For our first week of 'girl time,' I thought about trying to stick to a schedule of some sort. We take Jeremy to school each morning, come back and begin the day's medication regimen, and…it varies from there. Not knowing how Paige is going to feel from day to day makes a regular schedule a bit difficult if not impossible.
Unable to attend school due to a suppressed immune system from chemotherapy, Paige began working with her homebound services teacher this week. That takes care of the mind being put back to work. I've taken her out to a couple of stores for very short errands (mid-morning, no crowds)--getting her up and around gives her body a chance to retain some conditioning.
Toward the end of the week--maybe sometime last night after chemo treatment #4, I paused long enough to reflect on what this new 'girl time' really means for us:
- Daily Care: The PICC line in her arm (used for blood draws & administering chemo) cannot get wet, and Paige is unable to do some things on her own. This independent-from-birth child depends on me for assistance with shampooing, getting shirt sleeves on over this line, and many other things she would typically do solo. She struggled with this 'invasion of privacy' the first few days in the hospital, but we've got a whole system down now and joke about it often!
- Homework: Paige's homebound teacher works on lessons and procedures and leaves a few assignments for her to complete before the next visit. Before the diagnosis (hereby referred to as BD), it was not uncommon to find us butting heads over homework. Now, we look at notes together to check for understanding before she attempts an assignment. We talk about stories and passages read, making connections to life BD and AD (after the diagnosis).
- Providing Comfort: Evenings can sometimes be a little rough on Paige. Waves of "ick" feelings hit and quickly wipe her out. A glass of Sprite, a few salty chips, and snuggling in her own bed usually put her back on the path to feeling better. Particularly tough nights find me right there beside her, holding her hand or stroking her hair. It's where I'm supposed to be.
- Random Conversations: Whether it's teasing me about flushing her PICC line or talking about the inevitability of losing her hair, communication has changed between us. It's actually improved. Remember, she is thirteen! BD, that meant occasional eye rolling, sighing, and general silence. AD, we talk and laugh and "have moments" (her words, not mine).
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord… Psalm 127:3