Monday, November 19, 2007

So This is What It's Like

For 3 months and 10 days I've been seeing kids come into the hospital for their inpatient chemo, post-surgery. The kids are glowing and the parents are happy but exhausted / stressed. They know they are cancer-free and are almost out of the woods.

I now know what it feels like to be one of those parents.

Andy has been great today. Think back a month or two to when Andy had a similar day that started at 6:00am and ended late in the evening with only a 1-hour nap. Remember how bad it was? The screaming? Same thing today, only no screaming. He was generally happy today once we got to the 4th floor. He knew where we were, but things were different. He doesn't know why, but he knows things are different.

Everybody is commenting on his appearance and his attitude, both of which are so much better than even last time we were here. You know how I've mentioned he likes to be pushed around in the little car? How he never smiles but is content? Today he was laughing, giggling, smiling, and just thrilled to be pushed around in that car. He was acting the way a 15-month-old baby should act in that situation.

Speaking of that car, Julie saw it in the paper on sale and asked me if I wanted to get it for him for Christmas. My first thought was "Yes!" My second thought was that I never want to see that car again as long as I live. Yeah it makes him happy, but... the circumstances.

At around 7:30 or so Andy was dead tired but the nurses were giving report. After shift change the new nurse needs to get his vitals, so no point in letting him go to sleep. So I took him out of the room for a bit. A mother stopped me and asked, "Oh no, does he have cancer too?" Her daughter is 8 months old and has brain cancer. It felt good to say, "Yeah. Wait. No! Not anymore!" I felt a bit guilty for having said it, but it was too late, it came out. But yeah, it did feel good to say that he no longer has cancer.

When I take Andy to the Costas Center or bring him to the 4th floor, I notice that I'm one of the few dads. And when there are dads, mom is usually there too. Someone pointed it out to me one time and my response was, "Yeah, I'm here. Mommy gets the difficult job." I said this at a time when Andy was feeling crappy and screaming. But yeah, actually, this is the easy job compared to what Julie's going through at home with Joey, Emma, and running the household all by herself. Hats off to Mommy!

Another random thought. Emma's been having nightmares. 6 months ago I would have been paranoid and begun asking myself, "What am I doing wrong as a parent that's giving her nightmares?" Not anymore. Many nurses and doctors have observed mine and Julie's parenting. I know because I've seen them paying close attention. I get the feeling that they think I may be a bit too hard on Joey, but outside of that, they approve. I no longer worry about mine or Julie's parenting skills. I now know that as long as we keep doing what we're doing, then we're doing a good job.

That too, is a good feeling.

The thing that sucks about it is that in order to be a good parent, I haven't been as good of a friend, son, brother, cousin, godfather, nephew, or grandson as I'd like to be. You win some you lose some.

I'm tired. I'm gonna go lie down and break my back. I sure won't miss sleeping in the hospital, that's for sure!

Nite all.

P.S. Barry you're a jackass. (Barry & Missey, hug those rugrats for me.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Danny, you are a great son and a great dad to my grandkids! I could not be more proud of you and Julia. It really is amazing how two parents in their twenties with 3 small children and two jobs could keep going at the pace you have. I applaud you both, you deserve a standing ovation. We all love you very much and you'll be missed terribly at the Key and Thomason family Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. This Saturday at Bev's the only kids will be Courtney, Megan and baby Alison. It'll be sad not to have Joe Emma Andy Tyler Chloe and Noah there, not to mention you Julie Barry and Missey. Next year I hope we're all together again. I am so full of thanks for Andy's cure.