I’m standing with another cardboard tray, (he is sick 10 times a day, and we have been here since January …) studying the contents and thinking, I could never have imagined there was such an array of colors and texture of puke.
Sometimes, I’m amazed by what Nick brings up. Green, pink, yellow, orange, blue, black: all the colors of the rainbow have appeared in the tan, cardboard puke trays. My beautiful boy has managed to produce textures that remind me of soft ice cream and the summer I was pregnant with Frankie and worked at the truck stop in Bowden, Alberta, my belly so big that I had trouble getting close to the counter. I gained too much weight working there because it was hot, so, I ate ice cream.
I’ve seen mealy textures like cottage cheese or oatmeal; string like dental floss; or watery – it just depends on what medication the poor kid is on, and for how long he’s been puking. Even when I think there is absolutely nothing left in his stomach, he manages to puke up the amount of an ingested meal. Then I worry if that isn’t his whole stomach in the puke tray. Bless his poor ravaged body.
We are off “B” ward and in “C” where the rooms are new and bigger. I am proud of how Nick is dealing with all of the negatives, which follow one after the other. The buzzing in my ears comes and goes with the bad news. But as I find my footing and look around me, I’m aware of how lucky we are.
I went for a walk with another cancer-mom named Charlotte M. She also has a Nicky, only two and a half, with ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia) and the youngest of her five children. They have been doing this for almost a year and are at another critical point with the disease. The cancer has infected the fluid in the spinal cord column and then it breached the membrane that protects little Nicky’s brain.
Charlotte said she could see clusters of white (cancer) on a scan that was taken. A shunt was put into Nicky’s head and then chemotherapy bathed the micro thin area between the brain and the skull.
This morning, when I went to visit Charlotte in their hospital room I had to stop at the door and catch my breath. The sunlight from the window was a frame around mother and child as she cradled her little boy in her arms and rocked in a chair.
He has a cherub’s face with wisps of curling blonde hair lit golden by the light from the window, and with dewy skin that seems almost transparent. I was split between heaven and hell because I know that sheen is from the fluid of insanely multiplying cancer cells.
April 3, 1999