Mom blog: Because I Said So! Preparing the big ones for the hospital

Graydon at MTV shootHa! I’ll bet a few of the mums checking in here think today’s title refers to the biggest boys in the house—the husbands, dads and lovers. While it is important to get them to their doctors (you remind them, you make the appointment, you remind them again), I’m talking about the bigger kids, in my case, Graydon. This boy has been through a lot—leukemia and two and a half years of chemo is the highlight—and the crap just keeps coming. The cure rates of childhood cancer have soared over the last 30 years, but the late-effects are huge and even though they’re being aggressively attacked through research, kids such as Graydon and the sons and daughters of all my fellow cancer parents are the ones paying the price.

A new late-effect has cropped up, and what it means treatment-wise is that Graydon must self-inject medicine every day for at least one and a half years, maybe more. On one of the rare occasions that I don’t spill all here in the Mom Blog, I am respecting his privacy and not blabbing that diagnosis (it will likely kill me—the keeping it a secret part, that is).

So we had a grim appointment at the hospital: two hours of one-on-two to learn how to self-inject and mum-inject. I dreaded this appointment more than my root canals. In the full 30 months of chemotherapy, I’d never given a needle into flesh. Into tubing, yes, but not into flesh. In fact, I, to this day, cannot watch a needle go into me or anyone else. At blood donor clinics, I even ask for a paper towel to go between my arm and the tubing and another paper towel on top so I can’t see the whole thing.

So we come to the sad fact that I needed as much preparation as Graydon did!

• We had a serious talk the night before. “Are you up for it?” I ask. “Yeah. I’m good for it. I don’t think it’ll be a problem.” WHAT?!?!?! Apparently this appointment would only be a problem for me.

• We made a plan for getting to the appointment. One hour before the appointment was to start, the plan fell through. Graydon couldn’t get there. Curse working mothers! Curse convoluted busing systems! Graydon scrounged a ride and grabbed a subway. We were late, but we made it.

• We went through all the paperwork and information the hospital sent. Mind you, it was me reading out loud at red lights, since Graydon didn’t want to hear any of it until the very last minute. Check.

• At the appoinment, ask a lot of questions. I did. So did the nurse, who quizzed Graydon up and down on the diagnosis, history and types of treatment, his treatment and more. Because he’d heard it literally 20 minutes previous, he was all over it. The nurse was impressed.

Then, the final test, the first of some 550 shots, where Graydon just picked up the needle, positioned it, plunged it and counted until he could pull it out.

I WAS SO IMPRESSED. BEYOND WORDS. And let me tell you, if you don’t already know, I am very rarely beyond words.

• A reward. We had lunch in the cafeteria, which Graydon loves for the nostalgia of it all and the peirogis. My reward came in the form of a $4 coffee. We both survived.


3 Responses

  1. I think the perogies were well deserved. Good for him. And I think you more than deserved the $4 coffee. Hope it was a latte or something special.
    It’s amazing what kids (teenagers, too) can do for themselves if they have no choice in the matter, isn’t it?

  2. Yes, it was a vanilla latte. I love those things. I could drink eight of them a day instead of the eight cups of coffee I DO drink, which range from dreck to pretty good and back to dreck. I’m going to go Google “make starbucks vanilla latte at home.” Bye! And thanks everso for reading!

  3. Is this sad? I am responding to my own response to HoHoHo. I found exactly how to make that vanilla latte. And I’ll be posting that on Thursday, June 5. Look for it!

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