only 2 millicuries

There are no birds near the hospital.  People and workers stream in to work, like bees returning to the hive laden with pollen.  Somewhere nearby a garbage truck backs up, and the warning beep, beep, beep cuts the morning silence as his engine groans and rumbles.

I walk through the lot, the only one not seeking a close nearby spot on such a cold morning.  Each soft breath exhaled through my nose leaves a white trail as warm moisture and cold dryness intersect.

Once inside they say, “You’re early”.

“Would you rather I was late?”

“Oh, no, early is good”.


We walk down the hall together, she middle-aged  Asian features with trademark dark dark hair. She chats aimlessly as we walk, and I respond politely where necessary.  She stops and looks at me, “You’re so calm” she exclaims.

“Probably just sleepy”

He is African, with the precise English diction that hints of French colonization.  We sit and I sign proof that really want this I-131 dose.   No mass transit for two days, stay 6 feet away from others for two days, when you get the big dose it will be longer, he tells me as if we are sharing a secret.

I sign, and agree that dry mouth, and other problems may become my lot in life and we can proceed.

The vial sits on the desk, solid and heavy, maybe 9 inches high, and almost as round he takes off the leaded lined top and inside sits a small clear bottle squared at the bottom like a glistening crystal iodine bottle.  Somehow, the office lights make it look pure, almost beautiful.

Inside is a large white capsule.  Unmarked, it appears solid and cast of metal with a white painted surface.  It is about the size of a Tylenol.

I squeeze my fingers into a small latex glove and and palm open he quickly tips the capsule to me. I pause, look closely but it yields nothing to me.  One quick gulp followed by a sip of water and it is done.







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