is noted that there's nothing that can be done about the spaceship's circuits frying up and suddenly having to accept that return to said blue Earth is impossible. On the other hand, the line expresses the notion of being helpless in the face of that planet which is blue, as if it were something one might desperately want to change to another colour. As if the blue itself was such an unbearable truth that controls everything we do. It is the home of Ground Control, after all. No matter how you look at it, there's nothing you can do about blue. Until you get so far away from light that you can't see it or the world or anything. The whole universe, your very being, goes black, and even that is not in your control. Oh, Major Tom and your mismatched eyes, one blue, the other a dark opening into another world.

It's a common argument that human beings seem to be discovering and exploring the vast space around and above them, and yet they still know so little about the depths of planet that supports them. Even David Attenborough reminds us that scientists know more about the surface of the moon than they do the depths of the ocean. Speaking of which... Remember The Abyss? The floating that happens therein is not up and away into space, but in the opposite direction, towards the centre of the Earth, down, down into the great blue that also eventually fades into black. Something wrong there. Something.... there's a being there. At one point it stretches long and forward until it becomes a face, a likeness of the humans it approaches.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNLtPLFECNw

I thought of The Abyss when I had a face off with my face after my final treatment. I got to take my likeness home. My face from another world. Behold. I think it likes me:


In approximately four weeks' time I will begin the next phase of chemotherapy. I expect tedium, and I do believe that I might miss THE MACHINE just a wee bit. And my friendly neighbourhood radiation therapists.

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