It was our own “go ahead, slap Weezer” scene from Steel Magnolias. Of course if you’re not someone like me who has favorite quotes from watching the movie so often, let me explain. It is about an uptight, serious life scene when something outrageous is said and done to lighten up the moment a bit. Laughter was allowed to sneak in.
Our own scene started just after Nicky’s surgery. It was incredibly fortunate for him that after being admitted so recently that he would be able to get all that he needed to get accomplished by various doctors during the time he would be anesthetized during his surgical procedure. The main purpose of the surgery was to insert his port-a-cath. The doctors worked really hard to coordinate his first bone marrow extraction in his back hip bone that would give them a closer look at the blood cells, as well as the first of many spinal taps to administer methotrexate while he would be under. There was word in the morning hours that the timing for everything may not work out and that the bone marrow and spinal tap would be done later when he would not be put asleep-which was the normal route.
Success and a blessing! Everything could be done while he would be under the anesthesia.
When his surgery was complete, a nurse came to get us and walk us to a very large open room where patients are brought just after surgery. Here was our sweet, little guy still unconscious. He was laying on his back. His eyelids were swollen and between his teeth he had a vice grip on a plastic piece which had guided a tube during surgery. We barely had a moment to lean over him to kiss him and tell him how much we loved him when a technician and her equipment cart pulled up next to his bed.
She was very cheerful as she set herself up and explained to us that she needed to get a baseline echocardiogram by doing an ultrasound on his heart. She explained that they could not manage to arrange it prior to surgery, but that she needed to get it done now.
So she started to gel up his chest and move this mini microphone looking thing around his chest. Can you envision this? A person’s heart is a bit to the left of the chest…and so was the larger if the two incisions necessary to insert the port just under the skin.
My husband and I were standing there watching. Horrified describes our look well. Our eyebrows up to our hairlines, and our eyes huge as we take in what this woman is doing. She kept moving this microphone tool around his chest, applying a bit of pressure and angling it in various ways. The only reason we kept our mouths closed was because he was totally out. But it was getting hard to keep watching.
Then he started to wiggle.
Right away, I started to think that he might be getting uncomfortable and that I needed to request she stop for now.
But before we knew it, with eyes still closed Nicky simply lifted himself up and leaned his head a bit to the side of the bed. The side wear she was standing.
And he proceeded to puke all over this woman’s shoes.
It was a beautiful moment.
My husband and I wiped Nicky off and told him everything was OK. Actually, he still had his eyes closed and was not ready to wake up yet. The plastic piece from between his teeth was now on the floor. The technician was very good about it all and made no big deal. She finished quickly. “Squish, squish” The technician and her soggy nursing shoes stepped out of the puddle, backed her equipment up, and disappeared out the door.
My husband and I savored the moment. We eyed each other with that “we shouldn’t be smiling but wasn’t that just too funny” look.
We bent over to give him more kisses and whispered “good job, Nicky!” And that good job didn’t just cover the surgery, chemo, and diagnostic procedures he had just endured…
…but for having good aim and making us smile.
Both Nicky and Tim smile now when we tell them the story. What healthy boy doesn’t like a good, gross story?
Don’t allow the sadness of what is going on engulf you and remain like a dark cloud over your head. Let in the sunshine, let in the joy, let in the laughter.
One month into treatment and just started to lose his hair.