Thursday, 14 November 2013

Through the looking glass

There's two main windows in Room 1123. One separates the indoors from the outdoors. The other segregates Dominic from the rest of the world.

Two weeks and counting. That's how long Dom's been in isolation on the oncology ward at the Alberta Children's Hospital now. And though he's eating better and gaining weight, it turns out there's no end in sight.

The nausea and later diarrhea he had weren't just symptoms resulting from his chemotherapy. No, they were from a virus. Two viruses, actually. The first we forgot the name of, and it went away only to be replaced by the well-known norovirus.

You hear about outbreaks of norovirus all the time. In severe cases it can be deadly, but judging from Dom's demeanour (and lessened symptoms this week), he'll be just fine. Problem is, because it's a more aggressive contagion and spreads easily, he'll have at least a week longer in isolation before they let him roam the hallways.

So instead of charming the nurses as he proudly marches by in his walker, he now spots them on the other side of the door and puts on a show. Sometimes as many as five of them will gather on the other side of the glass and talk and coo at him as he waves, laughs and makes noises back at them.

At least the main symptoms have subsided. It got to the point where changing his diaper was a six-step process involving extra creams, lotions and ointments. So about half-way to Alcoholics Anonymous, except for your butt.

On another positive front, we have our first word. "Mum." That's well-deserved considering Trish has been with him for all but two nights of this long visit to the hospital. We're not sure he knows who Mum is but he's enjoying saying it. Dad will have to wait, and being away for two 10-day stretches in November probably doesn't help that elusive word's development.

The prolonged stays in Medicine Hat are for good reason, as on Nov. 2 I helped our team raise more than $5,000 for the Extra Life gaming marathon with proceeds going to the Alberta Children's Hospital. Tonight there's a steak and silent auction fundraiser for us that's been organized by previously complete strangers. It really is remarkable and I only wish Trish and Dom were somehow able to join me.

Next Thursday is the other big event. If you want any details on any fundraising, we have nothing to do with it but our wonderful friend Trevor maintains which details all of it. And like I've said before, we're so thankful for all of the support we've received, be it the thousands of blog hits which let us know folks are pulling for us (there's been more than 25,000), little toys for Dom or the financial help.

In an unexpected twist, he has been able to get out of the room a couple times. He just can't stick around the unit, so he and Trish go for walks outside the hospital for an hour at a time. They're becoming more necessary as it's clear he's becoming more antsy about being stuck in the room for so long as we wait for his blood counts to rise again.

Thanks again for following along on Dominic's journey. We appreciate it more than you know.

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