Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7Since Clara first entered the hospital over 2 months ago, I have had a lot of time to read, to think, and to contemplate life and it's many challenges and opportunities. Just this morning, while Clara was sleeping, I finished reading Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, the story of a boy (Pip) who lived a contented life, but wanted more and was blessed/cursed with almost everything he thought he wanted. At the end of the book, the boy (now a grown man) returns to his roots and realizes there is goodness in contentment and in living a good and honest life. People he once loathed because of their lowly station in life become the boy's heroes and greatest source of admiration.
I hope that Clara's cancer has helped me to get wisdom and understanding, much like the boy Pip received. Most of all, today I am thinking about motivation. Why do I do the things I do? Is it to be seen and admired of others, to have something to be proud of? Is it because I expect something in return? Do I do the things I do because I am trying to be more Christlike and truly care for my fellow man? Oftentimes, the answer is "I don't know." I hope that I have pure motives for my actions, but sometimes I question myself.
Natasha and I have certainly reexamined our priorities since Clara's diagnosis. Time is our most valuable asset, and it must be spent with our family, particularly with our children. Even if that means the seven of us spend most of the summer in a one-bedroom apartment. We will spend more quality time with our children because we love them and because we want the best for them.
Many of this blogs' readers (probably all of you) are particularly interested in Clara and how she is doing. We came back to the hospital on Wednesday for round 4 of her chemotherapy. She began Wednesday evening around 6:00 with 3 different drugs, which I will likely misspell. Vincristine is injected into her line in about 30 seconds. She gets this 3 times, once per day. Cyclophosphamide goes in via IV drip over about 6 hours. She gets this twice (done with this now). Doxorubicin is also injected via IV drip over a 72 hour period. All this means is that Clara is constantly hooked up to her "robot." No running, jumping, or scootering for Clara this time.
The previous paragraphs were written during Clara's nap this afternoon. Things have taken a turn for the worse since then. Clara awoke from her nap in good spirits, wanting to eat, drink, and go for a "litto walk." Her walk ended abruptly when I noticed she had pulled out her central line. With all the doctors and nurses have taught us about these lines, and knowing Clara's susceptibility to infection, I panicked, picking Clara up and running down the hall to the nurses station. In a period of a few seconds I was dripping cold sweat as my heart raced as if I'd just sprinted a mile. The charge nurse quickly ascertained the severity of the situation, calmly informed the oncologist and got to work. Within minutes Clara's wound was stabilized.
During the whole episode Clara was calm, but frustrated that we had interrupted her playing. I am hopeful that she didn't get any bright ideas about pulling her line out when she really wants to have a good time. After she was patched up, she ran and jumped up and down the hall and had to retry every toy car and scooter in the hospital. She was euphoric. This didn't last long either. Because of potential contamination with the chemo drugs which dripped into her system outside of her veins, Clara needed another IV drug. IV drug + no central line = IV in the arm/hand. Three tries, a lot of blood and tears (hers and mine) later, and she had the medication that she needed.
Ever the good-humored child, Clara looked at the work of the nurses and said, "Clara funny hand."
Because of Clara's handiwork and my inattention/inability to protect her from herself, tomorrow Clara will undergo surgery at 8:00 am to place a new Hickman line in her chest. When she is sufficiently recovered, she will resume her chemotherapy regimen - one quick drug and the other over 24 hours. After the surgeon explained this all to me, I had a small chat with Clara, 99% of which flew right over her head. She did seem to pay particular attention to the part where I told her "save the drama for your momma."
Stay tuned . . .