Happy: A Quest for Life After Death

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Introducing Mat: Cylon Model #13

Mat has finished the second treatment of 5-FU, with no immediate horrible side effects. It may be the most tolerable chemo he's tried yet (is this like being the skinniest person at fat camp?).

The main side effect, and one that the drug's literature didn't mention, is that Mat feels like a Cylon. We've been watching the remake of the series Battlestar Galactica, a phrase I never thought I'd write. The show features Cylons, robots that eventually evolve to become nearly indistinguishable from humans, and who then destroy almost all of human civilization.

Mat is also nearly indistinguishable from a human. The key to Cylon detection in his case is to note that every other Wednesday, he goes to MGH to be hooked up to 5-FU via his port. Mat then carries an infusion machine around with him in a stylish man-purse for the next two days until I draw on my in-depth training as a nurse (10 minutes of instruction at MGH) and unhook him on Friday.

Here's where the Cylon detection gets even easier: every three minutes, Mat's infusion machine makes a whirring noise as more drug is pumped in through the port. After a couple of nights of being driven to distraction by the noise, I think we've both accepted it and and the noise has become quite soothing. Being a Cylon isn't so bad after all.

Mat does not really like lugging around the infusion machine -- it weighs at least five or six pounds -- but I'm encouraging him to think of it as a pet. A black, rectangular, whirring pet. I'm not really sure he's bought into that idea. What the frak? I can't imagine why not.