My blog was based on the Journal I wrote sitting beside Nick’s hospital bed 1999 – 2000. The first blog post for HIMH was November 2011. I’ve regularly posted blog entries from the Journal but I’m struggling now, skirting the edges of a wall.
My friend Lorelie’s six year old daughter Kendra relapsed three years after a regime of chemo for leukemia. Lorelie said it was so much harder, so much more sad, and horrifying having a history and education in the terrors of cancer treatment – knowing what was to come and how much her child would suffer. A bone marrow donor was found and Kendra got her transplant. She survived the grueling transplant protocol. It was the longest year. The most unforgiving year. Kendra relapsed again, and died. It was 1999.
It took a long time and boxes of tissue after Nick’s death for me to be able to go back and read the Journal at the beginning (of the end). I began the blog in November 2011. Faithfully I post each month. My stats show thousands of people have visited my blog and were introduced to my little boy, his plight and his family.
The Journal marches toward the day he took his last breath. It isn’t long now. But my fingers have stiffened, and I’ve become afraid to write. I read the Journal as I prepare each post. It is so hard, and so sad. I’m a wet, wringing mess when it’s done. At the time, 1999, we didn’t have a clue. We were told he was dying, but we just couldn’t comprehend losing this amazing and beautiful child.
But you see, now I know how it ends.
I’m still posting, just not so much about the Journal. You’re still reading. Thank you for that. I will finish what I set out to do in 2011 and put up the whole Journal. I’m just going to give my tender heart as much time as it needs.
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