I don't want to say that yesterday was a difficult day, I would say it was a heavy day. It reminded me of a song lyric (surprise, surprise!): "It's a wet wool blanket, 1-2-3, laid unto your chest until you just can't breathe." The good news is that it is possible to peel those blankets away and get out from underneath it, right?
Enough with my figurative talk. When I called the doctor yesterday morning I was told to bring Gideon in as soon as his fever hit 101 degrees (instead of the normal 101.5). He hovered right around 100 degrees all day. He was lethargic and always feeling like he was going to throw up. The skin under his eyes was pink and purple, and he was more pale than normal. I still don't know how much to attribute to the chemo and how much of this could be a potential illness brewing within him. While doctors and nurses are beyond helpful once we reach the Clinic, there are not many hints they give about what it could be while we are at home. I understand this since guessing without seeing a patient isn't the best method of care. BUT, I adore the families who have been talking me through possible causes since they went down this Leukemia road with their own children. I have literally taken up hours of their time with my questions and worries. Tom and I took separate turns talking to Julie Jenkins (her son Andy is a Leukemia survivor) for the longest time the other day. We like talking to these families separately since we have a different set of worries and concerns...and this avoids my inevitable interrupting. I can only pray that I will be as helpful and soul soothing as these other parents once this is all over. They are the best at putting everything in perspective! Thank you, Jenkins and Brown Families!
The temperature and the lethargic aura Gideon was kicking yesterday was only the air pressure to the heavy quality of the day. The spark that set my head reeling was his over-the-top curiosity concerning all that has been happening to him. I knew this day of honest questions and honest answers would come, but I completely assumed it would come when he was much older but still getting chemotherapy. Nope. Yesterday was the day. I ended up asking, " Just why did I put mascara on today?"
Gideon wanted to rock in his room with me and he was quietly whimpering to himself. I don't even think he realized he was doing it. He started by asking, "Mommy, why do kids get sick? Sick like me?" And the shocked tears instantly surfaced. I have never asked this question out loud, nor has anyone else around us. I have been pushing it aside since it seems so counterproductive. He stared at me and waited for my answer like it was something as simple as "When is lunch?" Once I did my best to answer that, he asked, "Mommy, why are the sharks in MY blood?" He then asked what the sharks look like, so I got out the computer. He were laying on my bed, streaming through picture after picture of blood cells. He got so good, that he was able to identify any "shark" in any picture and then count them. He then asked, "Who else has sharks in their blood? I want to see them!" So, we searched for pictures of children with Leukemia. He noticed many of the pictures depicted children without hair, and Gideon's hand went straight to his head to feel his thinning strands. "But, MOM! I don't wanna lose my HAIR!" and then we had that conversation. I showed him pictures of grown kids who beat the Leukemia and how their hair had returned. Of course, these survivor pictures were attached to each "story." The stories bombarded me. One grown adult recounted his memory of being three and knowing he had Leukemia. The way he remembered in such a deep but fragmented way made my heart ache. Then I had to tell myself: HE REMEMBERS BECAUSE HE IS STILL ALIVE! That is the point to all of this heartache and chemotherapy: curing him!
Gideon was fixated on seeing pictures of other kids with ports. He seems to always want validation when it comes to this strange bump under his skin. Sidenote story: The boys and I were in our swimming suits and I was being all funny. I crouched down and said, "LOOK AT THIS! LOOK AT THIS ROLL! How did this happen?!" and I proceeded to act all woe-is-me about the muffin top around my middle. Gideon pulled up his shirt and said, "Want a port instead?" Woah... Way to jolt me out of my feeling sorry for myself, kid. It was said in an innocent way, but I instantly felt guilty. Perspective, perspective, perspective! It made him feel so much better to see other children like him. At the end of our conversation he said, "Mommy, when I'm better I will go to the park. I will play with other kids because I will be better!" He misses other kids. He misses his church school. I want his numbers up NOW. I know, I'm being demanding. Let's use my sleepiness as an excuse, okay?
Gideon was up a ton last night. He wanted new blankets and again, kept thinking he was going to throw up. His fever disappeared, though. We are going to hang on to THAT fact. An adorable moment this morning was when big brother Brody taught Gideon a dance in the kitchen. It wasn't just any dance. It was the first choreographed dance I taught Brody when he was three, and now he was training Gideon how to do it. It is Hellogoodbye's "Here (In My Arms)". Brody remembered every step and Gideon tried. His patient big bro smiled through Gideon's clumsiness and just kept encouraging him. That moment made up for yesterday all on its own. It's going to be a GREAT day.