But back to the weird. (Well, weirder.) For an actually-pretty-serious hospital appointment, I found this one the most entertaining yet. It was like a cross between Star Trek and the 'Cartman Gets an Anal Probe' episode of South Park. Except instead of a satellite up my arse, I've been left with three very questionable-looking tattoos on my chest. I'd tell you that they're preferable to an anal probe but actually I'm not so sure, given that I now look like someone's been playing dot-to-dot in my cleavage with a blue biro. The rest of the planning appointment was much more space-age, thankfully. You gown up and lie topless on a black leather bed (not as S&M as it sounds, I assure you) in the middle of a huge, futuristic room that looks like it ought to be a recording studio on the Starship Enterprise. Then the radiographer versions of Captain Kirk and Uhura come out from behind the mixing desk to press buttons on a bunch of different computers that whirr around your body before fixing you into the unnatural position (again, not in a kinky way) that you've got to stay in for the next 50 minutes, and for each subsequent radiotherapy session. And who'd have thought that years of cheesy discos could prepare you for such an event? Because, until the end of January, for 20 minutes every weekday, you'll be able to find me on a hospital bed doing a stationary version of the YMCA. Actually it's more like the YM. Y with the left arm, M with the right. (And it's a good job; I've always found C and A to be the trickier parts of the dance.)
So there you are, like a spare member of the Village People, unable to laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of the situation because the Enterprise crew have warned you not to move. And considering the intricate, no-margin-for-error measuring they're having to do to make sure the rays will always target the right area, I guess it's fair enough. It was all rulers, angles and trigonometry, with all kinds of crew members looking serious, shouting out numbers and talking to each other in a complicated, technical language (Klingon, perhaps?). Now don't get me wrong, they're very lovely, but the radiotherapy staff are completely different to the chemo crowd. The 'therapy' part of each treatment kids you into thinking that the two must somehow be linked, when actually they're at opposite ends of the cancer stratosphere. In chemo, you can have a bit of a giggle with the nurses while they're hooking you up to your drip (the smile's soon wiped off your face by the time you get home, mind). But radiotherapy seems to be that bit more serious – more of an exact science – so joking about with the staff (while you're lying on the bed, at least) is a bit like knocking the back of Steve Davis's snooker cue when he's about to pot the black for the world championship.
Now I think about it, maybe all this business with permanent biro dots isn't actually as necessary as they'd have you believe? Maybe it's just the radiographers' concession to having a laugh in the office? Because, really, how serious can you be about a medical practice that requires you to be tattooed? If I'd known about that convenient little loophole, I could have used it as a teenager. 'Look, Mum, I know you don't approve of my body art, but I can explain. The medical community made me do it.' Not that I'd have chosen blue dots as a teenager, mind. But then, 'I heart Gary Barlow' might have sent the radiotherapy waves all skew-whiff.
Anyway, after the acid-trip of hospital appointments, we're finally all systems go for the radiotherapy to start a week on Monday. And, this Friday aside, I don't have to go back to the hospital until then. Result or what? I fear I'll get withdrawal symptoms and start showing up there out of habit, but fortunately P and I are taking our chance to escape for a few days and are heading up to the cold weather of the Lakes so I can test out the head-warming capabilities of my wig. (Sgt Pepper's staying with my folks. Dad revealed on the phone last night that Mum's planning to 'spoil that cat so much she won't want to go back home'. Consider yourself rumbled, Ma.) And get this – before our mini-break, I'm even getting the chance to dust off my gladrags to go to an awards do with work. I know! An actual night out! (Is it just me, or are things beginning to look up?) Thankfully there's still one dress in my wardrobe I can fit into. Quite a busty little number, as it goes. I'm secretly hoping someone will pull me to one side and say, 'Excuse me, love, you've got a biro mark in your cleavage.'