Friday, November 28, 2008

Blood By The Numbers

Update from luxurious 4 West in the gilded tower of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles: as of mid-afternoon, Pablo's got a pint of Polly's blood swimming through his veins. P's platelets are critically low. The risk for bleeding in his mouth, on his skin, or internally in his brain or body, is off the scale. The inside of his mouth has had some minor bleeding over the past 24 hours—evidence of the larger potential. So, next up is a pint of platelets, and the behest of Dr Finley, the on-duty attending oncologist.

Dr F is the man who counseled us on Pablo's cancer the first day we were here, way back in May. He is a grey-bearded man from England, sounds like he must be from Liverpool, but is, in fact, from elsewhere in that fine nation (I forgot where, Birmingham maybe?). Every time I see him in the hall or in the lobby, I feel safe. Why? Because he's a good doctor—filled with knowledge practical and theoretical, an expert at doling out both in equal portion. How you tell parents that their child has cancer is significant. What you tell them about that cancer and the universe of treatment is significant. On Sunday May 18 2008, Dr Finley just made Jo Ann and I feel safe. He set us up mentally, helped us get through the hazy, please-punch-me-so-I-know-I'm-not-dreaming first 48 hours. He foretold the genius and acumen and authority of his colleague, the exotically-monikered Dr Mascarenhas. Like a guy on a sports team whose job is to set up the ball for the guy who will drive it home, Dr F drove us—our paralytic sorrow, our dazed and confuzedom, our disbelief—down the court so we'd be ready to meet the man who would be our hourly and daily guide in the wild, wild 4 West of chemo, surgery, radiation, and more chemo.

I didn't say this earlier in the post, but what I'm getting at is gratitude for these medical dudes. Jo Ann and I were out when Dr Finley came to see Pablo. When Polly mentioned his name, and that he'd looked in on P, all of the above shot to the front of my brain.

The platelets just arrived. The opening scene of 'Dinotopia' is sizzling on the screen (Pablo rarely watches 'real people movies' these days, favoring cartoons). I am about to go home to ride my bike on the deck outside our dining room.
(On a trainer, so I don't duplicate—as Grady pointed out yesterday—the Ferrari crash scene in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off.') When I'm done at home, I'll return to CHLA and pull the overnight shift again. Jo Ann is still not 100%, so she will head home for another night of solid sleep. Have to admit, I am lucky—it's a helluva lot easier to sleep over when we have our own room.

Have a great Friday night. My next post will be tomorrow, unless there's a development. Our love and light to you and yours.

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