Saturday, January 20, 2007

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Stupid trach.

We had yet another ER run the other night. Stupid trach. No big deal, just an infection; a "take two of these and call me morning" kind of ER run. He'd been so fussy, though, and so uncomfortable. Thomas has hit the standard for "inconsolable" maybe three times since all of this started, but the other night was the fourth.

I was home alone, and when he continued to gasp and screech after I'd changed his trach, given him my cell phone, and taken him outside, I panicked a little. I called 9-1-1.

I got about half-way through the conversation, though, and thought, "Wait a minute. He's still crying, so he doesn't need oxygen. I'm worried about his trach. What can EMT people do about that? I have clean trachs in the right size, I know CPR, I have suction . . ." So I told the operator I'd take care of it myself after all. I didn't stop panicking, but I realized it was pretty much Children's or nothing.

Scott got back and Thomas calmed down a little* and we headed down to the ER. Scott took Thomas to check-in, and I parked the truck and indulged in self-pity. Stupid cancer. Just when you think you're back to normal, some crazy, stupid thing happens just to show who's boss and it's not you.

As I was walking back inside, I ran into Nick and his mom. Nick is a teenager who started treatment for cancer a little bit before Thomas did. His mom is a trip - she introduced me to the oncology floor and to the concept that one can hang on to one's sense of humor, if not one's sanity, during this process. And Nick! Nick looked great! Nick had just gotten accepted to his first choice college! Nick graduated from cancer!

He was so sick the last time I saw him. Here I am, I thought, complaining about trach stuff, and here is this reminder about how close to the edge we were all living just a couple months ago. Stupid complaining.

Still feeling raw and out of sorts, I checked on Thomas. The nurse said, "Oh, hi, Thomas is over here. He is getting so big!" I couldn't decide if it was stupid or not that the ER nurses know about my son's growth progress, so I went up to ICU for some fresh coffee. The guy behind the counter said, "Girrrl, you're not back here, are you? I thought y'all were doing good!"

And so on. Every tentative step into something closer to real life makes it harder to believe that we really lived in the hospital with our son's life in peril for all those months. It brings the fact that we are still dependent on clear MRI's closer to home, as well. I am happy that we are known and loved at Children's, but as we drove home at midnight I thought, man, being in the hospital? Stupid.

* Because of course, Scott has the Daddy Magic

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At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

totally stupid.

hey, i've been meaning to write to you and thank you for the note you sent me for my friend--the one whose son has cancer. the note you sent had a few errors in it-long story--but i didn't want to doctor your email, didn't want to bother you again, so then i just ended up incommunicado--sorry.....i have given her your email address, but not the actual note you emailed me. (you had called her leslie, when that's her last name, etc.) anyway i worried i had been insensitive to you to even ask you to do that--forgetting that you had your hands very full and maybe weren't quite ready to be a shoulder--maybe you were still very much in a needing-a-shoulder position. so, thanks.

sorry so long, and it makes me smile to see thomas' red cheeks and hair.enr


At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't know why hair is followed by 'enr.'

At 1:12 AM, Blogger Ctelblog said...

Ach! Trachy's really are such a laugh. Sorry you had such a stressful time.

And it never seems to be "just an infection". Trachy makes them so vulnerable.

Wish I had the "Daddy magic". The boy's back in hospital (chemo, neutropenia, late at night, ambulance, blah blah blah). Spent the weekend chasing him round the bed trying to change nappies. He's going "no no no" and holding his hand up like he's on 'Will and Grace' or something. only when I make a desperate lunge and rip the thing off him will he let me change him. A strategy that only works with wet ones. Dirty ones are a whole another story.

At 5:56 PM, Blogger Thomas, as told to Sarah said...

Well, I certainly don't have it. I have learned to change them upside down (bum first) because I don't have enough hands to keep him down. I'm not very encouraged about on the when-he-can-actually-Run-away scenario....

I do so hope things go as well as possible through chemo for little Ctel. Y'all are too kind.

At 7:31 PM, Blogger Wedding Girl said...

so sorry you had a rough weekend. last time we talked all was well...

i just looked at your most recent photos on flickr and MAN!! thomas is SO CUTE!!! and getting freakin' cuter every day!!!!

i love you, friend.

At 6:38 AM, Blogger Mrs. Bick said...

If you ever want to really practice your quick change diaper technique, I will certainly loan you Sullivan. These days we don't call it diaper changing, just wrestling. By the end the changer (Jason or I) is just hot, sweaty and worn out. Sully, he is once again fresh and rarin' to go! Go figure!


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