Sunday, January 4, 2009

Weekend Update

OK, I've been away from the Pablog for a couple of days. Not because I wanted to slack off. Because our Internet service went out on Friday or Saturday. I started the below post yesterday, and didn't finish it. This is the first multi-day post I've ever done, and here it goes....

SUNDAY, 4:17 p.m.: We were busy this weekend. And even though we had a few days in CHLA leading up to new year's eve, it feels like we had enough of a break from work and school to be excited to get back into it today.
Grady came home from Mammoth on Friday night. He was stoked to have snowboarded for an entire week. When he came home, he suited up—including helmet and goggles—to show us how he looked out on the slopes. We can't wait to go to the snow as a family. And to enroll Pablo in ski school. I've been thinking a lot about the things we'll do when treatment is over. Standing on this side of January 1, it's an easy thing to do. We don't want to temp fate by buttonholing a date, so we're saying 'end of February.' Saturday morning, our friend Neal Morris arrived from New Orleans. Like, on our doorstep at 7:35 a.m. He took the train here, stayed for about 28 hours, and flew home today. Neal's an adventurer. And one helluva funny dude. A couple years ago, he drove a cheap used car across the Sahara. As in the African desert, not the Las vegas hotel.

Neal and I took a nice bike ride through Silverlake and Los Feliz on Sunday morning. I tried to avoid gnarly hills (a true challenge in our hood) cos Neal is used to riding in paper-flat New Orleans. We met up with the fam and Fred at Mustard Seed and had a yummy brek. Then I dropped Neal at LAX. We both freaked when we saw the line outside his terminal. It was like four blocks long. Lucky for him, the line was for another airline.

One more significant point about Neal: he and his wife Anne have two kids, Henry and Natalia. These kids have grown up with Pablo in the sense that they've spent every Christmas and spring break together since birth. Henry is Pablo's age, and one of his classmates from preschool, a little girl, was diagnosed with bilateral Wilms' Tumor, about six months prior to Pablo. That means that Anne and Neal know two children out of perhaps five or six in the U.S. who have bilateral Wilms' Tumor. Malcolm Gladwell could write a solid story using this fact as a narrative fulcrum.

Sunday afternoon Grady and Pablo mastered all kinds of R2D2 commands. The two funnest commands are Dance Mode (he plays the 'Cantina Theme' and dances) and Darth Vader (he makes a fearful electronic squeal and shivers). As the sun was going down outside, Pablo and I were busting open a box of Batman Legos. We were going to build three Batman vehicles. As I was studying the instructions, P snuck into the kitchen. I had no idea. The next thing I heard was a thump on the the ground. It was Pablo. He was running in stocking feet, with a bag of tortilla chips, and slipped. As his body was making its way to the ground, the right side of his head hit the door jamb. As soon as I heard this, I jumped over the couch (Jo Ann and I have become precision athletes jumping at the faintest sound of trouble) and saw P laying on the ground holding his head. The strange thing was that he wasn't crying. The bump was big, and all the veins in his head were bulged up, shooting toward it. Jo Ann was at the grocery store. Inside I was freaking out. But I didn't let Pablo know that. I just held him. I was concerned about internal bleeding, wondering if this kind of hit to Pablo's head was the sort of thing the doctors warned us about. In the end, an ice compress and some paternal snuggling was the fix. With a big ice pack on the side of his head, Pablo fell asleep for an hour. He was fine when he woke up. Guess he could've used Grady's snowboarding helmet on that chip run.

Monday, 7:23 a.m.: Another GFR test this morning. This is the nuke med test that determines the functionality of Pablo's remaining kidney. We meet with Dr M tomorrow morning—he will let us know the result of the GFR, and we'll ask him as many questions as we can think of. Typically, Jo Ann asks all the questions and I sit quietly and listen to her and Dr M go back and forth. I always want to come up with a good Q or two, but Jo Ann is so good at this form of advocacy, my best bet is observation.

The most important fact I need to relay is that Pablo is doing very very very well. He's a constant ball of energy, buzzing from one end of the house to the other. Telling jokes, typing on any computer or phone he can get his hands on. He has emailed or texted a dozen people from Jo Ann's iPhone. The message? Looks like this:

jhfdg'aodirgu arhg82094t8qwertyuiop.

The 'qwertyuiop' part is his signature. He loves it.

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