Would you like to know a little secret about me?
In the main elevators at VGH, there is a list beside the elevator buttons of what's on each floor in the hospital. When people get onto the elevator and choose a floor, I instinctually look to the list to see what floor they are visiting. Once I realize which floor it is, I think, inside my head, but possibly showing on the outside, I give the person a sympathetic head tilt and knowing smile. Perhaps they do the same about me.
There is this weird feeling in the elevator. Unless someone is there for a birth (I don't even know if that happens at VGH, as I've never noticed 'maternity' on any of the floor names), we are almost all there for something negative. It's weird to be in these elevators with all these people you don't know, yet you all share something in common. Something crappy.
They are pretty fast elevators. There's no time for small talk. It's happened on occasion, but it's rare. It's just this quiet, odd, peaceful, yet weighted feeling.
The elevator feels heavy. Heavier than just the weight of the people inside. It's like the 'worry' is taking up space.
Here are the last few days...
I think I already mentioned that Erica and I took the kids to Captain Kids. They had a great time, and Erica and I got to 'catch up'.
Dexter spent most of his time on the ride on cars with no money in them.
Rya hopping on for a ride with AJ.
After not seeing the boys in a couple days because of work, I took this day to enjoy them. Well, in the morning, at least. I'm pretty sure this is the morning we went to Eagle Mountain with Jen, Erica, and all the kids.
I could cry. I feel like these pictures are saying goodbye to the epitome of my summer with the boys.
Dexter's back on the wagon so to speak. Well, back on his bike. The latest bike-strike is long over and Dexter's back to cruising with style. He is going faster and faster. He's better at braking too, but still not consistent. He still doesn't get that to stay stopped, one should keep his feet pushed onto the brake, not just merely hit the brake for a second.
I told Emerson to show me what was in her mouth. She obliged.
Jen and Jaxon.
Alton hugging Emerson and Dexter.
Makenna, Emerson, AJ, and Dexter. Shout out to Makenna who is also riding without training wheels now!
Alton and Jack. Jack's heading to Kindergarten this year! Can you believe it?
After Dexter's nap, we headed to Old Navy to pick up the boys' costumes before all the sizes are gone. AJ will be Batman and Dexter will be Superman. They were pretty darned excited. I bought AJ's a little big, as I knew these would be used for dress-up too. They've already worn them twice each. The first time being at Auntie Brenda's house. I hadn't visited Auntie Brenda, Uncle Al, and cousin Michelle in some time. Maybe since Father's Day!? They live really close to Old Navy and it was a perfect, untimely (dinnertime and I didn't pack ANYTHING for the boys which is very much unlike me) visit! The visit was great. The boys were bombing around in their costumes. Auntie Brenda filled them full of treats like mini-Ritz! Michelle put on a movie a little later for them, as it closed in on their bedtime. And all three of them played with boys lots. It was really nice. It meant there would be a big, very late bedtime snack at home, but that's okay! It was worth it! Thanks for the great visit you three!
Blurry phone pic, but here's cousin-Michelle wrestling with the boys before we got into the car.
-says AJ in the car: "Mom, Dexter is sleeping and eating. You should look at him. He's sleeping, but he's picking up french fries and putting them in his mouth and chewing. He really is, Mom!"
We fit in some sun, fun, the pool, and washing a car in the morning! The boys had fun playing with the hose.
Once they went down for nap, I relaxed a little and then started the packing for a VERY special Friday night! All three of us would be having a sleepover with someone VERY special.
1. Dexter would be spending the night with my mom and Ken.
2. AJ would be spending the night with my dad for the very first time!
3. I would be having a sleepover with Richard at the hospital!
Mom came to get Dexter. AJ and I headed to Richmond. It was another spectacular drive. Aaaahhh, the pleasure of avoiding the Port Mann Bridge and most of hwy #1. Ahhh.
AJ and I had to detour to Superstore in Richmond to pick up Richard some things he needed, like freezies. I forgot how easy it is to go to a grocery store with one child! Especially, a 4 year old! Wow. I venture to say it was fun. AJ kept saying things like, "Isn't this great, Mom? Just you and me and no Dexter. We don't have to chase him or worry. We can just go in the store, get what we need for Daddy, and get out. It will be so fast. We don't even need a cart!"
I kid you not. That is like word for word. He pays too much attention sometimes.
My dad took us to White Spot for dinner. AJ was thrilled to get a Pirate Pak and was rubbing my dad's arm reminding him that, "Grand-Dan. I had a nap today, so I get to stay up late at your house. Mom said." I had to remind him that we were already eating late at 7:30pm, and that by the time he got to Dad's place, he might need to go to bed.
I guess Dad's a little out of practice with actually 'putting' a kid to bed and was, rather, waiting for AJ to fall asleep which would be like watching grass grow or paint dry. AJ, evidently, stayed up until about 1am. lol. Oh Dad.
Dad and AJ dropped me off at the hospital close to 9:30pm or so. I think I woke Richard upon arriving. It was a little tough to see him looking as rough as he did. You see, last year, he shaved his head before starting the chemo, so he was bald when he started. I think that was itchy for him when the stubble was falling out, so this time, he didn't shave first. He had told me that one of his nurses had told him it looked pretty bad (after Richard rubbed a lot off in the shower, I believe), but I was not prepared for what I saw. Richard has the full on 'cancer look' going on. You know, the baby-hair-patchiness. He just looked so sad and so sick and so fragile. It just broke my heart. Worse, that I hadn't seen him in a whole week due to the boys being sick. We hugged and kissed, lots.
I met his 'favourite-cute-nurse'. The one he claims looks like a middle-eastern version of myself (I don't see it). Anyhow, I don't think she meant to make me feel badly, but when she was 'so happy to meet' me, finally. She made a comment about being so happy someone was here for Richard. "At least so he has someone to talk to!".
That did not sit well with me, but I tried to be understanding that she is unable to see the situation from our vantage point. It probably doesn't help that Richard's roomate's wife is there like every day (I think they live on the Island and they're both having to stay in Vancouver right now... yikes... that's got to be tough).
Like last time, he let me cuddle for a bit, sharing his bed after some tears were shed on my part. Man, I miss that guy. If you don't already know how wonderful Richard is, I can't even begin to explain.
Nice visit with Richard. I finished the novel I was reading. Sadness. I need another one now.
Richard STILL has this fever. The Tylenol seems to be keeping it down at 38 C, but still, there seems to be no end of this fever in sight!
Richard saved me his butterscotch pudding. Despite the crap food that this hospital serves, its Butterscotch Pudding rocks my world. Mmmmm.
I'm sure VGH doesn't actually use brand name pudding, but it was THAT good. Did you know that I love butterscotch? When I go to Dairy Queen, which is almost never, to get a dip-cone, I don't get chocolate dip. I get butterscotch.
Richard and I soaked up each other's company. His neutrophils (or white cells, I can't remember) went up to .1 and I'm pretty sure, have stabilized there which is hopefully, good news.
Dad and AJ came to pick me up for dinner after a fun, yet disappointing day with regard to the trail-a-bike. As I suspected and predicted, AJ's legs weren't long enough, leaving him with no where to rest his feet for balance. This quite freaked him out. That trip resulted in a skinned knee, mildly punctured hand, and a depressed little attitude that took a toll on the rest of Grand-Dan's grand-plans (didja like that rhyme?) *** read later for a juicy tidbit of dirt about AJ's visit to Grand-Dan's.
Dad very kindly decided to keep AJ for another night. AJ was VERY excited. I headed back to the valley to pick up Dexter.
On the way, I let Mom know what my status was looking like. With the impending rain, her and Ken had decided not to go to 100 Mile, so Mom offered to keep Dexter another night too.
Please do not ask me how much I got accomplished with both of my boys out of the house. Please.
Meanwhile, in Nova Scotia, Norma (Richard's mom) was hit with a hurricane! She's okay, thank goodness, but it was pretty freaky, apparently. We're glad you're okay, Norma!
I was SO lucky! Mom and Ken brought out Dexter, and then Dad brought out AJ later. The boys and I had a special night with stories, movies, and cleaning up and rearranging the playroom.
Dad very kindly took Richard's clean laundry that I had done back home to take to Richard! Thanks, Dad for taking AJ!
-Thanks, Mom for taking Dexter!
Sunday night wasn't a good sleep for Richard or I. It's a long story, but it involves me being scared at home alone and calling him/texting him at about 2am. Sorry about that, Richard.
My dad was introduced to my inability to make clothing decisions ahead of time for the boys = overpacking. He commented on the fact that I packed way too many clothes, "especially shoes". lol. Oh Dad.
Perhaps my dressing of AJ and Dexter the same each day is taking a toll on AJ. He wouldn't get dressed this morning until he knew what Grand-Dan was going to wear. He came wearing white sneakers "just like Grand-Dan", jeans "just like Grand-Dan", and a tank top "just like Grand-Dan". It was pretty cute.
Gym was closed, so I still couldn't go. I feel pretty crappy. It was a stay-at-home kind of dreary day.
After naps, I was prepared to drag my brood to the supermarket, but Auntie Erica offered to take them while I went! I finished up around 5:30pm, unloaded at home, and then headed to Erica's where her and Kevin had me and the boys for dinner. Thanks so much you two! That was really nice.
So, before sending AJ to my Dad's, it was possibly going to be AJ AND Dexter staying at his house. I was planning on writing out their routines, food, sleep, etc. I was going to pack pre-made meals and snacks. When it switched and now Dad was only going to be taking AJ, I thought, "eh... he's four. I don't need to pack anything but clothes." I verified that Dad had 'breakfast food' at his house. He did. I packed AJ's water bottle, and that's it.
Here's AJ's normal routine:
7:30/8:30am - wake up - fruit and milk smoothie followed by toast or a bowl of cereal and sometimes half a banana
10am - morning snack - half a granola bar and maybe some fruit or fruit snacks
12pm - lunch - veggies, fruit, protein, carbs, cheese, water and/or juice
3pm - afternoon snack - yoghurt and some crackers or veggies
5:30pm - dinner - meat, carb, veggies, and fruit for dessert (milk to drink)
Here's AJ's Saturday with my dad before picking me up around 5pm
7am - wake up - orange juice
11am - some pancakes, bacon, and bananas for brunch
5pm - picked me up
lol. Too funny. Oh Dad.
And Some More Thanks
I keep giving thanks to my Mom, Ken, and Dad. They are close by to help in lots of ways.
Let me take this chance to send out some heart-felt thanks to Norma and Bud (Richard's parents). They are not nearby, but that doesn't mean that they haven't been a HUGE help. They're behind-the-scenes.
Thank you Norma and Bud!
Thank you Mom, Ken, and Dad!
And thanks to Erica and Kevin for letting me grocery shop in peace and feeding us dinner!