As you enter the waiting area of the Mass General proton therapy center (and no I won’t explain to you what that is, because it’s not crucial to my post), you first become aware of the cool temperature. It seems as if air-conditioning is a year-round part of this department. I’ve learned to wear layers whether it’s 60 or 80 degrees outside. The second noticeable feature of this center is the music. If I closed my eyes, I could swear I was waiting for my massage at the spa. How is it possible to feel so relaxed while waiting for your child’s radiation session?
It shouldn’t surprise me really. Mass General Hospital or MGH is also affectionately known as “Man’s Greatest Hospital.” And I couldn’t agree more. And by the way, this is NOT a promoted post. No one is paying me to write that. I am just so enamored with the place, knowing that my son is receiving the best possible medical care. And it has nothing to do with the spa music. Although that is a nice touch. The people who work at MGH — everyone from the administrators to the doctors and nurses — are smart, compassionate, and really good at what they do. And did I mention that the hospital cafeteria actually has GOOD food? And their iced tea, which a junkie like me must drink everyday? Unbelievably delicious!
We’ve had various appointments at different locations in the hospital, but we spend most of our time at the proton center. We temporarily relocated from New York for my son to receive treatments for 6 weeks, because there are only a few proton centers in the country. We had done our research about proton therapy, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for what the room would look like.
For my son’s first appointment, they brought us back to the treatment room and I suddenly felt very small as a giant cylinder literally encased half the room. My son didn’t seem to notice and hopped up on to the table like he was getting any old check up at the doctor’s office. The nurse likely noticed my face growing pale at the size and complexity of the machine and my wondering if Little Dude was going to start to panic. The nurse explained to me how it all worked and then introduced us to the two technicians, Gary and John. Gary, the taller and larger of the two fellows, was in charge of musical selections and asked my son what type of music he preferred to listen to during treatment. The nurse warned us that Gary could start dancing at any moment, which was apparently a treat to behold.
I don’t know if it was the sound system or the choice of song, but I was overcome with this feeling that Gary and John and the doctors and the nurses were going to take care of my son and everything was going to be okay. I’m not usually a big Katy Perry fan, but Gary started playing the song, Roar, and the lyrics she belted out in that treatment room seemed to be just perfect for my son’s first session:
“…I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire,
cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar…”
I’m pretty sure that if Gary started dancing, I would have started dancing along with him. And guess what my son said after his first treatment was over?
He said, “Mom, that was ‘easy’ and ‘kinda fun’ because they played cool music.”
Yup, Katy Perry is right: he is a champion and I am in awe.
And Gary, thank you for choosing the right music.
P.S. And if you aren’t familiar with the Top 20 pop hits, here’s Miss Perry’s song for your listening pleasure (or pain?):