My mom has a cousin that lives near BC Children’s Hospital. A long time ago I was a teenager hiding my pregnancy in a home for unwed mothers in another town when he and his wife, only a few years older than I, took me into their young and open hearts. It was summer, she would pick me up in the car with all the windows rolled down, and the wind blew my hair and dried the sweat on my neck. She took me home and I played with their two small boys while he barbequed, and she made the vegetables, the rooms full of voices and music. I would forget I was shameful. Now, they are here for my family. They bring Nicholas shrimp because it is something he liked, but he isn’t eating much of anything.
Back home, my young horse from the mare we got when I was pregnant with Nicholas is old enough to be gelded. It needs to be done now when the weather is cool so there are no flies to worry him or cause infection. The wound will drain, and I wish I could keep an eye on him. Friends are arranging the veterinarian, and they will do the best they can.
At 2pm the chemo drug L asperaginese is started. The weather was nice enough that we wheeled Nick in a chair onto the ward deck for a few minutes. The view is of a city as far as the eye can see; my country boy looked about with hungry eyes, happy to be outside but still locked in a cage.
Frankie has discovered the Nintendo at the Ronald McDonald House. I think we may have lost him.
Thursday, Feb. 4
My husband phoned his employer to let them know he won’t be working for a while. Nick got a ton of mail from his new school. He just started there last September and already he is the class president and part of peer counseling. This will be his last year in elementary school. He should be there!
The intravenous line that was in his thigh (femoral vein) was taken out today. He was getting infusions of chemo and transfusions of blood and blood products through it. It was put it in while he was under an anesthetic, but taken out when he was awake. He said it pinched just a little. X-ray results after the removal of the left lung tube are good.
Nick’s Dad and I take turns sleeping on a cot next to his bed. At night I’m sleeping through the nurse visits, but I wake when I hear Nick’s voice. His Dad and brother are at the House tonight. Nick and I shared popcorn (I ate most of it), and watched a movie in his hospital room. We lie in the dark and I can hear his restlessness. He pokes a leg out from under the covers. His skin is warm. He is wearing his SpongeBob SquarePants underwear.
Gifts and letters have been pouring in. Home is a million miles away; we are on Planet Cancer. I’m behind Plexiglas, inside looking out, mostly removed from what is happening – I think a mechanism that helps me to cope. The cries of children, the smells of sickness and the anxiety of this place I wear like clothing. My stomach jumps, a hundred little feet are kicking my insides. I want to run screaming down the hall and out the door.
He’s whispering in the dark. —Mom, I feel crazy sometimes too, but I can’t let it get to me, or I won’t be able to do this… I’m going home soon.