The life and times of the Musical family, adjusting to post-cancer life in Pittsburgh
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Six years ago, today
Six years ago, my family - then, just The Wife, The Boy, and I - finished the worst night of our lives.
The previous evening, some butcher of a resident attempted to put an IV line into my oldest son's body and failed spectacularly, leaving a bedtop that more resembled a MASH unit than a suburban New Jersey hospital. After I threatened her life, she fled. A grownup swept into the room, inserted the IV into his right hand, taped the hand so it was immobile: depriving him of his thumb, which was his primary comfort mechanism. She then left before we knew what they did. That night, The Boy screamed hysterically, all night long. To make matters better, he was scheduled for surgery first thing in the morning. He would lose 10% of his body weight in kidney tumor.
The direction of our lives was forever changed.
Six years ago tomorrow, we "celebrated" our 4th wedding anniversary. I don't remember what we did. Truth be told, I don't remember what we did on most of our wedding anniversaries except #0, although my blog tells me that we got to go for a walk together in the afternoon. Plus, many of our friends stopped by the hospital to spend some time. We were obviously distracted.
There is a string of associated dates: June 24: I have a vivid, vivid memory of Dr. Kinteraglou calling me, "You need to get back to the office. Now." June 25: the diagnosis. June 26: the surgery. June 27: my wedding anniversary. In a way, it's a shame that our anniversary is so intertwined with this catastrophe. In another way, this event is one of the things that has defined our relationship.
We're stronger now than we were six years ago. We're better people. We are a better team, and we're better parents. Our family is complete - three amazing boys. Child number three very much resembles The Boy both in looks and in mannerisms; in a weird way, we feel like we've been given a chance to see what The Boy would have been like as a "normal" child - you know, without cancer.
I could not have done it with The Wife. She's been my best friend, my partner, my confidant, my support, my sounding board, and my cheering section. We compliment each other nicely - where I have weakness, she has strength. Where I have strength, she can rely on it. It's been an amazing run, and a decade of.... well, it's not been bliss. It's been a struggle, occasionally a grind, and definitely not the normal life. But, I would not change it for the world.