Another Monday, another overnighter.
At least this time Jake isn't running a fever. Yet. We've been here since noon and four hours later they're still pumping him full of fluids. He napped for a while and now we've started Episode 1 of Survivor: Australia.
His biggest problem is food. He's definitely gone off the hospital food, even when they'll bring him whatever he wants whenever he wants. Last time we brought up frozen dinners and kept them in the Nutrition Room. This time we stopped at Subway. Hopefully he won't get sick when they start the chemo, because I'd hate to have him start hating Subway.
In other news, we met with the Make-a-Wish foundation ten days ago and had a marvelous experience. (By the way, a piece of pertinent information--lots of people think Make-a-Wish is only for terminally ill children. Not true. Every child between the ages of 2 1/2 and 17 with a life-threatening illness is eligible. So no, Jacob is not dying. Now you can relax and read the story.)
We found out about Jake's eligibility from our social worker the first week in the hospital. I finally emailed the Utah director after radiation was finished in early March. Once they hear from the parents, Make-a-Wish contacts the child's doctor to verify eligibility. Then the family is assigned two Wish Counselors and the fun begins.
Our entire family went to the Make-a-Wish house on Friday evening, May 2. As we opened the door, there was a large sign that said "Welcome, Jacob." We met Irene and Carolyn, two wonderful volunteers who will be our liaisons for everything. The first task was to take our star-shaped wish tokens to the fountain in the backyard. After making our individual wishes (I'll bet you can guess what I wished for), we went up to the second floor where there's a large open space where we could all sit and see how well the members of our family know Jacob. After answering questions ranging from "What is Jacob's favorite kind of music?" to "What is Jacob's favorite store?"(and getting chocolate for each correct answer) Irene and Carolyn got down to business.
They asked Jake four questions: What would you most like to do? What would you most like to have? What would you most like to be? Where would you most like to go? After answering the four questions, they asked Jake to rank them in order from first to fourth.
So what was #1? What did Jake most wish for?
A cruise to the Bahamas.
No one was more surprised than Chris and I, but we're all delighted. Because Jacob has had an increasingly difficult time bouncing back after each inpatient, we've decided to reschedule our Washington D.C. trip to next summer. There would just be too much walking and too many hours of sightseeing for it to work this summer. A cruise, though, is perfect. Food, sun, water, and more food. Emma and Spencer can spend time at the kids' club, Matt and Jake can roam the ship to their heart's content, and we can all do as little or as much as we want.
The arrangements are moving quickly, thanks to the fact that our family is all in possession of passports. I spoke to the travel coordinator today and it looks like we're going the last week of July, sailing from Miami and visiting the Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten.
Make-a-Wish insists that families contribute nothing monetarily. All wishes are funded by donations. Utah averages 130 wishes granted a year, with no eligible child turned away and no waiting list. The walls of the house are covered with pictures and stories of children and their wishes. From dirt bikes to horses, puppies to computers, Europe to Disney World, Make-a-Wish has provided dreams for seriously ill children for years. They want these children to have hope.
Chris and I have had to deal with the issue of guilt, knowing that we as a family are capable of paying for this cruise ourselves. But Make-a-Wish insists that it be a gift. So our resolve is this: we may not be allowed to pay for anything on our trip, but we can contribute what we would have spent to Make-a-Wish and help another child and family achieve their wish.
If you're interested in Make-a-Wish and its work, check out the link: http://www.wish.org/