I was grateful to have called ahead to the clinic area of the hospital because they called ahead to emergency. This is especially critical because of Daniel's suppressed immune system. He canNOT sit in the petri dish of an ER waiting room so it goes like this: we walk in, Daniel and I don masks before we say hello. I say our name and "leukemia" in the same sentence, and inside of 3 minutes we are in an isolated room. Praise God!
Unfortunately on that night two attempts were required to establish an IV, but Daniel is tough as nails and he didn't even fuss. Temp was 103.
At this point you are probably entertaining a mental picture of a listless, feverish, blond-haired waif, but I have to set the record straight: Daniel is as spunky and personable with a 103 degree fever as he is without it. It's a mystery to be sure, but I'll tell you, I recall one particular 3 a.m. ER visit during which Daniel entertained the socks off of everyone the entire time while his mother wanted nothing more than to lie down on the floor and die (though in my defense I had not taken an hour-long nap in the car, but I digress . . .) This night was no different for Daniel who was funny and sweet and charmed all the nurses until they positively giggled and never let ten minutes pass without saying, "Mama, can we play Go Fish?!" It's almost as though this kid refuses to feel sick!
For a couple of reasons I was 95% sure we would be admitted. First, Daniel's fever was going up instead of down. Not good. Second, to be sent home, his ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count) had to be over 500. ANCs are unpredictable sometimes, but a week and a half prior his had only been 446 and since then he had gotten sick, a sure sign that it would have gone down, not up. I had packed for a long haul and Daniel and I were both prepared for one. As I mentioned in Part 1, the last time Daniel had a fever, we were in the hospital for 10 days waiting for his ANC to rebound. This night as we sat in that little room while antibiotics flowed into his system and awaited word on his ANC, I asked Daniel if he most wanted to sleep at the hospital or go home. He assured me he wanted to stay and when asked, I confessed that I wanted to stay too. Then we prayed about this together and discussed what each of us likes about staying at the hospital. His answers involved tomato soup and hot chocolate at every meal, playing in the playroom, seeing friends, and a LOT of one on one time with Mama. My answers were that it's quiet there and I get a LOT of one on one time with my Nanoo. I discreetly declined to mention that a hospital admission also provides a temporary escape from the never-ending challenges and duties of life at home that I am frequently too heart-weary to perform well. I know how to be successful as an inpatient cancer-mom. Lately the rest is dicey at best.
Anyway, we saw a couple of docs, ordered dinner (including tomato soup and hot chocolate!) and waited for the ANC. Then we waited. And waited. And waited. Good grief, everything that night took For. Stinking. Ever!! I knew I couldn't count my chickens yet but alas, they had been counted and I allowed myself to feel grateful that I wouldn't have to drive the hour home. With the migraine that continued to brew after the CRAZY night before, I allowed myself to be thankful that soon we would be able to just go upstairs and sleep! No school tomorrow. No chores or hustle-bustle. No doctor's apt. across town or driving to Friday night activities . . .
Finally after around 3 hours of Go Fish, a doctor popped in and said, "Hey, great news! His ANC is 640 and we're going to get you guys out of here!"
We were dumbfounded. We were thunderstruck! When the doctor left, Daniel started to cry and I had to fight so I wouldn't cry too! We just couldn't believe it. No playroom; no friends; no peace and quiet or one on one time; no reprieve from duties and expectations. Good grief - we were disappointed!! I texted the news to Chad and some friends who had been praying but with every "Praise God" and "Great news!" that came in reply, I felt so alone because I couldn't explain that I was sad about being sent home. I felt like a common criminal, frankly, and I didn't know how to navigate that. It took another hour to get discharged before we drove home and I cried myself to sleep, greatly exacerbating my headache I'm sure, not to mention making me feel like such a jerk! Ugh, what a mess.
Well, the next day our crazy mess got messier still.
To Be Continued . . .