Sunday, May 28, 2006

[Photo: Today's hospital visit! (taken with camera phone, but still a good shot)]

Last night, they moved Mike to a new room because the A/C wasn't working in the old one.
But it's another great sunny one just two doors down. Some sweetheart (I think Suzette with the help of the tech anthony, who gave mike a great shave the other night) moved e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Including all the photos and pictures, calendar, and signs and hung them all up beautifully on his wall. it's nice, too, because the new room has the bed facing the opposite direction of last time- a little variety.

So, Mike's new room is 6606b.

This morning, Bax and I visited dada at 10:30 am. As soon as we parked in the garage, Bax looked around and started saying, "Dada? Dada?" with a huge smile. Visitors' lounge was unfortunately already packed. Tech Chris (who hooked us up with Joy from Dietary to get Mike good food and fresh fruits/veg every day) came and helped out with Bax during the visit out in the sunny hallway. Mike was so much more alert than last week. He heard Bax from down the hall and started talking to him as they were rolling Mike down to us, making funny faces and saying, "Baxman!" We sang songs, Bax gave Mike kisses - and flirted with all the other visitors in the hallway.

At one point, Bax was on Mike's lap and out of nowhere, Bax decided to take a dive off the side of the wheelchair - and in a move I haven't seen from Michael in months, and that I wasn't sure I'd ever see from him again... Mike grabbed Bax quickly with both hands and held him back on his lap. It was so good to see. I couldn't believe how quickly he responded. I think it's because it involved his sense of touch and not sight. His vision is so bad that he isn't able to respond to things quickly in front of him, but the feeling of Bax about to lunge off the side of the chair... that Mike understood and reacted to.


There's this NPR show that I used to hate called, "voices in the family" on WHYY with Dan Gotlieb (sp?). Mike always used to mock my irrational hatred of this show. I don't know why I didn't like it. His voice? the idea of people calling in for emotional support to a radio show? I don't know.

Well, this morning they were talking about the role of spirituality in times of trauma and grief. And how in order to process the reality of difficult times, it is almost necessary to believe in something greater than yourself. And I thought and thought about this... for a while in terms of God and religion. Yes, I do pray to whomever is listening. I pray for Michael to get better and I pray for strength.

But the "something greater than myself" that is truly getting me through this isn't belief in some deity. It's belief in the goodness of humanity. The goodness and generosity of the amazing people around us. The strangers who are following our story and write words of support. The people at DiscMakers who are SO good to Michael and confirm the fact that they really are a family to him. The many friends who visit Mike every day. The anonymous mom of a child at Bax's daycare who gave me a gift certificate to Topper's (!). The family members near and far who check in to see how I'm surviving all this. The neighbors who offer up any help they can. The amazing nurses who turn on Mike's music at night, ask him about Baxter, and cry when they see us together on a particularly good day. The woman who works in the little booth in the parking garage who asks how my husband is whenever I pay her on my way out. The women at Haddon Learning Center who take such good care of my boy and have been so kind to us. My babysitter, Annie, who won't except a dime from me (which, Annie - has to stop. Really.).

And then there are people who I meet who are just wonderful who have no knowledge of this situation. The chatty woman at Superfresh. The many people who fall in love with Baxter at first sight and gush over him. The friendly guy at Dunkin Donuts who gave me 5 free munchkins for Baxter just because.

It would be easy to become a bitter person over the course of this saga - but how boring and what a waste of a lighthearted person (which I generally am). Besides - bitterness breeds bitterness. Instead, I actually find that I am so overly polite lately - so chipper and chatty with folks - just to minimize the likelihood that I will get bad vibes sent back my way. And you know what? 9 times out of 10, it works. I feel the love right back. More than ever. And these strangers will never know how important it is. The holding of the door, the "Sweetie" from the cashier, the picking up of something I drop, the random, "I see you have Pirate's booty in your cart. Does your son really like that? I've been wanting to try it."

So, I guess what I'm saying is my "something bigger than myself" is the kindness of others.

Thanks for that.


Anne Ladenson said...

Wow, Danna, what a great update. The thought of Mike holding onto Baxter as he tried to lunge off his lap. I mean, everything about it - the instincts, the strength, the follow-through - it's all so great.

I've never been a big Dan Gottlieb fan either. I think there's something about his particular brand of a Philly accent that gets me. But did you know he was in a near-fatal car accident and is paralyzed from the chest down? Kind of gives you pause, doesn't it?

Your sending love out into the world in every interaction, big and small, can only be good. Another reason why you're an inspiration to us all.

Hugs from all us Ladensons, especially from Phoebe and Max who really want a playdate with Bax (hint hint - we're available tomorrow if you want to drop him off while visiting mike since day care is closed).

Peter said...

It's great that the results of the various outside consults support the current plan. How long after radiation ends will the cyst aspirations be performed?

The Brain said...

Peter - in Diana's most recent phone chat with Evans, he said the cyst aspiration will happen ASAP post radiation. I don't know what that means, but it means it's on the radar, anyway.