Friday, August 13th and my baby sis Dori’s birthday.
Anyone who comes into Nick’s room today stays a while with him. He is chatty and charming and irresistible. I can’t take my eyes off his sweet face.
The white blood cell (WBC) count is 0.32.
A young doctor slips through the door. I’ve met him just once and can’t remember his name. He’s wearing a shirt buttoned in the front, and dark slacks. He clutches a clip board to his chest. He tells me he has some results from Nick’s blood work. It isn’t usual for a doc to deliver blood work results. My stomach rolls. I suggest we step into the hallway. He tells me they have been seeing blast cells in Nick’s blood work since Aug 6th.
“Blasts? But those things are cancer cells.” My voice is shrill in my ears.
He glances down at the clip board he’s holding. “We don’t know that yet, for sure. These are just regenerative cells being pushed out into the marrow, and they don’t know which way to go.”
“Go where?” Does your clip board tell you that?
He wraps his arms around the clip board, putting it between me and his chest. “The cells are not fully formed yet.”
I want to yank the clip board from his arms and smash it over his head. Who the hell sent you to feed me this exhausting piece of BS? There’s something this guy isn’t telling me.
Saturday, Aug. 14
FH brought my bicycle from home. I rode for a while to a strip mall and bought a new back pack. I’ve been using Nick’s school pack and wore it out. This one I bought is a good quality so Nick can have it when he goes back to school. I spend some time imagining that beautiful day.
Dave Scatchard is visiting with Nicholas. The Canucks are at camp, whatever that means. I’ve never liked hockey, and know nothing about the game. FH watches when the playoffs are on. Our boys don’t play hockey because of the exorbitant cost of equipment and neither of their parents are inclined to spend every weekend all winter shuttling them to skating rinks, then sitting on a cold bench while they skate.
“What do you guys talk about?” I ask Nick.
“Cars.” He says. That’s right. Dave drives a Dodge Stealth. And, Nicholas reminds me it’s a twin turbo Dodge Stealth.
Dave has come by the Ronald McDonald House and taken Nick out for a spin in the car. Dave is easy going and comes around enough that many people have formed a friendship with him. Children and adults, especially those interested in hockey sit a while in the kitchen where Dave and Nicholas are hanging out.
I’ve been doing laundry. Walking down the stairs from our room I hear a burst of laughter and excited voices coming from the kitchen. I walk in the room and the chatter stops.
A group is gathered around one of the little tables. Shelley is there with Aidan on her lap, and Marlene sits to one side of Nick. He’s wearing his “I Wish I Had A Heart” sweatshirt with a picture of the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. Nick’s face is shining. He is ready to burst. Next to him is Dave and even though he’s smiling he seems a little tense.
“What’s up?” I say.
“I got to drive Dave’s car!” Nick says.
“Wow! You got to drive the car!” I’m cool with that. My boys have been driving since before they could reach the pedals. FH and I used to sit them on our laps and let them steer when we were on back roads. When they grew and we were camping we let them drive on logging roads. They both can shift a manual transmission.
But, we’re in Vancouver.
“Where did you get to drive the hot rod?”
“On Marine Drive!” Nicholas is beaming. Everyone is grinning, except maybe Dave’s smile has dropped, just a little bit. Marlene reaches over and pats Dave on the back.
“Marine Drive?” Marine Drive is a major thoroughfare, not a logging road.
Dave nods his head. We don’t know each other that well, and he’s just let my twelve year old kid drive his sports car down Marine Drive in Vancouver.
I ask Dave. “How did he do?”
“Well, we rolled his jacket and put it behind his back, and he sat on a pillow to see over the steering wheel. And… he did fantastic.” Dave shoots Nick a look filled with pride.
“I didn’t stall it once!” I wish I could bottle the joy on my kid’s face.
I can’t help it. I’m grinning. Everyone is grinning, and talking, and laughing.
“You should have seen people taking a second look, practically snapping their necks to see me, Mom. I don’t think they could believe their eyes that a little kid was driving a Dodge Stealth!”
I pull a chair out and sit across from Dave. This big, wonderful young man seems all about making Nicholas happy.
Nicholas waves his arm at the group gathered in the kitchen. “We thought that maybe we shouldn’t tell you, Dave was worried you would be mad. But then we all figured you’d be fine and it didn’t have to be a secret.”
Here is the picture taken while it was being contemplated if I would be told about Nicholas’ adventure in Dave’s Dodge Stealth on Marine Drive.