Sunday, September 21, 2008

'Round Midnight

The Wife took The Boy in to the living room at around 6:30 this morning to let me catch another hour (my fourth) of sleep, thank G-d. I'm really thrilled that she did that, because I was beyond exhausted. And, here I am, at 10:33PM, watching the last game at Yankee Stadium instead of being intelligently asleep preparing for tomorrow's school day. Sigh. I'll never learn.

On my way home from church today, the telephone rang. It was my wife: "We have a problem." Oh, s&&t. "The Boy's temperature is over 100." I added 5 MPH to the car, and she called the hospital to get a message on the service of the on-call doctor. Making a potentially stressful story short, his temperature fluctuated between 99.6 and 98.6 when taken under the arm. This way of taking the temperature is accurate, roughly, when you add a degree. The doctor said that we could go to the emergency room if we wanted, but if he was playing normally (he was), we could wait and bring him to the center in the morning. Since his white counts and platelets were relatively normal (1000 is normal for white blood cells, and his was barely over that - but, it was over that), we've elected to wait. His hemoglobin is low, but that shouldn't cause this particular problem. My wife will take him in the morning.

The Boy and I went for our walk to the comic book store after we spoke with the doctor. I figured that a little bit of sunlight would do us both good. We rested when we got home, even though he didn't sleep until my wife got home from the supermarket. At around 3:15, we left for the church, where my buddies from the barbershop / a capella quartet 'Round Midnight were singing.

It was a great show, and The Boy loved it. When they started singing, he stopped crawling and just sat on the floor (in the aisle of the sanctuary) and watched them sing. Several other times, when he was cruising up and down the pew, he would stand and peek around the end of the pew to watch them sing something that impressed him or that he recognized.

He really behaved well. He played with his toys, he cruised around, and he entertained my father and me. He also was a big star with the people at church, who are praying for him daily. (Hi, Judith!!! Your chocolate cake is truly a work of G-d.) The only time he made noise that carried was when he grabbed a song book in each hand, in the pew book holder, and shook them violently back and forth. That also startled my father, sitting right in front of that particular action.

It's funny when old people jump like that. Not so funny when it causes a myocardial infarction but still pretty funny.

After the show, we went downstairs for a reception, where The Boy proceeded to wipe chocolate all over the khakis I was wearing. He loved the meatballs (his current favorite food), tolerated the chicken, enjoyed some chips and LOVED the chocolate cake.

When we got home, his temperature spiked again. He's in bed now with my wife and still cute.

In short, it was an interesting weekend. It again raising the question of symptoms that are normal childhood colds, normal childhood complications (teething complications, etc) and chemotherapy side effects. Is the temperature a result of teething, or a growth spurt? Is it the remnants of the cold he fought last week? Or, is it an infection that settled in because his counts have fluctuated over the last week? What about the vomiting yesterday, in the car at the competition? Was it normal childhood "random vomiting"? Was it something he ate that disagreed with him? Or was it a result of the chemo? There's no realistic way to tell at this point, which is frustrating as heck for us.

Ugh. I'm reminded of my father's words: "[Children] don't come with an instruction manual." That's the truth. There's no manual for dealing with pediatric cancer - just general guidelines.

Yankee Stadium has its final baseball game tonight. This is another situation where, while I'm sad to see The Stadium go, I'm happy that a bright new one is opening up. I believe that Yankee Stadium is one of my two or three most favorite places in the entire world, and I hope that my son has similar experiences with the replacement ballpark.

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