March 22, 2012: Back on the 8th floor

by Georgia

I intended to write a post today about all of my parenting insecurities in the context of having a cancer kid (so many insecurities!), but lucky for you, we are at clinic instead!

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On Monday, Dr. Parikh told us that Elsa has a double ear infection but that it looked like it was resolving. Guess not. We came in with a fever of 102.3 to have her ANC checked. If it’s under 500, we’ll be admitted. Thankfully though, it is still the ear infection! He says her ears look awful, so at least we know the source of the infection. Most admissions, there is some question in the back of my mind that maybe, just maybe, it’s a port infection (one of the worst possible things). We’ll take double ear infections any day!

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It’s now 7:00 and we are snuggled into our new, fancy hotel room here at Chez CCMC. ANC was 160 so we can plan to be here a couple of days, at least. They think her counts will probably drop lower before they rise over the magical 200 that sets us free.

As I sat down to write this, I have to say that I was bizzarely, deliriously happy when we arrived on the floor. The misery of our last hospital admission has taught us to be thankful [very, very thankful] to NOT be on isolation and sick ourselves. I’m not totally sure how we survived that last admission in one piece. Actually, you know what? Those kinds of, “I dont know how we did it” statements are really just bullshit because if cancer teaches you something (well, it teaches you many things), it teaches you that you WILL handle whatever it is that barrels in your direction. Still, our last admission was surely our worst thus far.

Now though, we have a hundred things to be happy about! This last week has been rough because she has been miserable fighting the ear infection and I have been so on edge, just waiting for this admission. I was so tired of obsessively checking her temperature, waiting for the fever. It was almost a relief to see the 102 and know that, finally, I could stop anticipating with dread. Plus, now that we are here, they gave us the biggest, most comfortable room on the floor that has a set of double doors to block out the noise from the nurse’s station. We are not on isolation and are free to roam the halls and use the family kitchen and playroom. Even the IV pole is great! They gave us one that has a little platform attached to it where I can rest my coffee in the morning as we make our morning rounds of the floor. Luxury! This is all so luxurious!

Ah see. . . Perhaps I should not have sat down to write. As I write, familiar feelings are creeping in to visit. Feelings like, “I shouldn’t write that things are going well. That’s such a risky move,” and “Her counts are so low that NOW, she is at risk for a port infection. Tomorrow could bring disaster.” “Don’t write anything down so that your future self doesn’t look back and wonder at your naivete.”

I’m sure I’ve said something like this before, but I sometimes feel like I’m in an empty, padded cell, yelling and batting invisible, threatening shadows. I plead, “I know it could get worse! I know! Please, please, please let THIS be the worst part.” I think I’ve gotten pretty good at snuffing these feelings out – but when I’m least expecting it, and especially when we are inpatient, my mind always wanders to the same place. I see her up in the ICU with a thousand clear tubes shuttling fluids and air in and out of her tiny body. The screaming in my head is deafening. I’m not totally sure how to snuff that out completely.

Oh gosh. Enough! We have an IV pole with a little stand attached and, in the morning, I will rest my coffee there as we walk the halls. Right? Yes.

Our day in the usual 1,000 pictures:

Dark-circled little worrywart:
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Worrywart gets examined – though I’m proud to say she is generally pretty easy-going with this stuff as long as we follow a couple of her rules.
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If I were to look back in my posts, I think I could find this exact same photo, wearing the exact same jammies!

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For a little change of pace, we ventured down the hall to the 8th floor waiting room to eat some goldfish with Baby Dollie (really original name, I know).

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Trick of the trade: Whenever admitted to the hospital, BRING PILLOWS! As many as you can stand to carry.

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Goodnight!

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