Growing Pains


Dad asked me if I wanted to take his truck. I said we’d take mine. He crawled into my SUV and I realized I had never driven my Daddy anywhere. I don’t think he even taught me to drive. I learned to drive mostly in the pastures on the farm. Somebody taught me to press the clutch and shift the gears. I don’t think it was Dad.

We were on our way for his first outpatient appointment at the Infusion Clinic where he will receive his treatments for cancer in the days to come.

I have been growing up in the past few weeks. Cancer in my parent has put me on growth hormone. I am forty-nine, but I don’t  always feel that way in my head or my heart. I vacillate often between being a little girl and a grandmother.

Yesterday in the car, I was eleven. A few miles down the road, I almost pulled onto the access road instead of the freeway. He was paying attention and steered me in the right direction.

Driving like I had something to prove, I used my signal lights and checked my mirrors and tried to drive just above the speed limit, follow at an appropriate distance.

When we got to the parking deck, we drove around like a mouse in a maze and I parked as close to the door as possible. I wondered if I would be so patient if one of my kids were driving me.

I retrieved the cute blue bag I bought as treat for myself at the end of the summer from behind the passenger seat. It has been my constant companion for the past few weeks. It’s heavy with my big binder called the “Navigator” that tells a lot about the days ahead but not enough. I have my computer in there, a toothbrush, contact solution, books and pens and breath mints.

Everyone in the hospital elevators has complimented me on the bag with pockets all around. I want to tell them I bought it for the beach. 

Dad and I took our seats in the waiting area away from the other waiters, most of whom were wearing masks. We didn’t talk. Just waited. I don’t know what he was thinking but I know next week we will join the mask-wearers, and I am sure he knows it too. What would be the point of talking about it?

After his results came back, we walked back to the maze to head to the house. Dad had an infusion pump filled with potassium in his shirt pocket. I had my blue bag, in it were syringes of saline and heparin the nurse gave me. I would need them to flush his line after the plastic tube sucked the essential mineral into his vein through his central line.

Why they are letting me do that, I don't know?

Eleven-year-olds shouldn’t be flushing central lines. 

And I am having growing pains.

We find out tomorrow the plan to battle for multiple myeloma, which we expect will be a bone marrow transplant using his own stems cells. Our prayer is that he can do much of the treatment as an outpatient. 

We realize more and more how blessed we are that Dad lives within an hour of the world’s foremost clinic for his particular cancer. This is a rare among the patients we will see from day to day. We are thankful since most of those around us in the waiting room are living in hotel rooms.

And just so you know, if you read my last post…I've taken up praying again.

Linking with Jennifer at #TellHisStory and Emily at Imperfect Prose

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