We spent the whole day in clinic for infusions of platelets and red blood cells. It’s a big square room with doors to exam rooms and offices along the walls, a few hallways, a corner with toys and a television, and lots of chairs and comfy couches to crash on, for kids with cancer and parents alike who can’t keep their eyes open during a long and mostly boring day.
We have to wait for blood test results. Yes, his blood is thin so platelets are ordered, and sure enough he’s low on hemoglobin, so order up some red cells, too. Three or four hours later a nurse comes with an IV pole, across the linoleum, over the carpet, past a chair with a child curled up asleep on it and parks the pole beside Nick sitting on the floor playing in front of the Nintendo (something we never bought our boys – GET OUTSIDE TO PLAY!).
“No, don’t move Nick, I can hook you up here.” The nurse is kneeling on the floor beside him while he makes minor adjustments with his arms, not missing a necessary move on the controller he’s holding to zap an enemy spaceship, so she can access the lumens hanging from the CVC and attach the IV line. Immediately fluid the color of weak skim milk is infusing into Nick as he is given lovely platelets.
A few hours after that a crimson bag, or two, of beautiful blood red cells begin the trek down new IV tubing. By then, Nick has retired to a couch and is yawning widely as the nurse tells him, “You’re on the home stretch now.”
We’re the last ones in clinic. It’s early evening; everyone has gone home except us and our nurse. “Mommmm, I HATE this WAITING!” It’s a crime when he’s feeling well enough to be somewhere else but he’s stuck here.
Drip, drip, drip… there’s at least half a bag left.
“Hey, Nop I Cop Kop,” I say to him. He stops squirming on the couch and smiles back at me.
“Mop O Mop,” he says. At the same time he reaches up with his arms and pokes his legs off the couch in a massive stretch. “I want out of here!” He’s yelling but there’s a laugh in his voice.
Heather’s oldest daughter Fawn, on one of her trips to the hospital to visit her sister Melissa, taught us a pig Latin that exchanges “OP” for the consonants in a word. Vowels are pronounced correctly. So FAWN would become “Fop A Wop Nop.” NURSE is “Nop U Rop Sop E.” And Nick is hollering this at the top of his lungs!
I’m wiggling on the couch beside him giggling, “Call it again Nick!” I egg him on.
“Nop U Rop Sop E! Nop U Rop Sop E! Nop U Rop Sop E!”
His little boy voice alternately cracks and squeaks making us both laugh uproariously. It feels great, amazing, a release after weeks and weeks of unbelievable suffering, for both of us. The nurse steps out of a doorway halfway down the far wall with a grin, half confused, half they’ve lost their minds.
We laugh even harder. Today it’s OK that the infusions take so long.
Tuesday June 29