‘Igor! Bring me my next patient!’

Anne Kidd took the kids for a swim and to watch a video at her house with her son, Baxter, Grant’s friend.  They had a blast.

Meanwhile, this freed us up to attend a meeting with a special radiologist, Bruce Schlieben.  Not one of the more pleasant meetings, but had the most optimistic outcome.

Very strange place where Dr Schlieben works.  It is in an unfamiliar and soulless suburb on the other side of the city.  To get there we had to negotiate a corrugated dirt road that wound around corners and clung to the side of a dry, desolate hill like crust on old toast.  When we finally arrived, I was sure the door would creak open to reveal Igor limping away calling, ‘Walk this way.  The professor will see you now’ over his humped shoulder.  Seriously, it was that strange and the people, both patients and employees, were straight out of a Tim Burton film.  (Guess that makes Cliff Johnny Depp?)

Not exactly an awe-inspiring entrance.

Entrance to Radiology

Everything old, dilapidated, peeling and weedy.

We weren’t brimming with confidence that they could do something for Cliff here.

When we entered, we found two waiting rooms, an exterior and an anterior chamber, filled with a dark menagerie of people saying the most peculiar things. The nurses then entered to tell the patients that, even though they had been waiting three hours, the doctor could not see them — could they return in two days?  What?  And it wasn’t just a once-off anomaly.  They said that to two different groups.  Aagh!  Where are we?

Dr Schlieben collected us from the waiting room and took us back to a teeny, tiny little broom closet of a room, which belonged to someone else, and we sat, almost knees touching, as we began what would end up to be an hour-and-half meeting.

He was quite positive. Though I’d venture to say he was more intrigued with his own research than Cliff’s particular case.

It felt a little like he was rubbing his hands together and saying, ‘Yes!  I can experiment on your husband.  He will make an excellent subject for my research.’

Holy mackerel.

I was seriously worried he was going to strap Cliff to the table then and there and yell out to Igor to flip the switch.

Dr Schlieben talked at length about his papers, his research, the grants he has been promised but not officially received, the people he has met at conferences, and so forth.  Very sciency.  Not very clinical.  But he is the first person that has not said to us, ‘Cliff has six months left.’

Dr Schlieben is convinced, and his research is beginning to show, that his methods of radiation (five days a week for six weeks) relieved mesothelioma sufferers from any signs of tumors where the radiation treatment had been performed.  And if the cancer does come back, it comes back in a place other than where his radiation has been done.  I would rather hear it doesn’t come back at all, but you take what you can get.

What I want to hear has nothing to do with anything that has been said to us since 6 December.

This is all a bad dream and this creepy, spooky, end-of-the-earth ‘hospital’ confirms it.

We got home to find that one of our amazing friends had dropped off some sushi.

Sushi

So perfect.  Healthy, fresh, tasty, light. And just a really nice, quick, ‘thinking-of-you’ lunch gift.

Love, Esser

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