Saturday, January 2, 2010

Schrödinger's cat

I don' t see the doctor for a couple of weeks, but I wasn't doing anything this morning, so I figured why not have a stranger stick a needle in the soft inside part of my elbow and let blood run out into a tube. So that's what I did.

I wonder if the phlebotomist thinks, even for a moment, about the role she is playing in the drama of life and death. Does she understand the portent? Perhaps it's better if she doesn't; or else her hands would be shaking so hard she couldn't do the job.

Up until the blood draw, I feel like I don't have prostate cancer anymore. But as soon as it is drawn, and before I get the results, it's like I'm in some kind of no man's land. Either the radiation wiped it out or it didn't. But at this point, I feel like Schrödinger's cat, both alive and dead at the same moment. Or rather, saved and doomed. It's not until I get the results that the probability wave collapses on itself and I become one or the other.

I know, I know. Quantum effects don't hold up in the macro world of people, tumors, and tubes of blood. But that's how it feels.

Sometime late next week, I'll call the nurse and get the result. At that instant, I will either push prostate cancer to the back of my mind and go about life pretty much as I have the past year; or I will start down a path that will quickly lead to the end of my sex life and eventually, the end of life itself.

It's like every 6 months my life path has two forks--two possible doors.

Photo credit: Annie Mole. Used Creative Commons (cc) license.

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