So why was there a dance party in Room 1110? Because we realized the bone marrow transplant that concluded the day might be the last major procedure Dominic undergoes.
Most kids have a party when they get their last dose of chemotherapy. That day sailed by earlier this week without us realizing it.
Similarly, we downplayed the importance of transplant day. We know full well that the hardest days are the ones after Day 0, because that's when he's expected to get mouth sores, feel the brunt of that last round of chemo and need to be fed through a tube.
But when you think of all of the work that goes in to getting that little bag of specialized watermelon-pink blood cells, it's worth turning the music up for and shaking little containers of sterilized water like they're maracas.
Someone, somewhere had to sign up to be a donor. Once approached, they had to say yes again, then take a regimen of drugs and undergo a day's worth of blood extraction.
Then the blood had to be separated out, distilled and shipped to us here at the Alberta Children's Hospital. Folks here worked with it, found out that it had way more good cells than they had hoped, and measured a tenth of the amount collected into the bag that Dominic received this evening. They froze the rest.
In the meantime, he was prepped for surgery to redo his broviac line which broke Tuesday morning. They tried to fix it but it had broken three other times previously and it didn't work. Plus his blood counts were so low he needed a morning transfusion.
Dominic wasn't allowed to eat or drink all day. He was sluggish, tired, barely slept over night and just wanted to hug mom and dad. The surgery took more than an hour. He was hooked up to a dozen or so lines for monitoring everything imaginable.
Three nurses came in to do the transplant. This is supposed to be the scary part; they're all in the room in case he has a bad reaction to the blood. He barely opened his eyes, holding mom's hand which bore a bracelet inscribed with the word hope.
Trish put on some music. She tried to pose for a photo with him looking concerned, but couldn't be anything but happy. Suddenly, none of us could. We danced, sang, made sure he was doing fine. He was. And once it was done he woke up, ate a bit and danced along with us. The nurses called it the happiest transplant they've ever done.
(Video of him dancing is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIKTrSBx2V4)
His friend Tanya dropped by. She'd made him a stuffed bear at the Ronald McDonald House with feeding tube and IV lines built in to it. She's been through all of this and has become one of Dominic's new friends. She wrote a letter to him: "Hi Dominic hope u are doing fine! This teddy bear so u can cope with what's happening by having your own patient so u can be a doctor!"
He doesn't know what's going on, but one day we'll be able to smile and tell him about all the love he received to get through it.