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It is a strange and unsettling thing being a danger to society.
I went for a walk and swooped to avoid a woman walking her dog. I crossed the street when a man came toward me, pushing his toddler on a tricycle. The little girl waved and said, “Hi!” and I stepped even further away. I walked down the center of streets, to keep my body as far from animals as possible.
I felt like I should have shouted, “Unclean! Unclean!”
I had every right to go outside. I’d specifically asked my doctor if it’d be okay and she said yes, then backed away from me in the hospital room to demonstrate how far I would have to be from people and pets — a good eight feet.
What if I slipped and hit my head and people came to help? What if a dog chased me? What if a school bus dropped off a student, and I didn’t get away quickly enough? What if I saw someone I knew and had to ignore or rebuff them?
Home - Basement - Mom - Food - Basement
At home, I lurked in the basement. My mom delivered food but couldn’t stop and chat. I didn’t want her to stay long in the basement air or near my physical space.
I was unclean.
Cancer - Thyroid - Step - Treatment - Iodine
I have thyroid cancer. My thyroid was removed, and the next step of treatment was to swallow a radioactive iodine pill. The pill, as benign-looking as a Tylenol capsule, came in a lead container. It also came with a medical card to use at airports to explain why I set off alarms with my body. It said I had undergone “recent nuclear medical treatment.”
I sat in a large room so the caregiver could move away after I took the pill. She touched it with a pair of tongs and a gloved hand, dropped the pill...
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