They take blood to see what his white blood count is. He is hooked up to fluids to ensure he is well hydrated for his treatment. Dr. Beatty comes in to check on Zack and is charming as ever. He likes to joke with Zack about the hair coming in red with curls, or really blonde. He sees that Zack has shaved his head and says it is a good look for him. The nurses tell him that they think "men" are sexy without hair, he of course tells them of my love affair with Vin Diesel. They all agree with my assessment of the actor. Julia comes in and tells us all of his "counts" are really good. They can't believe how much is white blood count jumped up, so we are good to go as soon as they have a room ready for us at the hospital. She tells us it will be a little longer ( it is now 12 Noon), as the hospital has a couple of people leaving today and then they will have a room for him. It's sad to think that the pediatrics oncology unit is so busy. I run downstairs and get some snacks. Luckily they have healthy ones like nuts, dried fruit and hummus with pretzels, unlike at the Hospital where you find Twinkies, pop tarts and chocolate donuts. Since this is our new routine I have made a conscious decision to eat healthier, it could be so easy to hit the sweet isle, but I know that won't do any of us any good. Just as we get settled in and Zack is half asleep, we get the news ( it is now 2 pm), our room is ready. We say our goodbyes, "till next week for our follow up" and hop in the car to drive across the street to Mission Hospital .
We follow the directions to our new location and when it comes to parking, we stop and ask a parking guard where we park for pediatrics, she leans into the car and starts to give us directions when all of a sudden she jumps back and says.. rather loudly... "PEDIATRICS??? HOW OLD ARE YOU!!! OH LORD!!", Zack and I laugh, he answers "17 next month", she stumbles on her words and can not talk, we laugh a bit more as she points to a parking area and we drive off. As we enter the hospital with all of our belongings we are winding down one hall, around the corner, to the left, then up to the third floor to locate pediatrics. We see a sign for ICU and one for Heart patients, it is confusing which door we are supposed to go in. A young man stops us in the hall and offers directions. We walk through double automatic doors, you must press a button, then look into a camera before the nurses will let you in ( at least I know Zack will be safe... LOL). We are greeted by a nurse who tells us our room is at the end of the long hall. The hall is filled with colorful artwork and the ceiling tiles are art from the children. There are a row of "funny" mirror which make you look like all shapes and sizes, a WII game system is in the hall on rollers for the children to bring into their rooms to play. There is a parent "closet" consisting of a coffee / espresso machine, microwave and small refrigerator and sink. The room is a nice size, with a long counter full of empty cabinets and drawers at our disposal. There is a small closet, a good size bathroom with a shower and tub, your average hospital bed, love seat that converts into a bed and an upholstered rocking chair. The large window overlooks the roof, so not much of a view, but at this point a large room is more welcome than a view.
It is now 5:15pm and Rhonda calls. Zack and I already discussed me having dinner with her. He wants some time alone and they are bringing his dinner to him any minute. I decide to go to Walmart to get him some snacks and drinks for the next couple of days, he has found another game for his system so I am also on a mission for that. Rhonda agrees to meet me at Cheddars (like Ruby Tuesday or Kelsey's.) We catch up on the days events, I realize I can't relax.. "how can I be here when he is in the hospital?" Rhonda asks if I want to go back and bring the food with me, "I say, NO, Zack wants some time alone, he isn't used to everyone being around him so much, it's just hard not to be with him every minute right now", I eat slower and relax more. We leave after about an hour and as we are headed to my car a man comes stumbling towards me, holding a "drink" in one hand and cigarette in the other. He asks if I have a light, I say "no, I don't smoke".. he answers back (sorry, his words not mine) "YOU LESBIAN C#&*!".. I look at him and tell Rhonda to get in the car as he walks towards me.. I am pissed!!! "You don't talk that way to ANYONE and haven't you ever seen two SISTERS together??? you better get the hell away from me!" He is running around the parking lot telling everyone that I'm a lesbian with an attitude and they better watch out. At this point I don't know whether to laugh , cry or punch the guy. I get out of my car, tell Rhonda to stay in the car with doors locked, walk right past him angrier than before and he starts to walk away from me saying "I'm sorry Mam, I didn't mean to be rude, I just needed a light". I think he thought I was going to kick his ass. In reality I walked right past him, went into the restaurant and told the hostess that she better call security. By the time I come out he is stumbling across the parking lot away from the restaurant. I get in my car, drive past him (the only way out) and he is hollering something else at me.
We go to Walmart (not one of my favorite locations) and find snacks, a little accent lamp for the fluorescent filled room, Zack's new game and a pair of Carolina Blue slippers for Frank and I to share when staying there. As soon as we return, Zack has handed over his camouflage clogs and taken the Carolina slippers. He is doing really well as the treatment continues to drip into his system. He of course is still playing his game and is visiting with Karen ( the social worker from the cancer center). She came over to make sure we had everything we need. The care that Zack (and we) are receiving is wonderful. There have been a couple of glitches along the way, but that is part of the human equation. I fixed up the room with the lamp, snacks in one drawer, drinks and cups on the counter in a neat little corner. I hang up his shirts with hangers just purchased and re- arrange the love seat where the chair was and the chair in its new position. Rhonda looks at me and tells Karen that I am nesting. Karen tells us we can do anything we want to the room. Rhonda mentions the need for artwork and Karen tells us we can cover 20% of the walls. Something about fire safety. We laugh !
Rhonda is exhausted, it has been a long week for her as well. I send her home, she keeps wanting to return with pillows and her down blanket, but I am firm and tell her we are fine, go..... rest.... When I return to the room after escorting her to door, Zack is finishing up his treatment. I give him a "game off" curfew of 10 pm and as soon as the game is off, he starts to feel bad. He is given some benedryl and falls asleep.
It was a good day. He is glad he is alone tomorrow to rest and play his game. He has been promised visits from friends and family throughout the week. Frank will be with him tomorrow night and I will be home trying to give up control. We know how easy that is for me..... HUGS !!!
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