Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Mom, they're just scars"

The car is packed and ready for the hospital week. Drinks, snacks, lunch items, clothing, laptops, X-box and yes, even my Keurig  Hey it's less expense and better for you than all those soft drinks. We arrive at the Cancer Center for our 11:00 am appointment. I make a grand entrance (Don't I always?) and announce to everyone that Zack is now an early graduate. Everyone is congratulating him and Zack is just shrugs his shoulders and says "Thank You.". He, unlike his mother has never really liked a lot of attention. We get settled in and Angie access' Zack's port and takes a sample of blood for his labs. As always, this will determine whether we go into the Hospital or not.

Angie "showing off "the platelets.. 
Dr. B. comes in and checks Zack's vitals. She checks his leg where the tumor was removed and where he later sustained burns from the radiation. I haven't seen it since it was nearly healed (he, being your typical 17 year old is shy).  Even I was surprised at how well it has healed. This poor kid has scars all over his body from surgeries, a few cuts from playing with knives and the radiation. Through everything, he simply says "Mom, they're just scars."  The doctor tells us that she doesn't feel like he will be going to the Hospital today, and the lab results confirm her suspicions   He has a large bruise on his stomach (the bruises so far have been very small) and the doctor says that he is going to need platelets. This is a first for Zack, which surprises everyone. Usually at this stage of the treatments it is more common to have already had platelets. (A platelet count is a test to measure how many platelets you have in your blood. Platelets help the blood clot. They are smaller than red or white blood cells.) He also receives a double blood transfusion. We are given the choice of going into the Hospital later in the week or next week. Since we want Zack to have as much time to heal in between treatments (even if it means extending the treatment completion date). Angie comes and tells us everything is on order. It usually takes an hour or so for everything to come in. 

Even sleeping, he looks "cool"
We move into a more comfortable room with a bed and recliner. Zack gets Benedryl when he has transfusions and this tends to make him fall asleep. He sets up his x-box and settles in to play some video games. I make myself at home in the recliner with my Kindle and phone. It isn't until later that I run downstairs to get my laptop to start the blog and play some Words With Friends. The recliner has a heater and massages as well so I was in Heaven. Before I knew it, Zack was getting his IV fluids and I fell sound asleep. (who wouldn't while being toasty warm and having a massage). I awoke about an hour later and ran downstairs to the car for some snacks and drinks. As the day progressed, the platelets were the first to arrive. They came in a bag just like the blood and fluids. (see picture with Angie). It only took about 20 minutes and they were done, by then the blood arrived. As I watched Zack, his eyes were getting heavier and heavier, as he still played his game, but I could tell he was fighting sleep. Unbeknownst to be (or Frank) he had stayed up until 4:30 am with his friend, playing games. Frank and I had fallen asleep early and since (for once) I never woke up until morning, he wasn't busted. About half way through the day he finally fell asleep. Angie turned out the lights and just let him get rest. I was watching my show on Netflix, so I didn't need any light. I had already made my phone calls. One was to Mission Hospital about my request to review my request for "Charity care" (when they offer discounts based on income). Sue was rather abrupt and said "Yes, I did receive your request to review our denial and I have forwarded the information to my manager," Perfect!!! That's all I ask. Whatever the outcome, at least I tried. Zack continued to sleep until the transfusions were complete, around 6 pm.  We had been at the Center for 7 hours and both of us were ready for some dinner and home. We are instructed to return Friday morning for labs. They want to ensure that he gets blood and platelets, if needed, before the weekend. 

Not ever being one that likes change, I am impressed with how I have learned to roll with the punches. I never once got upset when they told us of the change in plans. I have learned that sometimes there are better "forces" at work and whatever the reason, if we just go with it (within reason of course) life can be easier.  Zack decides he wants to go back to TGI Fridays, so we grab a quick bite there, call Frank and offer to bring him something, but he is eating leftover chili he had made (which was amazing).  By 7:30 pm we are home. Zack received his final high School report card and made all A's (something, he reminds us, that he hasn't accomplished since Middle School). We grabbed the food out of the car, but decided to leave the Hospital bag, at least that way we won't have to re pack. Then again, it may bug me and I may just unpack again anyway. (to reorganize). I will just pretend I am Scarlett O'Hara " Tomorrow, I'll think of some way, after all, tomorrow is another day". 

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