Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mardi Gras

Memphis storm radar 02-05

We got to E Clinic to speak with Dr. Gajjar this morning and he was fashionably late, we waited for an hour.

But this is the same man who responds to my panicked wee-hours-of-the-morning emails, sometimes within half an hour, so there isn't much I won't forgive.

Monday dinner at Corky's

We got to meet Dr. Gajjar's new nurse, Lizzie. His previous nurse, Valerie, moved to Texas to get married. There was an entirely new staff in the clinic this time.

MRI results show no change. In the case of a malignant tumor, any change at all is bad change, so this is the best possible news and in the absence of new symptoms, we're good for another six months.

Steven and Dr. Gajjar's new nurse, Lizzie

I don't know why I was so on edge this time, but for me this was a particularly stressful visit. The IV fiasco yesterday made it bad for Steven too.

After we got the results, a nurse helped me and Steven remove his IV, again he ended up trembling from head to toe and drenched in sweat, but we got it out and his relief was palpable.

Lizzie finally got Steven stopped talking enough to examine him

Now IV'less, we headed over to our first visit in the new Chili's Care Center to do the bone age X-ray we couldn't do yesterday with the IV in.

We saw the neurologist and finally headed back to Grizzlies House.

Steven and the great man himself, Dr. Gajjar

When we're in Memphis, it's like living in a world unto itself or something, we don't hear the news or read newspapers or pay attention to much of anything except the anticipation of MRI results.

There was a severe weather warning today that we were unaware of. Since we arrived, day and night temperatures have been in the 70's, cloudy, humid, and no wind. We lived in Memphis long enough to realize the warning signs of bad weather, but we were too stressed to notice.

The aquarium in the new Chili's Care Center

So today upon leaving the hospital a flash of lightning and a crack of thunder sounded that just about laid us on the ground. We started to run toward Grizzlies House, the sudden rain pelting us as we ran.

We got inside and I watched out the window as the winds picked up, blowing the rain and water in the parking lot into waves. Steven went downstairs to celebrate his clean MRI results with a few rounds of computer games and I turned on the TV.

Sonic The Hedgehog in the new Chili's Care Center waiting room

After about an hour someone pounded on my door and told me to get downstairs immediately. I went down and they gathered all the Grizzlies House residents in the stairwells on the first floor.

We huddled down there for about an hour as half a dozen or more tornadoes touched down in Memphis, the tornado watch sirens at the fire station blaring.

Crafts in the B Clinic waiting room

There was a Mardi Gras dinner planned for the St. Jude families at Grizzlies House, but it was postponed while we waited for the tornadoes to pass.

Finally we were permitted to eat dinner, but weren't allowed to return to our rooms for another hour.

The airport was closed and a 737 on the ground was blown two feet or so across the ground. The Fed Ex hangar at the airport was trashed, and a local shopping mall was severely damaged.

Grizzlies House residents taking shelter from the tornado

We were originally scheduled to fly out of Memphis today and they decided to move us to Wednesday. Someone must be watching out for us after all.

We have one visit tomorrow, then we head home.

And we are so ready to go home.

Mardi Gras dinner at Grizzlies House

I am unspeakably grateful that Steven continues to do so well. I don't understand it, but I'm grateful. Countless times I've cried and prayed and not believed he would make it this far.

Yet here he is and it has nothing to do with me. I love both my boys so much.

- Kathleen


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