Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Me+Dean+Scott at Santa Monica Beach near lifeguard station 25, a very special place for me. This photo was taken around 6 p.m. 17 May 2003, my birthday. Exactly five years later–to the minute–I would discover the lump in Pablo's adbomen. Scott was four months into his battle with cancer in this pic. Photo by Francine McDougall.

Today would have been Scott's 43rd birthday. It's been on my mind so much that his bday was coming up, and I completely blanked on it all day, until my brother Dean reminded me. I knew something was up today. It's been an intense day. Something powerful was pushing me around all day, and now I know what it was. Had I done something sensible and sane like putting it in my calendar, it might have spoiled the awareness that a unique energy was flowing through me.

Today has been a tough day. Work was intense. From 6 a.m. until I walked in the door at 10:45 p.m., it's been a non-stop banger. I saw Jo Ann and Pablo for about 15 minutes this afternoon. Grady is with Jimmy, so I didn't see him at all. Tomorrow, I will take a walk and breathe and remember my big brother. It didn't happen today. He'd understand if he were here, sitting next to me. Or he'd tell me I'm a big fat selfish jerk. Either way, I'd be happy to see him. So I'm just going to have to accept how today went down, and start fresh in the morning.

Happy birthday, Scott!

This blog is about Scott's nephew, Pablo. So I will get back to the main attraction....

Chemo went very smoothly on Tuesday. He had that gnarly fever Monday, and Polly dropped him at CHLA round 1 or 1:30. He got his usual round of antibiotics (pumped into his chest port), and Jo Ann was taking him home at 7:30. A nice six hour unplanned field trip to the hospital. The good news is that his port was accessed and ready to go for chemo on Tuesday morning. That saves time on chemo days.

Monday night, I slept with Pablo. His fevers came back in cycles, and we knocked them back with liquid strawberry Tylenol. The stuff can be administered every four hours, and it holds the fevers at bay for two to three hours. So there's roughly an hour that is hot for P and emotionally painful for us. In the middle of the night, he was burning up. I popped the electronic thermometer in his mouth. 104.3 degrees. Insane. I woke him up and gave him Tylenol. When his temp is that high, it's impossible for me to go back to sleep. My head gets riled up. And I like to monitor his temp every 10 minutes to be sure the numbers are going south. After about an hour, he was back in the 100 zone, and I was ready to lay my head down. 100-point-anything is OK with me.

Pablo's gotten to the point where we say 'thermometer' while he's sleeping, and he just pops his mouth open and lifts his tongue. He looks like a turtle when he does it. Super cute. And when we wake him for meds, he sits up but doesn't really wake up. Once the liquid is down the gullet, he is back to sleep. Jo Ann and I were talking about this the other day. It's convenient and adorable...but we both wish he didn't know a thing about it, yknow?

Despite the high fevers, Pablo has been on quite a roll. He's back to his old self: loud and proud, rambunctious and rascally, jumping and jiving all over the place. After surgery and the first dose of Red Devil, he was a different kid for almost two weeks. We didn't expect it to go on as long as it did. Speaking for me, I didn't think the dip in his energy would be so drastic. Now we know what to expect after Red Devil. And he gets it this we are ready....

On the medical front, urine and blood tests are clean. Dr. M is not concerned that the fevers are the result of any infection. This is great news. We accept the idea that the fevers are from the presence of large tumors in his body–tumors that are dying, taking up space rent free inside Pablo's body, space that doesn't belong to them, that will be returned to its rightful owner in just a few weeks.

As usual, it's late for me. Gonna sign off. See you tomorrow.

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