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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Please pass the Throw Up Bucket

9:45 p.m. Tuesday, 8/26 Update

Liam just finished throwing up for the third time in an hour. Chemo throw up for Liam is a total body experience…it sounds like his toes are throwing up and every vertebrae in his back. It comes out his nose. He makes an awful wretching sound. He spits frantically to clear the throw up from his mouth while whimpering “there’s more – don’t move the bucket!” And over and over he says, “I don’t like throwing up. I don’t like it at all.” But tonight, after his third throw up session and before I had even wiped away the combo of spit, he raised his head from the throw up bucket and said in a cautiously excited voice, “Mommy – One plus one is two! And two plus two is four!” And as soon as I had him cleaned up, he curled into me and started picking out the letters he recognized on the front page of the newspaper. “Mommy – There’s my letter – and L. And that letter is for dog it’s a, a, a, D! And that’s my other letter…a W. Over there is a snake letter. What’s it’s name again?” The effects of the anti-nausea pill are finally setting in and he’s asleep covered in a Batman blanket that arrived yesterday and surrounded by little puppy, big puppy, monkey puppy, duck puppy, super soft yellow blankie and pilly the pillow which has the ever-present magic rock attached to it and a new addition, a lucky stone passed along from Aunt Franny’s son Ben. The lucky stone has a picture of deer painted on it and Liam insisted on having it reside with the magic stone.

Today was the second of two very long hospital days. We arrived at 8 and left around 4:30. We painted, weaved a complex spider web using colored plastic string across his door, booby trapped several of the cabinet doors in his day hospital room, constructed a gate using elastic string and insisted on each visitor announcing their intent before coming into his room, worked on identifying letters, visited John who is in room 26 in the day hospital this week, read his anatomy book again and again, learned how to take a pulse and took Dr. Kushner’s, asked Dr. Kushner (which is still pronounced, “Dr. Kush-shen-ner”) to explain how oxygen gets into blood by using the diagram of a heart and lungs in his anatomy book, gave Dr. Kushner an unexpected hug when he was leaving and again admonished him for not being around recently, learned where clavicle bones are located, walked with Ester to her office so that we could watch for signs of limping, played his Leapster game and was focused by how much Wall-e could recycle, drank a few sips, ate nothing, peed a lot in the cup which is always thrilling (Holy Mackerel Mommy – Look at how much Pee Pee is in there!), played with three squishy rubber balls with hair-like strings that can be squeezed, looked for places in his body where he could see his veins, read “There’s a Map in my Lap” and discussed all the different kinds of maps there are and what kind he’d like to have (one with “his” beach house on it), wanted to know how an umbilical cord works and how it fed him when he was a baby in my tummy, recited how the digestive system works from taking a bite to it becoming a stinky, moaned about the long day in the hospital, asked more times than I could count when we were going to get out, watched Curious George, didn’t take a nap, and kept a watchful eye on the Pooh balloon that was accidentally released on the second day of the 1st cycle of chemo that is still out of reach but not out of sight. The minute the first two stroller wheels crossed the threshold out of the hospital front doors and onto the busy York Avenue sidewalk, Liam fell fast asleep and was sleeping so hard he didn’t even wake up when I lifted him and the backpack containing a pump and fluids for the night from the stroller and gently placed him in the cab for the ride home. John’s mom, who happened to be outside, stuffed the trunk of the cab with all the “stuff” that goes along with Liam to the hospital and closed the cab door.

Tomorrow and Thursday should be much shorter days. It’s a good thing. We’re not conditioned for super-long hospital days and are still recovering from our eight-day hospital stay with another hospital stay on the horizon. But the long days are now chalked off the check list of things that need to happen in order to get him back to where he so very much wants to be…school. Tonight will probably be a long night but tomorrow…tomorrow is a brand new day and one step closer to being back on track.

P.S. Yesterday we sent an emissary to the inpatient side to deliver a note to Victoria. It included a reminder to get up and walk…one foot in front of the other…and a stick figure drawing of Liam with his big, silly smile. We’re not allowed on the inpatient side, just like when we’re inpatient we’re not allowed on the day hospital side. When our emissary returned from his mission, I couldn’t tell who was more touched…him for having learned about Victoria and seeing the huge smile the note from Liam brought to her face, or me for hearing how Victoria smiled.