Jo Ann came to bed just before midnight. Pablo and I were down for the count, but I woke up when Jo Ann came in. I could feel the heat emanating from Pablo's body when I woke. Jo Ann felt him, and noticed the same. She grabbed the thermometer and popped in his sleeping mouth. He was 101 degrees.
They have drilled into our heads that fever is very serious, that we can't take a wait-and-see position, and even a small fever is a fever. We have been instructed to call the hospital and speak to on-duty oncologist in the event of even the slightest temp escalation.
Jo Ann was knee-deep with the doc in seconds. Still in bed, in the dark, I could tell something was up. I could hear her reciting our surname one letter at a time. This was our first fever call; in the back of my mind, I think I was hoping the doc needed Pablo's full name to fill out some paperwork, to document the call.
I was wrong.
Jo Ann hung up the phone and rushed into our room. "We have to get him to the ER right now," she said. "The oncologist is calling us in right now." (This is significant, cos the last thing we want to do is sit in the waiting room. It's nuts in there.)
We got dressed in seconds. Splitting duties, Jo Ann woke Pablo and got him upstairs. I ran up and grabbed the keys, the medical binder that J and her mom, Patricia had finished an hour before, and P's Lidocaine, the creme that numbs the skin on top of his port. Jo Ann applied it in the car on our five minute drive to CHLA.
We caught every green light down Silverlake Boulevard, and up Virgil Avenue. It was right out of a movie. Did I mention we got the CHLA in five minutes flat?!
So, here we are in some off-the-path room in the ER. It's cool, though, cos it's a private room with walls, as opposed to a "bay" separated from other patients by a curtain.
When we got here, a familiar face greeted us. It was the Stephanie Valenzuela, the nurse who worked with us the night of my birthday, when we first arrived here to have that bump looked at. That was before we officially became a Cancer Family. Seems like a year ago. In reality it was 11 days ago.
Stephanie is one of the many wonderful, gifted people we've come in contact with here at Childrens Hospital. She has a light in her eye; we feel that she truly cares about Pablo; it's more than a job for her.
It's funny how in life, we look for restaurateurs, craftsmen and contractors, shopkeepers, et al who have these same attributes. Entire magazines are devoted to finding the most "authentic" food and furniture joints. Nothing wrong with that.
But as we sit in Room T4, I'm thinking, the people who make up this hospital ought to have a mag dedicated to them. They make this place more than just a building, more than an institution. They give it heart, and they take away the mystery that can often put fear and that special type of loneliness into the patient and parents.
On a lighter note, Pablo's meds have been administered-900mg of Ceftrixone-and we're chillaxin for another 30 minutes, so they can be sure he's OK.
Jo Ann is cracking up, doubled over, laughing at my hair. Not surprising. Yesterday, Fred and our friend Bryan Erwin were debating whether I had a "Beethoven" or an "Amadeus."
Maybe you'll agree that my locks look insane. If you laugh, I'm OK with it. Here's a pic from Jo Ann's Blackberry:
Jo Ann is still cracking up. We can see Pablo's smile from behind his mask. His eyes are lit up. "I like the grey in your hair," Jo Ann says.
"I like the black," is Pablo responds, laughing hysterically.
It's 2:30am and we've gone from racing through green lights to laughing about Papa's kooky hair.
What a difference 90 minutes makes. Have a feeling we're gonna get used to this.