Pablo and I took our time checking in to CHLA today. We came in to the clinic around 10:30a for a blood draw with the lovely, Liza, one of the many nurses we've befriended over the past 10 months. Pablo and I decided to hit the road rather than stay and wait for the results as we were feeling optimistic that his platelets would make the count. We decided to go eat at The Coffee Table, a place that we used to frequent, but has somehow dropped off of our radar lately. Pablo hadn't forgotten his favorite foods there, though. He chose the chocolate croissant over his old fave, the lemon/poppyseed muffin and a side of scrambled eggs. I got poached eggs and a toasted english muffin. When our food arrived, Pablo looked at my eggs and decided that he actually wanted to try it! And he did... and he loved it. He commented on everything being particularly delicious there, including the chocolate milk.
We got home and got the call from Liza that platelets were at 84,000... That's what we wanted to hear! We hung out, played and casually packed waiting for the word that our bed was ready. Pablo decided to take a nap and I called to check in with the charge nurse - she said to come on in - they were ready for us... now, we had to wait a bit, as P was out.
We got here around 4:30p and saw Pablo's friend, Jaden on her way out. She has been here for over 4 weeks, so we were really excited to see her on her way home (even if it's just for a few days... she's back for her next round of chemo on Tuesday). When we got up to 4W we discovered that we were assigned to 429B. This is the exact spot where Pablo did most of his surgical recovery and it is where he received the first round of high dose chemo under his current protocol. I was trying to negotiate a room that would provide a better sleeping situation for me, then it just dawned on me... this is where we are supposed to be. Pablo's last chemo here brings us full circle. The charge nurse tonight is Shelly and she was actually the one that administered that first dose back in August. We both remember the night and had a sweet reminiscence about it. Then Dr. Mary Austin came in to see us.
Ok, tears are flowing now... Dr. Austin was with us in the emergency room on the evening of May 17 and the early morning hours of May 18, 2008. She was the surgical fellow on call that gave us Pablo's diagnosis post CT scan. She scrubbed in for every one of Pablo's surgeries as Dr. Stein's co-pilot and we adore her. She came in because she heard that P was in here for his last chemo... it's really something here, I just don't know how to describe it.
Pablo is in the best of moods. He is ready, willing and excited about getting through the next four nights and then on with the rest of his life. Today he told me that after this chemo he gets to go back to school. What a patient, courageous, soulful boy.
Please keep angels Luke and Thomas in your hearts, as well as our fellow CHLA warriors: Zoey, Jaden, Ricca, Lauren, Hope...
With loads of gratitude and love,