Back on the Bean
For the most part, I’ve tried to eliminate coffee from my life. A recent trip beyond the fog to the bay area found me lining up with the other bean heads at Peet’s Coffee. It only takes one, coffee that is. Then at lunch you think, yum a nice Ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee) would be a nice complement to this lemon grass chicken. Next thing you know it is the next day and you’re up after only a few hours of sleep waiting for the sun to rise.
What, you might say, does this have to do with a lumbar puncture? Or as some call it a spinal tap, which just makes me think of big bottoms.
Well, I am not sure other than life goes on with or without cancer. You still have to go to work and you still have to deal with your own demons as well as the treatments, the pills, the vomit, the whatever. So, I have a coffee addiction. The best part of the hospital is the Hubbards and Cravens on the first floor, across from the McDonalds. ( That still cracks me up. McDonald in the hospital.)
Why , you might still be asking yourself, am I talking about coffee and McDonalds instead of the vitamin B piss colored methotrexate that the nurse practitioner injects into my daugher. Well, because these other things sort of make me happy. Watching your daughter become senseless on versed and morphine is sickening. Like watching a junkie get high and nod off. Then as she moans, I hold her tightly to keep her from moving. The three inch needle, goes between a couple of her vertebrae and if it moves, it causes problems and pain.
Everything went smoothly, as it usually does. I love our practitioner, she is smooth and slow. Perhaps I could say, methodical. I hold Isa and tell her things like, “you’re nice to your sister.” “you clean up your room easily.” I figure hell, if she is in an altered state I should take advantage of it. I also tell her, “you’re safe,” and “i love you.”
Before going into these things she can’t eat. This of course is an issue every time. We, as a family , do not eat. BUT for some reason we stopped at Starbucks (see the aforementioned back on the bean paragraph above) before getting to the hospital. Isa decided that she needed a cookie. Cookies are not something I buy for her anywhere. Her most recent protest is to Un-buckle herself from the car seat.
It works as a protest.
I pull over, open the sliding door to the van, pull her out gently. You see, I’ve begun to reprimand the children away from anyone else. It seems to work better than yelling “Stop it” from the front seat. She is quite adaptive. She gently tells me, “Mama, what I meant to say was, could you get us a cookie to have after the treatment?” After I placed her back into the car, I walked back to the coffee shop to get a couple of cookies. The entire time, I was rationalizing that I was rewarding her nice behavior. Maybe I was just re-inforcing the bad. I will never know. Well, not until I head back to Starbucks for drive-thru coffee.
Once we arrived at the hospital everyone knew that we’d had an unbuckling incident, because I’d called to inform them that we’d be late. These incidents have taken up to 20 minutes to resolve. We got lucky this time because of the proximity to cookies I presume.
The hunger was overwhelming all of us, and Papa and Gigi sneaked downstairs to, you guessed it. McDonalds. Maybe he should’ve gotten us some more coffee too. Thinking about it now, I wish I had some.
Ok. All of this is just to lead up to the fact that after the lumbar puncture or spinal tap, (big bottoms) was over I started crying.
The beans or the traveling or the thought of a CFS (cerebral spinal fluid) relapse or a little girl’s recent encounter with WBC in her CFS fluid, or of Ellie’s death this summer overtook me. I cried. They’ve never seen me cry at the hospital. We try to be jovial, bored or angry but never tearful.
These procedures are ROUTINE for leukemia patients, but they come with risks, and the information that they gather could mean life and death. So, don’t give me any shit for writing about coffee, or Mickey D’s. My daughter still gets treatments for leukemia, and if yours does too then you know what the hell I am talking about, and if yours doesn’t then you don’t. And if you want to see what one mother says about her daughter’s death read this.
Damn, after all this talk about coffee, I think I’ll just stay Back on the Bean.