The train sets off in the morning towards my destination rolling by the yard with scattered piles of material that has been sitting there for a while. The sky is not blue but grey covered in soft murky clouds that seem to have no end or beginning. Far off in the distance some sun managed to penetrate through a crack and shine down upon the land. The rest of the land gets a diffuse glow.
Peeling myself off the bed seemed like a big task this morning. It’s not Monday anymore. Maybe it has to do with the ominous clouds that are rolling through the workplace. It seems like stress has a lot to do with the way things operate there. A patient mentioned something to that effect as they walked out after their scan. Retirement it seems has a way of soothing that tension that existed during the career.
It’s hard to get into the politics of it all. Hard to describe all the nuances that foster such an environment. Being a locum I kind of float around all of it able to just pick up my feet and go to another destination. There is a bit of jealousy with respect to that as well as a knowledge that my work is entirely temporary here as well as anywhere that I go. Their lives are tied to here not only by their work but also by their families and homes.
What I know I gather from fractured conversations and infer from snippets of information. There is no need for me to get too involved. So then I sit there in that little control room gathering the counts that form the image. Thousands of events are captured by the radiation that penetrates the collimators and gather in the crystal. Those events release a cascade of occurrences governed by what we know as quantum mechanics. Orbiting electrons absorb the energy and get excited up to a higher level and as they fall back to the ground state they release a particular amount of light. This scintillation is then captured and amplified becoming the digital image that represents the distribution of the radio-molecule within the body.
The resulting image is white in areas of high concentration and black where there were no events captured. Changing the LUT changes the color and there is even the option of inverting the whole lot and viewing the black as the high and white as the low. In between these extremes is grey wheather it’s unversed or not. The greyscale representing a distribution of concentrations contained within. It is not unlike any other statistical excercise where we pick one extreme over another and try to find a relationship within.
At this point I oscillate within extremes in that same sort of greyscale. Between happiness and sadness, between excited and bored. These peaks and valleys are a consequence of being out here. What this situation has begun to do is to change my perspective and crystallize my goals. I’m in a low energy state waiting for scintillation in order to give off light as before. These grey skies have a way of dampening mood.