And all I can say . . . Why didn't I ask for the very last appointment of the day all along?
Our appointment was at 3:00, so that Jake only had to miss a little bit of study hall, and the clinic was absolutely empty when we got there. Okay, I think there were a few patients in rooms, but the waiting room was dead quiet. Everything went like clockwork and we were out of there by 4:00, giving us a jump on the worst of the rush hour traffic.
I will just have to ask for the late appointment whenever we have follow-up care.
We actually met a new oncologist yesterday. He was very nice and had a med student with him. He asked for a history from us, so the med student could see how the process goes, and he kept asking her things like, "Do you know why he's on neupogen?" and "Why does he take Septra every week?" It was really quite entertaining for us. (For the record, she's good. She got all the answers right. Though Jake wasn't that impressed--after all, he knew all the answers too.)
The most interesting comment came when the doctor was asking Jake about school. And Jake was being, well, twelve. ("Yes, I'm in school. It's okay. I get tired but mostly I'm just bored. Are you done yet?")
The doctor said to the med student, "This was one of my great lessons the first time I entered a pediatric cancer ward. I expected it to be a place of great sorrow and despair, but instead it was full of kids living their lives and families being pretty normal."
Is there sorrow in pediatric cancer wards? Absolutely. But the great thing about kids is how resilient they are and how well, generally speaking, they deal with the side effects. In fact, Jake came to me last night and said, "When you told me I had cancer, it didn't seem that horrible. It was just going to be something I had to do."
So here's to living our lives pretty normal. We're keeping our fingers crossed on Jake's hematocrit--it was 25.2 yesterday. If it goes below 25, they transfuse. He has inpatient next Monday and Tuesday, then another one on October 6-7.
And that will be it.