It's been a long day in a summer of long days. And tonight we will sleep well. Pablo and Mommy are snuggled up in bed at the PICU. I am home with Chili, Beans, Dauphine and Pablo's fish Grinchie. Grady is home with his Poppy, Jimmy. Nana and Boo are at the hotel downtown. Polly and Francine, who were with us all day, are home resting. Francine just send a note to me and Jo Ann saying what a great experience it was today. And that 'PICU' is her new fave word.
Pablo looks great. He is bouncing back much faster than with his last surgery. His face is back to life, and as the hours wore on this evening, he even started to smile and laugh a little. The nurse is hearing all the right sounds in his tummy, and he is peeing a LOT through his catheter. AND he is hungry. All incredible signs of a snappy recovery and a HAPPY BODY. Last surgery, I recall this slate of stuff taking days to come back to normal. Another big diff this time around is an epidural pain relief system. Despite having a hard-wired doping system, Pablo is not juiced up the whole time. When it hurts, he tells us, and the nurse pulls out the "1 through 10" pain chart, and he points to the face and number that corresponds to his pain. And then the nurse injects the proper amount of medicine into the system. It's cool, and it's immediate.
Pablo has eaten three or four styrofoam cups of ice chips. One after another, he chews and swallows them. The dude is hungry. Like Scooby and Shaggy and Cheech AND Chong.
Jimmy is bringing breakfast to the room in the morning. He is the general manager at Fred 62, the 24/7/365 diner that's an institution in Los Feliz, and home of some of the best pancakes in the world. They have these other-worldly mini-pancakes called Billion Dollar Pancakes. One of the reasons I am waking up tomorrow is cos I got a fever for the flavor of those things. All I can say is, if Pablo isn't eating by morning, I'll have plenty of Scooby Snacks!
Jimmy has been a pillar for us this whole time. He loves Pablo, and Pablo loves him. There were many stretches of days over the summer where Jimmy hung with Grady so we could chill with Pablo at home, with one less teenager up in the crib. In our mixed-and-matched familia, there are all kinds of moving parts. One of them is Jimmy pulling up in front of our house to pick up Grady. When Pablo was just old enough to speak sentences, he asked us when he'd be old enough to go with Jimmy. Makes perfect sense. And I'm SURE Jimmy wouldn't mind taking BOTH kids for a weekend once in a while LOL! A few months ago, before Pablo got sick, Jimmy told me that when Pablo gets old enough, he'd be happy to take him on some of his outings with Grady–mini golfing, water park, bowling, camping. That means a lot to me. It's a kind, authentic, loving offer. And I can't wait to see it happen when Pablo gets back on his feet.
Grady has two homes, two sets of parents–he even has two bikes. Pablo, on the other hand, sees his big bro go away every other weekend, and at least one night a week. Sometimes, Jo Ann and I see Pablo dim when G goes away. It's sad to us. But it's also his reality. We talk with him about his feelings, and let him express his confusion or sadness. Over the years, the four parents in Grady's life have gone the extra mile to be the best FAMILY we can be. Jimmy and Marissa come over to our house for Thanksgiving, Jimmy coaches Grady's sports teams, and we all go to the games. We collaborate on Grady's bday parties. Marissa–who is a chef to the stars–makes the most insane food. Especially baked yummy stuff. Her red velvet cupcakes and birthday cakes have added many inches to my waist over the years. Look, like any family, we have our good/bad/sane/insane moments–and we've had ALL of these moments–but unlike many families where divorced/remarriage is involved, we all get on pretty damn well. I am proud of the fact that Jimmy and I are friends–and like friends, we can talk through the tough moments AND laugh our a**es off for the many, many other hours of our years together. And once in a while, just for good measure, we give Grady the business about something–both of us, at the exact same time! I think there was a day when Jimmy came to pick up Grady and he walked out the door without his shoes on, and (possibly) had forgotten his key. That was good one!
I've been wanting to acknowledge Jimmy's constant presence in our lives, and his consistent selflessness since May 17. You know, Jimmy was the second person I called in the wee hours of May 18. I just remembered that. I was driving home from CHLA to get clothes, and to tell Polly what was up (she slept at our house to be with Grady). It was my instinct to call Jimmy. I mean, I woke him up–it was like 4 a.m. Why was it my instinct? Because I signed up to be his son's step father–an additional parent in Grady's life. Sort of like a modular bolt-on addition to the family. From the first time I met Jimmy, I felt welcomed to do this job. So when I got my step father instruction manual and saw the chapter outlining my duties, I remembered that part of my job was to let Jimmy know what big-picture stuff Grady might be exposed to in our end of the family. Jo Ann and I wouldn't have considered for a MINUTE to tell Grady that his little brother had cancer without Jimmy being in the room with us. It was just the natural, right thing to do. If the tables were turned, and I were in Jimmy's shoes, I would want the same thing.
When we sat down with Grady the afternoon of Sunday May 18, it was me, Jimmy and Jo Ann in the room. We all sat with him as he stared blankly at the space in front of his eyes, seemingly in a fog of confusion. It was the same confusion that the three of us felt about Pablo's sudden diagnosis with cancer. But we had a job to do as parents. And it was a bit easier to do knowing that everyone who Grady looked to in his life for protection, nurturing and truth was in the room with him. For me, it helped knowing that I've been through a lot of life, death, ups and downs with the three others in that room. It's easy to feel like life is happening to you. But when you stand among those who truly know you, it's easy to know that life is happening with you.
OK, that is the end of my second wind.
Thanks to ALL of you who have sent emails, text messages and comments on the Pablog today. If you still aren't sure about the power of intention, take a look around....