Friday, April 2, 2010

Reaction 1: WTF?

First reaction: Huh? What?

When Dr. Graves told me that we were stopping chemo, it floored me. Obviously. (That doesn't take special insight to figure out.) We knew this was coming, and the latest round of tests indicated to us that it would be coming sooner rather than later. We had no indication that it would be happening NOW, that they would just send us home instead of giving us chemotherapy.

That was actually really difficult. The Wife and I were keyed up into hospital mode: keep positive spirits, prepare for long periods of time doing nothing, prepare for long periods of time being spent chasing The Boy around and keeping his tubes out of trouble. Prepare for running back and forth to the playroom, with some occasional trips to the 6th floor outside garden and maybe to the gym for physical therapy. Lots of watercolors, lots of markers and crayons, lots of Thomas the Tank Engine and Mary Poppins. (What a team-up, there - I wonder if Mary Poppins ever visited the Island of Sodor?) Prepare for not seeing each other much, except in passing as we hand children back and forth. Prepare for phone conversations instead of real-life talking, and prepare for sharing a twin sized hospital bed with a little boy rather than the nice, comfy queen-size with my wife and a little boy or two.

And then - home in time for dinner. Huh? That's a lot of emotional energy left with nowhere to go. That's a lot of planning and preparation that vanishes into vapor. Don't get me wrong - we're happy about it, but also more than a little bit confused. I expected to be waking up right around now and preparing a breakfast plate for The Boy, doing the every-other-hour thing with his diapers and waiting for the never-ending parade of nurses, nurses' assistants, residents, doctors, and specialists to come through.

And, all of a sudden, things start to open up. I've started to consider - and to discuss - things that haven't really been on the docket for a while. Does this mean that The Boy will be able to attend some sort of preschool? Play with other kids more regularly? Does this mean that both my wife and I can work (well, one of us part-time) next year? Does this mean that we can actually start saving for - and planning for - a house?

Does this mean that we can start living our lives?