Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pabi-Pabi-Doo Where Are You?

The 21st Century Digital Boy with his new skool space age light bulb. I told him if he squeezed the bottom as hard as he could, it would light up. He tried it! Ah, the age of innocence!

Sitting down for dinner tonight was cool. For the first time in a long time, the entire family was here. Plus, our Brentwood dinner angel, Sharla Crow, joined us. She brought a giant tub of Carrie Wiatt's sloppy joe goodness, and, to balance out all that healthy stuff, a giant thing of cupcakes (I had two).

It's Nana's last night in town. She flies back to Houston tomorrow. As always, we've been happy to have her with us for the past week. She has been Pablo's constant companion, and has been a huge help all around the house. She'll be back for the August surgery, so we'll see her soon.

Our conversation ranged from Grady playfully accusing Jo Ann of making him take tests for high schools he didn't want to go to (he was joking, seriously!) to Sharla telling us about the fireworks at Malibu to Grady talking about standing on the roof at his dad's house on the 4th, and seeing the fireworks at the beach, at the Rose Bowl and everywhere in between. Sounded very nice. Jo Ann joked that we were holed up in a windowless room at CHLA on the 4th and didn't see anything.

As we laughed and chowed, Pablo warmed up, and began to smile and laugh along. He'd woken from a long nap shortly before dinner, and was having a tough time coming around to all of us noisy big people. Halfway through our meal, Pablo asked for grapes. His appetite has been sporadic at best lately. So, when he asks for food, we run to prepare it. Grapes are particularly good for him right now cos they are, um, roughage. And keeping him regular–and in the deuce zone–is a big ticket prize around here lately. Dr. Mascarenhas noticed his belly was pretty severely distended when we were at the clinic yesterday. It'd been nearly three days since P had gone P.

So, the good doctor had a nurse administer something that I'd only e'er heard jokes– good old fashioned enema. After the mandatory 15-minute 'holding time' Pablo, Polly and Jo Ann made a bee line for the ladies' room. Moments later, the bomb dropped, and we all cheered. Homeboy strutted out of the toilet happy as a clam. He was happy–seriously, you could see it on his face!

After dinner, Pablo showed me the mountain of Scooby Doo movie DVDs that Mommy picked up for him today. A week ago, the dude had never heard of Scoob. Today, he can't stop watching him. (And we can't wait til he grows up and meets some stoners, and realizes we polluted his mind as a youngster!)

Anyway, enough potty tawlk. I'm just saying that lately there's been more sorrow and sadness and post-surgery, post-chemo haze around here. The laughter and good cheer we had this evening was NEEDED and WELCOME!

Hope this post communicates the simple joy we had at dinner. I want to send those Gamma rayz your way.

1 comment:

Dave Burke said...

To: PABLO!, Jeff, Jo Ann & Grady,

I have read every word of your blog since I heard the news that rocked the Castelaz family, their friends, and their loved ones.

My wife, Laurie, and I are off doing different things now, but we both worked at WBR for twenty years.
We both dealt with every artist manager that you could think ever think of, and we always admired Jeff for the way he respected the unique talents of his artists, and for the way he treated people. That is a rare gift in this business.

We also share something much deeper with Jeff and the Castelaz family. In 2006, our daughter, Kelsey, was diagnosed at the age of thirteen with a rare form of leukemia, and one that typically did not have a good outcome. One minute I was on a baseball field in Northridge coaching our younger son's team, and one pediatrician phone call later, we were walking into CHLA looking for our room with our head spinning. Jeff is right, this could happen to anyone at any time. Life is fragile.

The bottom line for us is that Kelsey has overcome the odds, been through chemo, been through radiation, been through a bone marrow transplant at City of Hope that was potentially fatal, and is with us, and strong and radiant, and living a full life. She is probably much less scarred from our experience than either Laurie or I. Kids are a lot tougher than we adults give them credit for. But I will never, ever, take a day for granted again.

As someone that has actually walked in the shoes that Jeff and Jo Ann are walking in today, I just want to say that their ability to face this head on and share their experience with others is incredibly inspirational. I accepted it and dealt with it much like Jeff, but not in a forum like this. I guess I was too "old skool". But every time one of the hundreds of people would ask me how Kelsey was when I was doing something I never did before, like school drop off or grocery shopping, I just told them what it was. And usually that wasn't very pretty, and usually they were pretty shocked to have to deal with my response. I think honesty is the one tried and true way to live our lives, and I can tell from this blog that Jeff operates the same way.

Jeff's post the other day "4 a.m. Eating Waffles" was one of the most moving, honest, naked, things I've ever read in my life. And I've been there. I know exactly what was going through his mind and it's not a fun thing to grapple with at any hour. Jeff mentioned R.E.M.'s song "Everybody Hurts" in one of his posts, and that was the first thing that came to my mind reading his post. I encourage anyone that faces pain to do what Jeff did or I have tried to do, which is to acknowledge it, and let it go. We're human and we feel things, thank whoever the big conductor on the universal stage is for that, but I'm glad we do. I've lived my whole life by "feel".

It's obvious that Jeff & family have a phenomenal support cast and that's what kept our family going as well. I'm sure many people did things for us that were never properly acknowledged because Laurie was living in a hospital room for a year straight with Kelsey, or I was too brain dead or distracted to do so, but please know that every kind gesture, word of encouragement, hot meal,
means a lot. When a family goes through this, they are never really "there" like they used to be "there". You're kind of in a strange haze all of the time. I just found out last week that I coached an entire fall ball baseball league that I have no recollection of doing. Pretty bizarre.

I happen to believe in the power of "energy" more than any organized belief system, and I never questioned that in my darkest hours of Kelsey's illness. Whatever belief system that anyone chooses to place their faith in, it still comes down to energy in my mind.

I have and will continue to send dear Pablo all the energy and positive feelings that I can muster. He will get through this and it will make Pablo and all that he touches stronger for it.

-Dave Burke