Sorry about the extra dose of radiation Earth

Door to the nuclear medicine office

About ten days ago, I took a pill of radioiodine to treat a hyperthyroid condition and as a result spent the next four days (the number of days in isolation varies depending on much radioiodine people take) doing very environmentally unsound things to protect my husband from being exposed to radiation.

Rest assured, this treatment was not my top choice, but after more than two years of taking medication that controls the thyroid and works as a cure 50% of the time (allegedly) my thyroid was no better off and the medication started making my hair fall out, so needless to say it was time to move to plan B. (This all came to a head in September and is one of many reasons writing for Ocean Wild Things has been sporadic lately, but I’m looking forward to getting back in gear.)

Before the treatment, I had been warned about not being in close contact with people, sleeping in a separate bed and taking extra care to avoid pregnant women and very young children. But I was not prepared for the rest of the list which included flushing the toilet three to four times, using disposable utensils, rinsing the bathroom sink and shower with plenty of water and washing clothes and sheets separately.

For four days I was a bonafide water waster and it was just terrible! Even worse, all that radiated waste was headed straight for the ocean. (Unless, fingers crossed, it takes a few days to get through the Hyperion Treatment Plant before being released to the sea.) The hardest thing was having to flush the toilet three times. Usually I follow the water saving rule: If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down. Every extra flush made me cringe.

I’m so sorry Earth! I wish I could buy you a drink and talk all this through, but since I can’t…I’ll just keep writing.


  1. says

    Carolyn, I enjoy being in your company, radiation not withstanding. Most people will get more radiation from an MRI than coming in contact with you. Funny how we have that mellow yellow rule on flushing toilets in our house as well. Hope you will get well soon. Take care.

  2. JNapoli says

    Quite an insight into the trials of being Ocean Wild Things. So sorry you are going through this, and so impressed with your concern for the planet!

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