Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thank You Penelope!

I just want to acknowledge here how fortunate we are and have been through every step of this crazy journey that began eight months ago. One of our many lucky stars is Penelope! We were introduced through two separate, unrelated groups of friends our very first week at CHLA back in May. She came right up to us and introduced herself and told us, "If you need anything..." Well, we have taken her up on that offer many, many times.

Penelope usually works in the Day Hospital at the clinic. When we were going in for our out-patient chemo before surgery, our scheduled day happened to be one of the two days that Penelope works there. We would never leave without finding her to say "hello." By the time we had to actually come into Day Hospital, we were known as "Penelope's friends." Not that we got any extra special treatment, but the warmth and familiarity began to settle in for us.

I remember running into Penelope in the lobby of the clinic after a very heated and stressful meeting with the surgeons, having just learned the night before of Pablo's unfavorable histology diagnosis. Just seeing her, I started weeping and she hugged me, cried with me and assured me that we will all be OK. We will get through this and that she will always be there for us.

Once we started our new protocol we were informed that an insurance approved pharmacy will be sending a home nurse over to administer the Neulasta shots to Pablo. I immediately called Penelope! NO NO NO - no strangers in our home poking needles in our boy. I asked Penelope if
she would come by once every 3 weeks and we would pay her whatever...tell us... As you can imagine, she agreed without even skipping a beat, and refused any sort of compensation. I'm crying as I type this now - seriously, how amazing she has been to us.

Penelope gave Pablo all of his shots, always making her way over here, mostly on weekends. Her daughter Helen is almost always with her. They take good care, shoes off, hands washed, etc... so so sweet.

Well, now we have the shot everyday - all I could think about was, how is this going to work? I'm a highly emotional person to begin with - add watching your child scream, kick and cry to that and I'm a complete mess...

I was taught the basics on 4W before getting discharged and was told that it would be best to have a home nurse present, just to look over my handywork. I called Penelope and as you can now deduce, her response was, "Absolutely, what time?"

Penelope spent a lot of time with me. Walking me through preparation, drawing the serum, changing the needle, push air, invert bottle, pull more than you need, get air bubbles out, etc... And I mean a lot of time. As Jeff posted earlier, as we got down to business, Pablo was not agreeable and really having a difficult time, which in turn, made me panic. I started crying and just gave Penelope a look that must have said it all. She nodded, took the needle from my hand, gave Pablo the shot and told me that she'd be back the next day.

The next day she returned and I was determined to do it! I did it with her guidance and it was great. I felt good about it. She told me that she would come anytime. I flew solo today, well... not really... Polly was here with me to hold Pablo's hand... but I felt confident and it went smoothly.

All of the pumpkin or chocolate breads that I can make for Penelope and her lovely family will never truly repay all that she's done for our family.


Jo Ann

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