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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Glitter

It was two weeks ago today that Liam was admitted to MSKCC and it is hard to make sense of the time span. On one hand it feels like an eternity and that we have so far to go before he will be well again. On the other hand it feels like just yesterday we found out our son was ill and our lives would never quite be like they once were. So much has happened that our sense of time has become distorted. In the last two weeks we have dealt with the shock of the initial news, and quickly come to know more about cancer, chemo, it’s side affects, pump alarms, diaper rash, infection, chest tubes, nurses, hospital politics, NYC rental market, generosity, selfishness, sleeplessness, each other, true friends, fear, priorities, vomit, rubber gloves, blogs, family, blood counts, transfusions, non profits, biopsies, bone marrow, cat scans, hand washing, neutropenic, mucosis, fever, morphine, depression, heartache, sadness, joy, broker fees, oncology, fellows, insurance companies, patience, resilience, exhaustion, Liam, our son, and ourselves.

Liam had a good morning. His friend Gabriel who works as a Janitor in the hospital has really gone above and beyond to make Liam happy. Liam loves machines and the floor polisher is one cool machine in Liam’s eyes. No matter how busy Gabriel is he always stops and goes out of his way to attend to Liam’s requests to push buttons, hold the polishers handles, (I will get a picture of this at some point) wring the mop, turn on the fan used to dry the floors after mopping, and to provide Liam with opportunities for discovery and friendship. Searching for the floor polisher has been a great source of inspiration for Liam to take walks over the past few days. Gabriel’s simple, genuine; acts of kindness to my son do wonders for his spirits. Gabriel takes Liam’s mind off of his pain, and discomfort, not to mention his surroundings by simply playing to Liam’s little boy desire to see how things work. Gabriel truly is an angel.

Liam has discovered the magic of an ipod. Liam knows how and when to remove the blood pressure sleeve and selects what arm he wants the nurse to use. He places the pulse sensor on his finger and removes it when the machine sounds the beep telling the nurse that the test is complete. He pushes the syringe to help his nurse flush the lines in his chest with saline. He takes medicines by mouth without a bit of complaining as many as 10 times a day. He even helps the nurses take blood culture samples by pressing the test tube into the special adapter that allows blood samples to be taken from his chest tubes.

Liam has a friend name Jesse who I will guess is about 15 years old. She is a sweet young girl with beautiful red hair who like Liam seems too young and too cute to be so ill. She made Liam several gifts today, one being a star that states “Liam is a Super Star”. Jesse is fighting cancer as well and has been in a great amount of pain but today she found the strength to reach out to our dear 2 year old son who in turn rewarded her with one of his coveted popsicles. I think Liam and I will make Jesse a glitter card tomorrow to cheer her up even though I have a major aversion to glitter. The first time I walked into the play room and realized everything was covered with glitter I turned to Gretchen in absolute fear and proclaimed “OH NO there is glitter everywhere”. Needless to say I am slowly getting over my fear of glitter. Liam literally pouring it all over my lap has likely helped me face my glitter demons. Then again it may be that seeing Liam be so brave in all that he is facing has shown me that being afraid of glitter is kind of silly when you really think about it.
It is just glitter after all…………