Childhood cancer, Parenting

A Crazy Day

The King

One of the funny things that has come out of my writing so much recently is that my husband has started to see how I see the world. Last Monday we had such a crazy day that he said at least on five separate occasions: “Oh you have to write about THAT!”

And it was a crazy day. We had a few different appointments at the hospital planned, so we knew it was going to be busy. But we hadn’t counted on The King being in a bit of a mood. Elliot is just so completely fed up with hospital visits, and chemo in general. And I can’t blame him. He has been hospitalized twice for a week each time, had minor surgery (implanting the port-a-cath) and major surgery (kidney removal), two weeks of radiotherapy that scared him and made him quite sick, and 23 rounds of chemo so far. Martin and I are totally fed up too! But we have no choice. Three more chemo doses to go, we just need to get him through this.

King Elliot began the day declaring he was unhappy that I had woken up before him and not told him. I had been up since 6, in the hopes of getting some writing done before the Iron Ruler awoke. I managed to make coffee, chat with Daniel (middle child, age 16) who needed to urgently update me on the baseball standings before he left for school, put a load of laundry in, pick up the toys still scattered around the living room floor, pour myself some of the coffee, turn on my laptop, take one sip of the coffee, and that was the end of my “free time”. The King emerged from the bedroom, rubbing his eyes with one hand, holding his polar bear in the other, grumpily stumbling into the kitchen declaring that the sunshine was too bright.

We had to leave for the hospital at 10, and started getting ready at 930. By 10:20 we were in front of our apartment building, standing next to our car with all the car doors open. Elliot was standing halfway down the sidewalk (only just within earshot), staring at a spot on the ground, holding his umbrella. It was a nice sunny day, the umbrella was a result of the fact that no hat had been deemed comfy enough today, but the sunshine was still too bright. He refused to get into the car, on account of the fact that we had not walked to the car along the path he wanted. Then he refused to get into the car on account of the fact that it was the red car and not the black car. Then he refused to get into the car because he couldn’t walk all the way to the car anyway because his feet were too tired. When we approached him to pick him up, his tired feet ran away.

We did finally manage to get him in the car. When we got to the hospital, we did not park in the right spot. The walk from the parking lot to the entrance was too long and the wrong elevator doors opened first which basically ruined the potential fun of the elevator. There was no point in pushing the button himself since all the joy of elevator riding was gone, but when Martin pushed the button that made everything even worse.

Our first appointment went ok mainly because the radiology doctor hardly touched him and she let him sit on a chair that spins around. Martin and I spent the appointment trying to contain the spinning so that nothing in the room was damaged, especially our child or the doctor.

Lunch: Fries too hot. There was a yucky sauce on his burger. He didn’t want a burger anyway. The walk to the restaurant was boring and there was nothing nice to see. The walk back to the hospital was ruined because it was windy so he had to be carried.

Oncology department: We arrived a bit early so had to wait, an already challenging task with all of us starting to lose patience with everything in general, but especially with the imminent chemo treatment looming before us. Finally we get called in for the pre-chemo exam by the oncologist. Elliot pretends the doctor doesn’t exist, and won’t answer any questions. He plays with a toy with increasing loudness as we talk with the doctor. Then he agrees to get on the table, and giggles a bit at the doctor’s jokes, but criticizes his reflex hammer because it’s not the same colour as the last oncologist’s. The physical check up takes longer than usual but finally we’re done and sent to the chemo waiting area… which is when Martin remembers we forgot to put the Emla cream patch on, which anesthetizes the port-a-cath area so a needle can be inserted painlessly. So we put the patch on and have to wait another hour for it to have the desired effect.

Finally heading to the chemo room. Elliot won’t enter. I pick him up, kicking and screaming, and put him on the bed. It takes Martin and I five minutes of struggling to get one arm out of his shirt, and then he gets his hand free and pushes it back in and we start over. Martin and I are physically and emotionally exhausted, and start laughing, slightly hysterically.

Two nurses, Martin and I, are holding him down while they put in the needle and do the chemo, which takes about 10 minutes.  Or five years, time is different in the hospital.

Finally done. The nurse says to Elliot: “Well, was that really so bad?” He replies: “No, but next time I’m REALLY not doing it.” She writes something down on his chart.

Next appointment is in roughly 2 weeks, if the bloodwork is good. She writes down the date and time on a little card which I stick in my pocket quickly and we all basically run out of there. We head home. He gets sick in the car. The red car’s seats are not easily washable, like the black car’s. He warned us it was the wrong car.

Once home suddenly everything is great. His polar bear is there waiting and he gets to watch a movie right away and has a popsicle before supper.

Daniel gets home from school and tells me about his day and how difficult his French teacher is being, and that he will need help studying for biology and chemistry so since I’m not doing anything, can I help? And do I have any IDEA how hard high school is?

I quickly do some laundry (mine and Elliot’s clothes, which seem to always need a good wash after a chemo day). Did any of you note my mistake? Yep. The little appointment cards were in my pocket. Here is the photo, post laundry. Anyone care to try to tell me what time we should show up for our next appointment?

Our next appointment

Martin and I finally find each other at about 9:30pm, on the sofa, Elliot beautifully asleep, Daniel off to his room, Jesse out for the evening… We are alone, and it is quiet, and we stare at each other for a few minutes, and then both start laughing.

Martin says “What a crazy day!” and I say “Why, what was so different about the day?” and he practically throws his wine glass at me.

8 thoughts on “A Crazy Day”

  1. My hat off to you and Martin, sounds like he woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but he must be nearing his tolerance for the hospital. And washing the appointment card really is a funny antidote. Nothing crazy about that day in the least, well maybe a little crazy, what kind of sauce was on the burger?

  2. Excellent post, this makes Fynn seem almost reasonable. I have learnt that the appointment time is whenever we choose to turn up. After such a long time, you have the right to choose !

    1. Hahaha! Oh, I wonder if Fynn is only “almost” reasonable because he’s one year younger than Elliot? Although I still blame my husband for the stubbornness, it’s a trait they both share. It couldn’t possibily come from me… 😉

  3. Au moins peu importe ce qui c’est passé cette journée là – vous avez fini avec un verre de vin ensemble 🙂



  4. Your patience is so impressive 🙂 Sounds like a crazy day – but so nice Elliot is done another round, and you and Martin ended it with laughter.

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