Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Elvis has left the building"

"Heading towards the exit "
The time has come to say goodbye to the Hospital staff. Zack had his final day of chemotherapy today. Yesterday went well, Zack slept and played his video game most of the time. He had Leah come by to visit with her boyfriend and little man. Later in the afternoon, shortly before I arrived, Mom had surprised him. She has never been able to get to the hospital to see him and was determined to do so before the end of his treatments. Finding a ride for groceries for her is one thing, but finding someone to bring her to Asheville is quite another. My brothers friend came up from Georgia and told Mom she would take her anywhere she wanted to go. Meme (Mom) brought Zack all sorts of treats and he was glad to see her and spend time with her. Amy (our nurse) was able to meet her as well, and simply fell in love with her. I arrived around 7 pm with dinner in hand and before long was spread out in the recliner and fell fast asleep. 

This morning, Zack was still asleep when treatment started at 8am. They have been moving the time up by two hours each day in order for us to get out early today (we usually are not out until 9 or 10 pm). 

Amy is right on top of things and once we are halfway through the treatment, Zack has asked for Benadryl so he can continue to sleep through the day. He is anxious about getting out and prefers not to watch the clock all day, not to mention the fact that as each day progresses he is more nauseous. 

As he sleeps, I eat breakfast and start to pack the things we no longer will need throughout the day. Around lunchtime he awakens. His appetite has been off, as is usual with his Hospital stays, so he tells me just to grab anything in the Cafeteria. I return a little while later with two kinds of sushi, knowing he would not have liked anything else they had. We split the variety and neither of us could finish, it was simply horrible this time! He was up and sitting in the recliner this time, so I finished the packing and took a couple of loads to the car. It was 1 pm and we were scheduled for release at 4:30 pm. 

The Doctor stopped by to check in on him, scheduled a 10:30 am appointment for the Cancer Center tomorrow for his Neulasta shot and congratulated him on his last day!! Amy had purchased him a small elephant and named it Alf (short for Alfredo). I got teary eyed a couple of times and she would tell me to stop or she wouldn't be able to finish out her shift. Karen stopped by as well to congratulate him. 

By 4 pm everything had been packed and all that was left to carry out were a couple of bags and a rolling suitcase. Zack finishes up with the Mesna (Mesna assists to detoxify these metabolites by reaction of its sulfhydryl group with the vinyl group. It also increases urinary excretion of cysteine.) and by 4:30 his port is de-accessed, a cute little Dora band aide is put over the area and we are out the door. We meet Amy at the entrance to Peds and turned around to say goodbye. Everyone was waving, wishing us luck and saying they will miss us, they made Zack promise to return for a visit with hair!!! Since last month, the policy is (or is again being followed)  to be escorted downstairs to our vehicle. Amy offered to roll the suitcase and walked us to the  second floor exit.  As I hugged her goodbye, thanking her for everything, we again got teary eyed. She laughed and said "I told you to stop that!!!" I still have to work!!!

My emotions are all over the place. I am feeling relief, fear, anxiety and disbelief that we are at this part of our Journey. Trying not to show any of these emotions, we listen to music on the way home, grab dinner at a drive through and I lighten up a bit on the way home. I am tired and Zack for some reason (he thinks because he slept all day) was wired. Unfortunately when we arrive home, none of his friends are returning his texts or coming by and he is bummed. I remind him that this is a school night and they probably have homework (knowing full well, that has nothing to do with anything). We try and protect our kids at every turn and if that helps him through today, then that's what I have to say. We all know teenagers they have one track minds... even Zack does that, tomorrow he will be surrounded!!!

As I settle in for the night,  after a short time of catching up with Frank, (we haven't seen each other except for a couple of minutes during changing of the guard) I crawl into bed. Frank totally understands my exhaustion, saying he came home yesterday and was sound asleep by 8 pm. Some might think sitting in a Hospital is rest, but the emotions are what's draining. I lay in bed and write the blog. It is my way of processing everything that is and has occurred. I'm now seeing that I will need to read everything from start to finish one day, to see what we did, 'cause I have no earthly idea!!! The rest of this week should be easy. Mesna and perhaps transfusions later in the week, with Zack one never knows. His body is fast at healing and his mind is strong. 

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