The Ronald McDonald House in Calgary has rooms with private bathrooms. We didn’t see anyone as we dragged our suitcases through hallways and sitting areas. It’s clean and quiet and our room is like a small apartment, but without a kitchen. I’m sure we’ll meet people when we cook our meals. I think people are more inclined to stay in their rooms instead of mingling like we did at the House in Vancouver. I’m already missing that big, beautiful place.
Alberta Children’s hospital has its oncology clinic near the main doors. Nicholas has a chest X-ray and then is admitted to Q cluster.
Today Nick has a CAT scan, bone marrow biopsy, and lumbar puncture. A man wearing a fishing hat poked full of colorful hooks followed Nick into the procedure room. He’s the anesthetist! When I said that BC Children’s had done the biopsy and puncture without a local anesthetic a nurse just shook her head and said, “Oh dear, that isn’t very nice.”
Nick is vomiting and clear gelatinous poop runs out of his bum. The staff changed at 7PM and it isn’t long after report that a familiar face comes into Nick’s room with a pretty smile.
“Nick!” Charlene was one of his nurses at BCCH. He’s feeling crappy, but he’s happy to see her and tells her that we followed her to Calgary. I’m going to sleep here with Nick tonight.
Wednesday, September 1
Nicholas had a bad night. Every hour he asked to use the bed pan, bending in half from stomach cramps, and he’s very weak. I think by now, so long since the last chemo, he’s full of cancer and the cells are spilling out of him. He’s had blood tests to check his kidney function.
A letter to home:
We are in Calgary (arrived August 29th) as BC Children’s said they could do no more for Nicholas. We’ve been accepted at Alberta’s Children’s Hospital for treatment with a second phase (test) drug.
Nicholas had a bone marrow biopsy and lumbar puncture, CAT scan, chest X-rays, and ultra-sounds. His kidneys are in distress. He’s only been here a couple of days and has already received 5 units of platelets. He was so dehydrated and sick the staff didn’t get more than grunts out of him. Now, he’s come out from under the covers, and people tell him it’s nice to see his eyes. He is saying hello, please and thank you and asks for their names.
It’s painfully obvious this is a much wealthier province than BC. For instance: Nicholas has had a CAT scan. In Vancouver, he burned for weeks with raging fevers. Three times he was given chest x-rays that failed to turn up anything conclusive. Finally, he was given a CAT scan and two fungal balls the size of golf balls were found inside his chest. The poor kid suffered so needlessly.
The west coast is very humid and I’m told there is a higher risk for infection in a humid climate as opposed to a more arid one such as here in Calgary.
FH and I moved to Alberta after we were married. Frankie was born in Olds, and Nicholas was born in Killam (east of Camrose).
It feels like we’ve come full circle. Leaving BCCH and their diagnosis was the only thing we could do. Here we have hope. I pray this next leg of the journey will be kinder to our little boy, whatever the outcome.
We love beautiful British Columbia, it’s our home. We are so lucky to have a wonderful community who has stood beside us holding our hands. You’ve warmed our hearts. Your prayers and strength are finding their way to us here in the East. God bless you all.
Nicholas, Frankie, FH, and Susan