This time last year we had just busted out of the hospital with Natalie. About a week and a half prior we had returned home from Natalie’s Make-a-Wish trip where we played in the sun for a week at Atlantis (Natalie was 4-years-old). We had an AMAZING time, however after only a few days of being home Natalie spiked a fever which landed us in the emergency room…turned out she was neutropenic (meaning she had next to no neutrophils which are a type of white blood cell that fight off infections). This is always very dangerous as the smallest virus or infection can cause the biggest (and scariest) problems since her little body has no way of fighting whatever it is off.
Because chemo treatments and “medications” are so toxic, we were no strangers to neutropenia with Natalie as unfortunately this happens often and regularly to kids in round the clock treatment for cancer. Anyway, having found that out, Natalie was admitted into the hospital where we stayed for about a week. Honestly though, at that point we were a good four months into her maintenance treatment (meaning monthly IV chemo rather then harsh weekly chemos as in the first ten months) and while no parent wants to be in the hospital with their child, or see them in any discomfort or pain…we hadn’t had to be there with Natalie for nearly six months, so we were grateful that she had had such a “healthy” run of treatment….and touch wood, we haven’t had to be admitted for ANYTHING since!
Natalie felt pretty crappy much of that week, however because of where she was in treatment, her numbers rebounded quickly and the day before we were released she perked up big time. On this particular day there was about an hour or so where Natalie didn’t have to be hooked up to anything! That’s pretty unheard of when you’re in the hospital, in the least there’s usually a steady bag of fluids going. Anyway, Natalie had complete freedom for that hour (meaning no lines connected to her IV), so my girlie wanted to utilize that freedom and stroll about her room without having to drag around an IV pole. At that point I picked up my camera and just started following her around snapping photos as she went. As odd as this might sound, it was pretty great because Natalie and I didn’t say a word to each other the entire time, I was merely an observer as she did her thing. She never told me to stop taking photos, nor did she “act” for the camera…it’s as if I wasn’t even there and Natalie was simply enjoying some quiet time alone.
I would have LOVED to have known what was going through her mind at this time…it took everything in me to not talk to her (especially when she was doing something that I didn’t really like her doing), but I kept my mouth shut for once and just let her be.