Yesterday’s blood counts were:
WBC (white blood count) 0.3
AGC (absolute granulocyte count) 287
Today they are:
WBC (white blood count) 0.6
AGC (absolute granulocyte) count 500
His bone marrow is recovering, making new blood cells and there are no cancer cells.
My dry mouth droops open towards the paper in my hand.
“Is it good Mom?” He’s just put on his shoes. Even his feet have lost weight, I didn’t know that was possible. Skinny long feet dangle, pointing down to the floor, his shoes are close to slipping off his feet. Muellers, our friends from Olds, are coming to pick us up for a drive.
“It’s good baby.” I smile.
Frankie and his dad called from home last night. The horses have been moved off our property for the winter. Miss Daisy Dog has been with Carol and she wants Sam our silly black lab/ malamute (Sam I Am with the yellow eyes) to stay with her as well. He’s such a mild and good boy. He allows a bike helmet on his head for a photograph with many wags of his tail. He never wanders. He has a heated water dish and a brand new bed for his dog house. He can stay at home, look after the place and keep Richard the cat company. People will randomly drop in, passing through to Nelson or back, they check up on our place.
The autumn weather in Calgary is all gold and red laced sunshine, warm through the glass of the truck. Inside his windowless hospital room is another world on a monotone planet that doesn’t have night or day, or seasons. Muellers make small talk, or we sit in comfortable silence. Nicholas looks out his window.
We drive around Calgary; past the Saddle Dome and Spruce Meadows. It’s getting near time to have something to eat. Larry tells Nick if he sees something he wants we’ll stop, but we can take it back to the Ronald McDonald House. People stare at Nick, with sympathy or curiosity or a mixture of both. It really bothers him. Nick sees a Taco Bell so Donna and I go inside and buy supper for us all.
We bring it back to the truck. Nick takes one whiff and heaves a minute amount of what looks like tap water onto the pavement in the parking lot. He didn’t want to eat. He just wanted to please us. Larry drives to the hospital with the bag of food in the box of the truck so Nick can’t smell it.
The covers tucked around his chin, I kiss him on the forehead.
“It was a good day, Mom,” Nick says. Then he falls asleep with his empty tummy.
Monday, October 4, 1999