"Mom, I decided I am never going to expect things to go as planned anymore." CJ said as we hit our first obstacle of the day which soon developed into a full fledged obstacle course fit with mazes, dead ends and u-turns.
We arrived at the hospital main entrance at 9am as previously instructed to 'check in' for our over night stay. CJ and I valeted the car, hauled our heavy bags over my shoulders, followed the construction detour at the main entrance until we reached the make shift admitting desk not realizing then that we had just entered the unforeseen obstacle course. Ten minutes into the question and answer phase of check in, the clerk told us she could not find the orders and we would have to go to the doctors office first and have his blood counts checked and then the doctor would write the orders. So we lugged our load and walked the block to the doctors office building and up to the 5th floor. This clerk looked less perplexed than the other but also informed us we were in the wrong place. We would have to go downstairs, take the hall to the very end and 'check in' before coming to the office to 'check in'. So we hauled our load again and continued to follow the obstacle course. CJ was most concerned with me of course, and kept asking if I was okay. That is so like him. He's the one on chemo who is probably exhausted doing all this walking and he is worried about me. We decided to make the best of this and joked about the fact that instead of chemo for him we would be checking in for back surgery for me. He thought that was funny.
After ten minutes of deja-vu with this clerk, answering the same questions from earlier, we headed back up to 'check in' at the office again. CJ got his blood drawn, they offered him candy and off we went to wait for the results. At this time, I began to think it may be wise to start asking questions in advance and not wait for instructions. So I wander out to the desk and ask about today's procedure and what to expect since we still had not even checked in to the hospital. That is when they realize he was supposed to have another spinal tap today and this requires you to be put to sleep which requires you to not have eaten any candy. They scramble to figure out what to do and I begin to wonder how this got overlooked. During this process I am relaying everything by phone to Chris who is reminding me to ask more and more questions which lead to more and more discoveries of things overlooked. Like the fact that no one set up his home health care for him to receive the final two doses of chemo at home this Sunday and Monday. I immediately realize this will mean an extended stay in the hospital if they can not set it up in time. Now I am really wondering how this all got overlooked.
Re-enter the obstacle course.....after arranging for the social worker to try to set up the home health we are sent to 'check in' at the hospital again. We load up our bags and make the long haul back to the hospital and down the long halls again. When the clerk looked at me confused, I almost laughed out loud. Not at her mind you, but at the situation. She stares at the paper for a minute and then sends me to 'check in' down the hall. After answering the same questions for the 5th (or was it the 6th) time (I lost count and I actually started to wonder if I was absolutely sure my son was Christopher Thomas George Jr. date of birth 4-5-99)...anyway we were then sent upstairs and settled into our room. I have never thought a hospital room would be a welcome sight before and I said it out loud. CJ thought this was funny because we were excited at the sight of blood last week and now we were excited to get a hospital room. Life really is changing fast!
Fast forward a few hours, a few phone calls and a few tears and here we are: in the hospital room, with a rescheduled spinal tap set for tomorrow morning at 8:30a.m. Followed by a discharge in the late afternoon to switch over to home health. Chemo will be delivered and a nurse will come and administer it in the home multiple times this month. That will be a nice change from the constant driving to and from the hospital. It will also be a nice relief on the gas bill! Please join us in prayer as we ask the Lord to show us favor in the nurses He sends to our home. May they be his very hands and feet as they deliver and administer the chemo. And may we be wise to discern which ones he is sending to our home to encounter His love, not just give it.
I wanted to share the lesson I learned from CJ today.
At one point, CJ had left the hospital room to get a snack from the nourishment room across the hall and when he came back he said, "Mommy, there was a lady and her little boy being taken to a room and she had the exact same look on her face that you did when we came in here for the first time. She looked like she was in shock." He felt so bad for her. I kept thinking, how does a 9 year old boy who has had a really long day and is going through his own struggles see and read the face of a grown woman he does not even know and realize how deeply she is struggling.
Later, when I was leaving the hospital this woman happened to be going downstairs at the same time so I practiced what I am learning from my 9 year old and I looked at her. He was right. She had that look in her eyes. I introduced myself and told her that my son saw her and was concerned because he recognized the look on her face. I told her we had that same look on our face a little over a month ago. I wanted her to know that we understood her pain and that it would get better. It would get easier. I told her the ground would come back up. I couldn't believe I was standing there encouraging another mother so soon and I thanked God for the opportunity. Seeing her flooded me with reminders of the emotions that attempted to suffocate me in those early days. I prayed silently that God would be with her and surround her with His love. I remember hoping she had the support and love of friends like we have had through all of you. Then I got in my car and was stunned that CJ was right. And once again I said to myself, "I really need to be more like CJ."