Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Rush Of Blood To The Head

In the 4 West play room this afternoon. Photo courtesy Pollyphone.

This evening when I returned to the hospital, Pablo had just woken from a nappy nap. He was happy, smiley, and in good spirits. He'd spent the day with Polly and Jo Ann (who was in and out of CHLA all day). From what I could tell when I checked in throughout the day, the time passed swiftly and with the help of lots of games and some homemade Play Doh, brought in by our Child Life friend Arlene.

On the way to CHLA, I picked up Tomato Pie pizza for me and Jo Ann. That kind of real food doesn't interest P at the moment. Jo Ann suggested picking up lemon loaf from Starbucks for him. There was only one problem with that: lemon loaf is scarce at 7:30 p.m. So, I bought one of everything else in the pastry case: a blueberry oat bar, a banana walnut bread, some dry roasted almonds and a chocolate donut. This kind of food would normally never come near Pablo. Well, not all at once. Today, our single concern is getting him to ingest calories. He has lost so much weight that Dr M said if P doesn't start eating, he will have to drop the dreaded tube down his nose to inject food directly into the stomach. That didn't sound so good to Pablo. So when I arrived with Starbucks bags, he found one item to chow on. He also drank an eight ounce bottle of water laced with the laxative Miralax, which he downed while the three of us played a board game.

As we played, Jo Ann become increasingly concerned about the bruises on his body. One on his right forearm had formed into a tough green and purple lump, and one had appeared on the left side of Pablo's skull. We asked our amazing nurse Danica to call the pediatricians so they could take a look. When they arrived, they found another bruise inside his top lip—it looked like a large red dot, almost like he bit his lip. This is all to be expected when his blood platelet count is below 5,000 and his white blood cell count is below zero. I am learning that having a clinical or intellectual understanding of something is cool, but doesn't soften the emotional and mental blow when it actually happens.

The doctors (both were Residents) checked with their Fellow, and ordered a blood platelet transfusion. Pablo was asleep when the platelets arrived. It took 15 or 20 minutes. This will be Pablo's second transfusion in three days. He got a blood transfusion on Monday afternoon. Those two words 'blood' and 'transfusion' sound so hardcore. Six months ago, I'd have thought a blood transfusion or a platelet transfusion were two of the hardest things somebody would have to deal with. That perception is gone now.

I want to end on a happy note. Cos there's plenty to be happy about. Laughing with Pablo while we played our game this evening was the greatest gift. The perfect end to a hot, long, tough day at le office. He and his mommy kept calling me a cheater. I forgot why. Something about me wanting to re-roll my dice when I didn't like the number I'd rolled. It seemed perfectly justifiable at the time! And it didn't help me win. Pablo prevailed in one game. And Jo Ann won the other.

Good night. Please keep your love and your light focused and shining our way.

And if you've got any extra blood or platelets lying around, please come down to CHLA to donate. Seriously. If you are O+, you can make a Directed Donor drop, and Pablo will get your blood. If you're not O+, you'll be helping another child who needs your blood just as much.

Call our buddy Raul at the CHLA Blood Bank (323-361-2380). He will ask you some basic questions to be sure you're eligible to donate. If you are, they will hook you up with a plate of cookies and some OJ and you'll be ready to go.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

All our love, every single day.
All our prayers, every single day.
All our positive energy and good wishes, every single day.