Monday, July 14, 2008

Holy Headache Batman!

To this day, in the American south, people still take something called headache powder when a brain starts knocking on the inside of the skull. It's one of the few regional products left in America, aside from dairy brands. Have no idea why this popped into my head as I sat down to tell you that Pablo's been getting gnarly head pains above his right eye. It's the same spot every time. He rubs his forehead, and his face goes into a knot. It's been excruciating for him. And it's excruciating for us, on the outside.

When Pablo's head started hurting last night, Jo Ann emailed Dr. Mascarenhas. He recommended giving P his pain meds (it's a liquid cocktail that contains kiddie doses of Valium and some other stuff). Once he downed the medicine, he felt better. His demeanor changed immediately. It was remarkable. Once that pain subsided, the pained Pablo let the real Pablo take the controls. The laughter returned. And he started telling me stories about Scooby and Shaggy. He's a real raconteur.

Once the stories subsided, Pablo turned toward the closet in our TV room–where we keep DVDs. He had woken from a three hour nap an hour before this. When I told him it was bed time, he wanted to watch a movie in bed. We have tons of DVDs up in there–some we've never watched. Sometimes I wonder where some of them came from. Case in point is the original 'Batman' movie. The one from the '60s. Filmed in Pasadena, Beachwood Canyon and other dastardly places.

So... Headache under a powerful layer of medicina, the night ended with Jo Ann sleeping with Grady in his bed, and Pablo and I snuggling up in bed and watching 'Batman.' From the moment the DVD menu popped up, he loved it. Of course he did! He's a little boy. And 'Batman' rocks. Pablo watched the entire movie. I feel in and out of sleep. At the end of it, we were talking about how great it was.

"Isn't that the coolest movie?" I said.

Pablo busted me, saying, "Yes, Papa! But you slept through some of it."

It's 8:10 a.m. Monday as I write this. I am watching stage 10 of the Tour de France–Pau to Hautacam. This is meant to be one of the hardest stages of this year's Tour. I was registered to do this stage in the Etape du Tour, which went down last Sunday. Every year, the organizers of the Tour open one of the harder mountain stages to a limited number of amateurs. It's a race, and it's meant to be a blast. A painful, exciting blast. Anyway, that's the Etape, and our family holiday was built around it.

We had to cancel our trip when Pablo's diagnosis came down. The real Tour champs have 2.9k to go. The Pyrenees are pounding them back with a 10% grade. The toughest bike racers in the world are losing ground to gravity and mother earth, pushing their machines side to side, ramming their feet round the pedal stroke. Gasping for oxygen in the high mountain air, these guys are in the prime of the season, doing what they've trained all year, and all their lives to do.

Much as I wish I were a bike racer, I am not. I am lot of things to a lot of people. At this moment, my main job classification is 'papa.' And I better get to it! I have to wake and dress Pablo, and put Lidocaine on his chest, to numb the skin around his port, in case they have to access him for blood. We'll be at CHLA by 8:45 a.m. Jo Ann took Grady to summer school out in La Canada. She'll meet us at the hospital.

It's Monday morning. Have a good day, and have a good week.

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