It has been 12 weeks today since our lives have been turned upside down and inside out. It seems like a flash and forever at the same time.
We all slept in this morning. It was a late night last night. I played the recording I made of your phone call with Rod Carew for the children. Tara and Quinn listened intently, trying to understand why this man's voice is so important to you. Maybe one day they will understand why role models seem so important ... you will teach them. You are and will always be one of the most important role models they will ever have.
You had a lot of visitors this morning. The entire senior Sunday school class came in to see you. Chris G came in and had a ‘meeting’ about the Cabot Trail Relay team for next year. We get to the hospital just about noon.
You wonder where I’ve been. “Are you having an affair?” “Really, where would I squeeze that in?” I sarcastically ask and then I add “I mean – Squeeze into my day.” I still can’t tell when you are teasing or serious. But you do seem upset that we didn’t get there until noon.
I have noticed a trend with you and the nurses. You have asked all the nurses, except Andrew, if they were married. I feel a brief hint of jealousy then I realize that you really like your nurses and you want them to be as happy as you are with a marriage – at least that’s what I think!
Christina, your night nurse from last night, tells you that she is in a relationship for 4 months. She asks us what’s the secret to a lasting marriage – Wow she is asking us? I don’t think we qualify to comment on a lasting marriage. As I see it, marriages are like marathons – and we haven’t even done a half marriage yet let alone a full one. – I tell her that we’ll let her know when we find it.
Maybe the answer is really in a riddle … You will find the secret to a lasting marriage when you stop looking for the secret. I certainly want to find out.
Quinn wants to know more about Rod Carew. “Does he know that my middle name is Carew?” “That would put too much pressure on you to be good and you don’t even play baseball.” You said. Then you quickly add that the best things about Rod are that he played the game right, he played it smartly, he is a good person and loving father. Quinn feels that these are all things that he can do.
Quinn and I go off to get a special lunch at the A&W across the street. Tara reluctantly stays behind to have a special Daddy-daughter moment. I mentioned to her in the car, on the way to the hospital, that I thought it would be nice is she could keep you company while I got the food. She was worried “What if something happens - like someone breaks into the room and tries to kill us!” She is often melodramatic.
When we got back with the food. Tara is reading the family question game that we played last week, with you. She still seems nervous of cuddling with you.
After lunch, we called your parents. You made them guess who called you last night … your Dad guessed it right. You asked if there is any chance that they might be able to come for Christmas.
After the phone call I have to beg you to get you into your chair. I try to give you lots of incentives to get into the chair – but you find them veneer. You know my agenda. I talk with Laura, your nurse and ask her, who should I talk to about getting it written in your file that you should eat while in your chair. That would ensure that you are in your chair for at least 20-30 minutes three times a day. That would be better, and a little easier on you, then convincing you to get into the chair and stay there for more then an hour once a day.
In the afternoon, you complain of a headache. “Is my head swelling?” You are concerned. It is probably just an innocent little headache, however, for the rest of your life there will be no such thing as an innocent headache until proven that it’s not hypertension or the result of increasing intra-cranial pressure. We are all going to live in fear of a repeat incident.
I get Laura to check your blood pressure. It’s fine. It’s just an innocent headache.
I finally convince Tara to climb into bed with you so I can get a picture of the three of you. It took a few tries, but I got a good shot eventually. Now that Tara is in bed with you, she doesn’t want to leave.
When we leave the hospital, Tara seems suddenly overwhelmed with fatigue. I wonder if it’s a physical illness or psychosomatic. Tara says she feels weak and useless “like how Daddy feels”. She feels the “problem is in my heart or her brain … like Daddy” She says. “I feel really tired, my hands are going numb my headaches and I feel short of breath.
I try to wrap my head around this information.
She wants to go to outpatients and wait for a doctor to check her over. Quinn thinks it’s a good idea and thinks he should see a doctor too. When I explained to them that it could take a very long time waiting along side the flu patients, Tara decided that it would be smarter to sleep on the problem and see how she is in the morning. I suggest that we not go to Juanita’s. But she had no fever. I called Juanita, who says, “Why don’t you bring her over and let her rest on the sofa.”
“Are you going to stay at Juanita’s too?” Quinn asks. “Yeah” Quinn sings out. “I can teach you how to play Yatzee.” Tara groans and wants the window open. “I think I’m going to be sick.”
I figure that I might as well ask them out right if they feel there is a connection between their wellness and your health. “Are you a little nervous that something will happen to you like what has happened to Daddy?” No, they both deny any relationship.
When we get to Juanita’s home, I goggle ‘hypochondriac children’. Of course, a quick search suggests that it is an attention getting strategy. Well, that’s not a surprise! The recommended approach is to show compassion and concern but don’t encourage and when the child seems normal – shower her with attention.
Well, that sounds easy – now how do I fit that into the daily routine.
I make a mental note to talk to you Monday while the children are in gymnastics to see what you think about Tara’s demeanor with you and her health concerns.
Tara laid down and read her book at Juanita’s home. Quinn Juanita, Maddie and I went outside to play in the leaves and drive Maddie’s little car. Quinn and Maddie are having a good time and Tara soon appears with her coat on to play.
After dinner, I notice the section that Tara has been reading from in ‘Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul’. ‘Death and Dying’. That might explain a lot about her mysterious ailments.