Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Rad. Baby

I have to laugh, because of the title. At the hospital where Mason is receiving his radiology treatments, they refer to the kids who come in for radiology treatments as either babies, or rad. babies (short for radiation babies). This is probably due to the fact that they are the only people under the age of 17 that they ever treat, since children are almost always sent to Primary Children's for hospital treatment. I just think it's cute. :)

Today, I thought I would show you what a radiation treatment visit is like for Mason. This post is long, but don't fear! It's mostly pictures. :D

Mason wakes up early in the morning to get ready to go (I should have gotten a pic!). We've got a system down now, where he sleeps in the clothes he will wear the next day, so he can just wake up, brush his teeth, get winter clothes on, and get in the car. It works out as planned about one-third of the time. :)

Because children have to stay so still for the radiation, they give them anesthesia to put them to sleep, meaning that Mason can't ever eat or drink anything past midnight on weekdays. This is why the "babies" come in so early (before the radiation nurses and secretaries even get in), so they don't have to suffer all morning on an empty stomach.

We actually left a little late this morning, but you get the general idea of the time-frame.

It was also raining this morning, which is 10x better than the snow and slush we've had to drive in earlier this week.

This is the hospital he get his treatments at. This was taken when we got out, since it was still dark when we arrived, but it's a nice hospital and we love the staff.

When we get to the hospital, the first place we go is up to Same Day Surgery, on the 3rd floor. 

We don't have to register or anything. I just walk in carrying Mason, and one of the girls at the desk recognizes us (usually the one in this picture) and calls us over. They give us each a wrist band, and a few seconds later we are called back to get Mason's vitals. With his vitals taken, I am handed his medical file, and we are sent off to Radiology. The whole thing usually only takes about two minutes, and we haven't had to wait all. 
It's actually kind of funny to watch the angry looks on the faces of some of the people who have been waiting for a while to be called up...and then a few seconds later when they see Mason's scars and aren't angry anymore. 

Radiology is on the first floor, so we take the elevator back down, and travel across the loooong hallway to get there. Both of these pictures show about 3/4 of the length of the hallway.

Eventually, we get there. Mason was uncharacteristically awake and happy this morning. He's usually asleep on my shoulder, daring the world to just try and wake him up. :)

The couch that he takes a nap on each morning, until it's his turn.

Being silly.

When it's his turn, he gets to go back into the radiation room. He sits up on this table, and the anesthesiologist starts giving him the anesthesia. This is him with his mask, painted like Iron Man. ...which I think he may like more than his Thomas one! I still need to take a picture of his Thomas one and post it.

These are the Radiology Therapists (minus the four who weren't working today), and today's Anesthesiologist. From the moment he walks into Radiation, they just fawn over him, calling him their boyfriend, teasing him, joking around, and talking about trains, his clothes, and Christmas with him. He just EATS IT UP! It is the cutest thing, and I watch him every day get shy when they start talking to him, and then get really excited start showing off for them. I love it. HE loves it! :)

Getting his shirt off for the radiation. Starting tomorrow, they won't need to take his shirt off, since that's when they start intensely focusing on his brain (instead of his brain and spinal column).

Getting ready for the anesthesia. This stuff they give him works so fast! It's literally seconds before his eyes roll back, he head droops, and he's off to sleep.

Getting him into position, with the huge radiation machine behind him. I've said it before, but just in case you didn't know: they usually treat patients who had brain tumors, while they are laying on their stomachs. Mason had so many problems with this because of his breathing and congestion, that he is now treated on his back, and has responded perfectly fine to it. The machine was designed to be able to rotate underneath, and the table is designed to let the radiation through, so it works out really well.

After his treatment, he is taken back to Same Day Surgery (sometimes I carry him, sometimes he's in a gurney), where he stays in one of three recovery rooms until he wakes up. He has two Nurses that are usually the ones who tend to him, so he gets to have some consistency in the people he sees. 

You'll notice he has a different shirt in the picture. Today, he absolutely refused to do anything I, Latu, or the Nurse, asked him to do...which is unusual, because he is usually happy since he loves that he can have anything he asks for in recovery. In fact, he tried to hit the Nurse and then tried to kick her when she went to get his vitals. Poor Nurse! I'm sorry! If it makes you feel better, he hit me too. It took us 45 minutes to get him to just put the oxygen clip on his finger, and the blood pressure cuff on his arm. I think he's getting very tired of doing this every day. I'm going to have to figure out an incentive for him to cooperate tomorrow.

Needless to say, I didn't get a picture in the recovery room...but I took this one yesterday, so it will have to do. My mom came with us that day, and let him watch trains on her laptop. Coolest grandma ever!

He did cheer right up as soon as we were leaving, though, and was excited to get to go home. He usually gets a wheelchair ride every day because he loves them so much, but today he chose to go out on my shoulders. This is his favorite part of the elevators: the mirrors on the ceiling!

He then got to ride on Auntie Latu's shoulders while I took pictures. :)

After that, it was home sweet home!


  1. Thanks for the walk through. You can't blame the little guy for getting upset. Good luck with that! ♥

  2. Thanks for sharing - I've always wondered how radiation goes. What a trooper Mason is! And he is looking so great in those pictures! I'm glad the new way of having him on his back in working out well - you guys are amazingly strong!