You know when you see those little articles with catchy titles like “56 Things That You Get As An 90’s Kid”?…they float all around on facebook and you click on them because it’s sure to throw you back in time…You read a line like “Bath and Body Works – Country Apple” and immediately can smell it in your brain. You reminsce get a good chuckle and move about your day trying not to think too much about how much time has passed because that makes you…wait HOW OLD?!…nevermind. Anyway…quite often situations arise for me that get put into a hypothetical article titled “56 Things That You Get As The Parent of a Sick Kid” I knowI know the title isn’t quite as catchy but hey it’s all I got. Two of those things happened for me this week.
No. 1…The name of another parent with a sick child pops up on your incoming call screen and your heart drops because you automatically think…”oh my god what happened.”
Yeah…that one happened Monday…I hastily answered to Kate sounding frantic…”Where are you?” she says. Immediately I’m getting out of my chair ready to head out the door and drive as fast as I can to her…”In my office…WHY…whats wrong?!!?” “Nothing nothing nothing…I’m here at UCSF and Jess told me you had an appointment so I thought you were here!!!” Oh. My. Shit. Deep breath…sit back down…scold Kate for scaring the bajeezus out of me. Once you’ve had those moments with someone…those terrifying calls you never really recover. Kate and I were all each other had at the hospital everytime the other got bad news. As you may recall poor little Riley got every damn infection under the sun and every time Kate was there…glass of wine in hand, arms wide open, spouting off some genuine reassuring shit. I flat out could not have gone throw those months without her. We briefly chatted but seeing as she was with Elsie at clinic it wasn’t exactly an ideal time to catch up. We quickly summed up how each others so called “normal” lives were going said I love you and hung up. Thing is even after the disconnect my racing heart was still trying to catch up to the fact that everything was FINE. Elsie was FINE. Kate was FINE. I was…not fine. I mean…I was. It was a surreal moment…in that one split second I was prepared to be catapulted back into the nightmare but then was jolted awake to the reality of “go about your day”. My own personal roller coaster.
No. 2… You notice something white protruding from your 11 month olds gums and without hesitation throw on a latex glove to inspect what you think is a mouth sore.
Hey dumb ass…it’s a tooth. Yeah…that happened. Chemo was MONTHS ago yet that’s still the first place my mind instincually goes. I was instantly back in “Nurse Mom” mode, it’s amazing how I can feel myself shift between the roles and how without skipping a beat I’m back in the uber calm emergency zone. No sores…just a serious flashback…guess that’s what that whole Parental PTS business is all about. Whoops. Getting to the main point (which isn’t that I’m nuts) Riley popped another tooth!!! Oh and not just one tooth…girl popped FOUR top teeth in a matter of 2 days. I sat back as she giggled at me inspecting the new additions to her smile. What baby pops 4 teeth in 2 days and doesn’t skip a beat? No fever, no redness, no puffiness, no runny nose, no fussiness, no restless nights…nothing. A baby who has been through some serious fucking pain that’s who. That reality stung. Bad. Hard. As I watched her wriggle out of my reach that overwelming sadness/gratitude combo flooded me again. This girl is amazing. I am so in awe of her. I am so sorry that she ever had to experience any of it. So broken that my baby eases through what keeps others up at night because to her it is nothing. Nothing. After more medications than I care to remember, the gnarliest rashes you can imagine, countless blood transfusions, 4 different types of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, infection after infection, 2 surgeries and good god knows how many other uncomfortable tests/procedures…why would I think a couple of teeth would phase her? She’s been a trooper…through all of it. Go Riley Go.