Every day my Mom’s cousin and his wife bring Nick something to eat but he nibbles only because we pester him.
Neighbors who moved to the coast a few years ago, Peggy and her son Stefan, had an appointment in the city and came to the hospital. Stefan was in the same elementary grade as Frankie. Our family took him with us camping late one September, a brilliant autumn, with bright, warm days and chilly nights. The almost deserted campground in the trees beside the dark blue Kootenay Lake became the three boy’s playground.
The two older boys included Nicholas in every adventure and at night we tucked into sleeping bags tired but happy children. Today, the boys missed each other because Nick was in a diagnostic, but he barely lifted his head off the pillow when I told him.
Tuesday Feb 16
The first two chemos, Idarubincin and Fludaribine, are infused at 4 p.m. Because Nick’s appetite never returned from the last round of chemo, and he is still puking they are trying another anti-nausea drug called Ondancitron.
My mom arrived on Sunday looking rested, recovered from what ails her. She’s been my step-mother since I was nine. My younger sister and I had been without a mother for four years by the time we got her. I was used to having my friend’s mothers exclaim what a poor unfortunate child I was and give me cookies.
When I got a mom of my own I wasn’t sure what to do with her, and she never having been a mother before, and now with seven and nine year old daughters… well, she and I locked horns.
Our relationship needs work. We are different people, and in the years since dad died an old demon she struggles with has gotten worse, but we love each other and I’m glad she’s here.
We were allowed to take Nicholas to the House for the night. It was an episode from the old TV series THE WALTONS when the three of us settled into bed in our room – goodnight Mom, goodnight Grandma, goodnight Nicky.
I’ve run a bath for Nicholas. The water is not to hot and not to cold. I help him into the tub, his legs a little unsteady – “a side effect from the chemo,” they tell me. He slouches gently in the warm suds, rounding his back, each vertebrae protruding.
Just as when he was a baby I carefully wash my child. His burgeoning independence at the tender age of eleven when he used to say “I can do it Mom” has disappeared, evidence of this overwhelming sickness.
Wrapping him in a big generous towel belonging to our beautiful room at the House I gently dab at the drops of water around the dressing of the CVC (central venous catheter). He puts his hand on my shoulder for balance, and lifts each foot as I slide underwear up his long legs, over big knees and a little bum. Still crouched down I look up at his face and his hand stays on my shoulder. He tells me, “You take good care of me, Mom.”