I don't even know what to say about the last two weeks whether to laugh, cry or spontaneously combust in a smokey puff of anxiety.
Our Sach has been in the hospital, two hospitals actually and it has been scary and hard for all of us. There has been a barrage of tests - CT scans, cystograms, a cystoscopy and ultrasounds. He has had so many nuclear medicine scans, I think he might glow in the dark. He's had a barrage of medication - morphine endone, ketamine, medazalam, kephalexin, not to mention the anaesthetic drugs for surgery. Diagnoses have ranged from appendicitis, to a mass in the liver,, hydronephroses and now we are sitting with a dodgy kidney and abnormal ureters until the next tests. The kid knows more about canulas and catheters and worst of all, his nemesis, the dreaded medical tape, than is right for a boy of 8.
So incredibly grateful that excellent free medical help is here for us when we need it.
And thank goodness he faced it all with confidence, spirit, intelligence and humour (and sometimes, inexplicably, with a Scottish accent). He could verbalise fears and demand that every nurse and doctor stop right there and explain exactly what they were going to do before they did it. He screamed when he was scared or in pain, he didn't swallow it up or pretend it wasn't happening. He made demands and tried to control what little of what was happening to him could be controlled. He took no shit. And I am so grateful, (not for the screaming, I could totally do without the screaming) but for his honesty and spirit and confidence.
I am grateful that, even though this is not over for him, with more tests and a final plan to be established, this can probably be managed. I am grateful that he went through it surrounded by loving family: his mother or father sleeping at his side in hospital every night; his brother and sister playing with him in the children's ward play room, catheter bag in tow; his big cousin playing endless games of that great card game - 'Oh Shit' taught to him by the lovely teacher on the ward and his Gran, aunts and uncle all there to love and support him.
I am so grateful for his gorgeous school friends who came to visit, sent gifts and messages to 'get well soon'. For the friends who cooked us food, visited and made sure we arrived home to a clean house and a care package. That is love!
I am especially grateful to Ronald McDonald House, who provided us with safe comfort and respite at such a stress-soaked time. Thanks to them we could rest, we could keep our family together for Sophie's birthday which we celebrated with cake in an isolation room in the children's ward. She declared it a 'shit day' but at least it was unforgettable.
We may not all support the McDonalds menus for kids but the service they provide through Ronald McDonald houses, to families like us, who have to travel for the medical treatment of their children, can not be underestimated. It can not. Nor can the generosity of the companies or volunteers who come in and cook meals for parents in the houses, or those that donate toys and food and other comforts to these parents at their most stressed and most vulnerable.
If you can help a Ronald McDonald house, in any way, I urge you to. They are doing good.
I am grateful my son was not the boy with chronic skin conditions that had been in hospital for months, who had no visitors for the whole time we were there. Grateful not to be the mother of the twins with developmental problems so bad that they are violent and can't live together. They have to take turns being at home and in care.
Grateful that he is out of hospital.
Grateful that there is hope that there will be a plan and an end.
Exhausted and still anxious as hell.
But so lucky.