The day begin with the wrong alarm. I woke up late hearing Ashley’s alarm and discovered my alarm read 7:15p.m.. Rolling out of bed I dove into a surprising day.
Entrusting Christy to a trusted friend we hit the road for Riley.
Pulling into the garage we surprised ourselves with a third-floor spot. Typically roof-parkers we triple reminded ourselves what floor we landed on. We shared the elevator with a family boasting a one-year-old and a very pregnant mother.
The parking garage and outpatient services exist on opposite ends of the hospital. Arriving at 10:01 AM for our 10 o’clock appointment we speed walked our way to oncology.
We checked straight in to infusion room 12. Sitting down at 10:20 AM ended three hours of rushing. It began 3 1/2 hours of waiting.
Isabelle received her antinausea medicine quickly and then waited an hour for the chemo to show up. Chatting with our port-access nurse Katherine we learned an interesting fact:
60% of anesthesia work at Riley happens with cancer patients.
While impressive this number does not surprise. Over five months Isabelle has received more than a dozen procedures where she underwent anesthesia. I can’t imagine asking our two-year-old to submit to spinal tap bone marrow samples without putting her to sleep! Friends tell us years ago doctors didn’t use anesthesia for these procedures. Thankful for what we have today!
While waiting, our friend Krista the child life specialist dropped-in. She shared how
80% of kid cancer patients in Indiana receive treatment at Riley!
The other major cancer treatment locations include Peyton Manning Children’s, and centers in Fort Wayne, and Gary. So thankful we get to receive treatment at such a specialized place.
Then the medicine showed up
We have nervously anticipated this drug for several months. Isabel first received during her initial hospitalization. Administering this drug the nurses kept anti-reaction medicine on hand due to the dangerous nature of allergic reactions.
A blue cloaked nurse walked in and set up the saline bag and the chemo bag.
The nurses wear extra protection around the drugs they administer to Isabelle. Repeated exposure for them can hurt their health.
These same drugs help Isabelle?!
Two nurses hovered nearby as we all held our breath for the first five minutes of the chemo drip. If her body decided to reject the medicine it would reject it quickly. Minutes inched by until we passed the 20 minute mark. Isabelle calmly colored as we stared at her.
Finally around 30 minutes the nurses started checking on other patients. Ashley and I got to wait out the duration of the hour infusion holding Isabelle. Her body accepted the drugs.
Following the infusion we had to wait an hour just to be sure.
So we took a walk. Ending in an activity room Isabelle piled 10 books for Ashley to read while I played on a chair. Seriously, Riley activity room chairs rock! Each chair has four legs straight down. Each individual leg has a wheel. Linoleum covers all the floors. Fun happens when I get to play on one of those chairs!
Only looks from Ashley restrain me from traveling through the halls by chair instead of two legs.
While spinning through the activity room I saw a volunteer looking bored. So I scooted on over. I met Natalie. As a senior biology major at IU she volunteers to here help her prospects of med school. She just applied to 15 medical schools this last summer! She shared how volunteering at Riley actually has quite a bit of competition. Last month Riley received more than 80 applications for volunteers! I wish her luck and scooted back to Ashley.
Finally an exhausted Isabelle finished her last half hour of waiting curled up on mommy’s lap. We de-accessed her port and hit the road.
Walking to the garage I learned gratitude again.
In the Riley lobby we passed a 2-year-old in a cool but permanent wheelchair. We shared the elevator to our car with a little boy wearing a trach tube.
While receiving exhausting treatment for my two-year-old who should get better I must remain aware of others’ pain. Statistically Isabelle should live a healthy life after this. Many children possess permanent, debilitating conditions.
We showed up in Terre Haute with just enough time to change and head to the Gala
Ashley was invited to speak at a YMCA fundraiser in town. So we dressed up and showed up to help out and enjoy some amazing food at the Red Barn at Sycamore Farms. I cut out early and enjoyed putting the two cuties down to bed. You can actually watch the video of Ashley’s speech here.
At 9:39 PM I feel tired. Yet I feel grateful for the many who invested in our family today. From generous friends to excellent nurses and doctors blessing follows us.
Exhaustion describes the feeling at the end of a marathon. Crossing the 26.2 mile finish line you take pride in what you ran through. I take pride in my incredible wife who presses on through emotional exhaustion to love on our family. Isabelle’s 2 1/2 year-old bravery through repeated procedures and infusions impresses me as well. Christy, my intelligent, beautiful, creative, wonderful, girl is such a trooper! Frankly, God’s generosity humbles me. Because of Him I stand tall pass today’s finish line.