Friday, December 5, 2008

May you live in interesting times

A curse, for sure.

This has been a truly "interesting" week for all of us. The Boy was discharged from the hospital, finally. We were initially expecting a Monday or Tuesday discharge, not Thursday evening, but so it goes. Complications from the stomach bug that he had meant that it was even more difficult for him to keep food and fluid in his system. The oncologist emphasized the importance of hydration following the administration of Cytoxan (Cyclophosphamide).

Backing up a bit: The Boy is getting three medications during the course of this treatment, each one scarier than the next. All cause the traditional cancer/chemo side effects such as hair loss and nausea, but each one also has its own little bonus gift. Cytoxan/Cyclophosphamide can cause sores or other damage to the kidneys (kidney, in The Boy's case) and bladder. He gets an additional medicine called Mesna for that. Etoposide, is a chemotherapy agent that has a greater risk than some other agents of causing blood cancers (i.e. leukemia) later in life. It also causes drops in blood pressure; while it is being administered, The Boy has his blood pressure taken every 15 minutes. Carboplatinum is another fun one: it can cause upper register hearing loss. The Boy had a hearing test just prior to his treatment, and he did perfectly.

I am not incredibly concerned about the hearing loss. The audiologist said that she had just tested another Wilms Tumor patient who was at the end of her treatment, and her hearing was still fine. Even so...any readers familiar with the Mosquito ring tone? It is said that people over the age of 25 or so cannot hear this sound, so kids use it as a ring tone. Too bad for them--I can still hear it quite well. Anyhow, The Boy may end up with the hearing of a 30 year old at age 3. While that's a drag, I'll still take that over not going all out in the fight against this cancer.

At this point, I am looking forward to finishing my job and all the obligations entailed within. As much as I enjoy my work, The Boy and I need the flexibility. I don't want to hesitate to take him to the treatment center because of work. I don't want to miss my kids at work, either.

A diversion: I don't know who of my students or colleagues reads my blog; as a result, I rarely talk about work beyond the occasional remark about having had a good day. Today, though, I feel the need, because I have nothing to say that is negative, damaging, hurtful, or anything like that. Because I'm not 12 and trying to hurt someone's feelings by leaving a nastygram on their myspace. Anyhow...I was working with some kids whom I will REALLY REALLY miss. I had three guy cello players and a viola player who had missed her lesson earlier that day. The viola player has a great personality. She is also a good player but her personality is what makes her stand out. The cello players are all very serious. Not in, they are silly kids, but when it comes to playing, they get right down to business.

Last schoolyear, I had a truly amazing class of 6th grade students. My colleagues and I have discussed it; this class is going to be one of those really special groups that comes along only once or twice in a decade. They say that the kids who just graduated from the high school in the orchestra were that kind of class. These kids are the same type. Instrumentation top to bottom is incredible. Probably 17 of those kids are nothing short of incredible. And another 20 are strong and competent, really fine musicians, and even the ones that aren't the best are still capable and willing to learn.

I talk about this other class now, fondly, because I thought today, while listening to these three gentlemen play, that they had really taken their places as leaders on their instruments. I was concerned that the holes left by the previous class would be hard to fill, but they got it done, for sure. I was similarly impressed by the young lady playing the viola, and how far she has come, but it's not such a great year for violas in the 6th grade. Not so many.

By the way, parents, the viola is a great instrument option for a child in school looking to play. There are not as many players, meaning that your child will get extra attention and be able to move up the ranks more quickly. It is not much more expensive than a violin (and usually, to rent one costs the same). It's the thing to do if you're a bit more of an individual who doesn't have the guts to play bass.

No, I didn't mean that.

So...back to my reality. How sad, when thinking about work is the diversion.

The Boy was, indeed, discharged yesterday evening, but he had to return to the treatment center (outpatient) because he failed to keep his breakfast down. They kept him there until it got close to closing time, giving him IV fluids, and then they sent him home, thank goodness. We are under strict instructions to keep his diet REALLY simple.

Dinner tonight was cream of rice with a little dab of honey (a pleasant sweetener, and good to use now that The Boy is over a year old) along with applesauce. The Boy handles the spoon pretty well these days. He had, from time to time, worked the spoon a few times to get some pudding or yogurt, but during his hospital stay, he happened upon some ice cream and that was all the motivation that he needed to use a spoon. Mashed potatoes are handled similarly. Very cute: last night, The Boy was feeding himself applesauce. He had requested it after being given his usual blood pressure medicine crushed in it. He ate about half of the little container (you know, one of those single serving with the foil lid), and when he felt that he had had enough, he pulled the half-opened foil lid back onto the cup.

The Boy has been asleep on my lap for nearly an hour. It's so nice to get these snuggles.

No comments: