In walks a man whose hair is a mess, looks like it hasn’t ever met a comb before. His button up shirt is buttoned wrong and half of it is hanging out of his pants. This man’s glasses look like they have been stepped on a few times so that one side is bowing way out and the other looks normal. As I examine this man walking into my son’s room I realize that he kinda looks like Dr. Duddy. Just then my heart drops, is this seriously the Doctor that is going to treat my sick son? It’s only 7am, how could anyone look that torn apart already? (Later I would find out why, but that is a different blog!) But there is something about the way this Dr. presents himself that makes me relax a little. He is friendly, outgoing and talks to Ethan like he really cares. He lets me ask questions and gives me answers that make sense. He tells me of the treatment plan and then asks if I have more questions. He hands me his business card on the way out and tells me if I have any questions to call him. After laughing with my mom when he leaves I notice that he is the Director of The Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases of Las Vegas. I am stunned. This crazy looking man is the Director of a reputable place? Amazing how we can truly never judge a book bases on its cover. We would soon learn that of all the Pediatric Oncologist we were truly blessed to be assigned this one! This day was probably the longest one. They started an IVIG treatment which stands for, “Intravenous immune globulin.” This is basically plasma that helps replenish platelets and other items in our blood. This IVIG treatment took most of the day. They started Ethan off with a little drip at a time for a few hours to see if his body would have a negative reaction and then they started to increase the amount little by little. I tried to take a nap while Ethan was sleeping in my mom’s arms, but it was extremely hard for me to do. Every noise woke me up so after a while I just quit trying. I took a walk to the Labor and Delivery floor to see my co-worker who had just had a baby the day before. Boy was she surprised to see me! Around lunch time a few different people stopped by that I still have not forgotten. The first was people from the Ronald McDonald house. They brought me and my mother a sack lunch that had a sandwich, chips, snack and soda in it. They explained that they did this everyday because a lot of parents don’t have the time or the money to get themselves lunch. I was so overcome with gratitude to these two strangers. How a little sack lunch brightened my day I will never be able to adequately express with words. A little later another lady stopped by and since Ethan was napping I stepped out into the hallway with her. She was from a Children’s Cancer foundation that was all about support. She told me of little bracelets they had for the kids and little charms they could get each time they had a chemo treatment, IV or other things like that. She was so thoughtful and apologetic about our situation. Her care at that time was something that was also greatly appreciated. After my mom and I ate lunch Aunt Anjali came to the hospital to visit and see if there was anything she could do. After much prodding from my mother, I went home with Anjali for a few hours to get some sleep. I know, some of you might think me crazy for leaving my son; however two factors contributed to why I felt ok to leave my son. #1, my lack of sleep was making me crazy. It had been nearly 36 hours since I had slept. I could hardly think straight and bright lights were starting to hurt my eyes and #2, what more capable hands to leave my son in then my mother’s? After about a two or three hour nap Anjali brought me back to the hospital. Ethan had taken a good nap while I was gone and I felt 100% better and more like myself. After school was finished Chris came out to the hospital and pretty soon so did Grandpa Blackburn, Grandma and Grandpa Nelson, Aunt Anna and Uncle Enrique. Ethan’s room was like a party.
Everyone including Ethan was laughing and joking around. Even Ethan’s nurse from when we first got to that floor stopped by just to say hi and see how Ethan was doing. He gave her a few smiles and she agreed with us that he was doing much better! The nurses told us that once the IVIG was done they would do another blood draw and platelet check, if his numbers had gone up the Dr. had ok’d us to go home that night. With this hope in sight my anticipation of getting Ethan home that night grew by the minute. Aunt Anna took Ethan out in the hall and sat him in a little hummer they had, he of course loved this.
This particular floor of the hospital was not crazy about visiting hours, but when they came to draw Ethan’s blood everyone ended up in the hallway and so they decided to say their good-byes then. We waited quite a while for the results of that blood draw, apparently the lab was really busy at 9pm. Ethan was asleep in my arms when they came and told us that Ethan’s platelets had increased which meant that the treatment had worked, and that it wasn’t leukemia. Oh the joy that swelled within my heart the moment they told me that. Somehow hearing that made a dim light appear at the end of a very dark and scary tunnel.
Chris took Ethan so I could go check us out. Because it was so late I got sent on a wild goose chase, but eventually found my way to the emergency room and to the financial lady who would check us out. This lady tried to get me to pay the full amount of our bill, which was crazy high; I politely smiled and told her that they could bill us after our insurance had paid their part. I quickly went back upstairs and got everything ready to go. We walked by the nurses’ station before we left and thanked them all. Ethan was in his car seat wide awake and smiling. I didn't realize it then, but now I can only imagine the joy they must have felt to see one of their patients leave with a smile. We told them we hoped to never see them again; I gave a hug or two and then our little overjoyed family made our way home! We had only been away from our home for a little over 24 hours but I have never been so overjoyed to lay my baby in his crib as I was that night! It’s amazing what has to happen in our lives in order for us to REALLY appreciate the small things that matter so much!
Oh and did I tell you that this is where Ethan officially learned how to crawl? Pretty great accomplishment considering he had an IV in his arm! Ethan has always been my tough guy!