How to make fries

Day 2 of radiation done and dusted. As I sit back with a glass of wine and contemplate the day’s ‘adventures’, there are a few lessons I have learned.

After a morning so fraught with emotion, I felt as if I’d been sobbing for hours. No tears from me, but so many emotional outbursts and declarations of “this is the worst day ever!” from my little V, they just suck the energy out right out of you. With a little prodding, Miss V so succinctly explains that she’s feeling “very emotional with all the changes that have been happening lately” (ie. Daddy returning to work part-time). I’m so proud that she’s so in touch with her feelings (and wondering if she’s been reading my diary). After a heart-felt ‘d and m’, she is restored to her happy-bouncy self and the World is a better place. Today’s “not so bad after all” and I’m patting myself on the back for the crisis averted… Lesson no. 1: Don’t celebrate prematurely.

After an uneventful radiation session, Miss V announces she feels like Maccas chips. “Sure” I reply, thinking that in all likelihood the thought of them will make her want to throw up by time we get there. Surprisingly we make it to McDonalds and she’s still keen so I go through the drive through. I’m fully prepared to buy chips of which only one bite is likely to be taken before they are discarded. This is what it’s come down to. The price of chemo.  Only I am pleasantly surprised.  As Violet continues to munch away on the fries in the back of the car, I’m getting excited about this new breakthrough. Inside, I’m celebrating. I’m thinking about the photo I should take to send to Daddy. What should the caption be? Should I post it to Facebook?  Meanwhile, Violet is going through the process of how to make hot chips. She gets to chopping up the potatoes and adding the ‘sugar’ and I explain the rest.

So then we are driving along happily to Violet’s playlist with The Sound of Music’s “do, rei, me” cranking. I’m thinking about how awesomely the day has ended up: emotional crisis averted (no longer the “worst day ever”), successful radiation, chips being consumed and then it happens… Doh rei me, we are now being educated about how maccas chips are digested (not all that quickly may I add!). It’s only vomit, I assure myself (after all this is a very common occurrence at this stage of our lives). I pull over as soon as safely possible, but it’s too late. Her nasogastric tube has already left the building. (If you don’t know, Violet’s NG tube is literally her lifeline. All her meds and the majority of her nutrition are administered through this little yellow tube.) What’s done is done. It’s nearly time for school to end so I drive to school to pick up the other kids before heading back to the hospital for a new one. The whole time, my emotionally fraught child cries about how it’s “all her fault” and that she “told me” it was the “worst day ever.”  I spend the remainder of the trip building her up and convincing her that it’s not that bad and by the time we get to school she is resigned to the fact we’re returning to hospital (to stick a tube down her throat and into her stomach while she is fully conscious) and she’s OK with it. Lesson no. 2: leather car seats are ‘da bomb’ when cleaning up vomit. Fully recommend them. No lingering smell.

“It’s all ok”, I tell myself as we drive into to the Emergency Department (because the oncology unit is too overloaded today to deal with us). Craig is there waiting at ED after being at work all day. After MUCH convincing about how easy and painless it will be inserting a new NG tube (28 days after the last time), we are finally given the green light (from the nose owner) to proceed. This attempt results in a tube in the lung (target is most definitely the stomach) and a bleeding throat. Goodbye tube… again. By this stage I’m thinking of beginning a new career as a Negotiator. The second attempt, after the use of some numbing spray, is successful (why oh why have we never been given this before!???). However, the wire they use inside the tube to insert it, does not budge (like, it is seriously stuck!!). Now I am not normally one to tell God what to do, but by this stage I was TELLING God that we were not removing this tube again so he was going to have to get that wire sorted out. I can see the panic in the student doctor’s eyes and hear the desperation in the nurse’s voice.  Not sure if she’s a praying person, but I’m pretty sure she’s praying by this point. This is about as close to torturing a child as I’ve seen yet and I think she would have run for the hills before attempting it again. “Just breathe” I tell everyone in the room (more to bide some more time before she yanks that tube out again). Thankfully, Craig is having the same thoughts. There was NO WAY that tube was coming out again. He steps in and says “give me a go.” Praise God, to the Nurse’s surprise, he got that wire out!

So we finally get home and as I’m cradling my glass of wine, Craig asks me “so how was your day?”

“Well,” I say. “That was about the worst day ever…”



4 thoughts on “How to make fries

  1. Oh My Gosh…
    Colleen, you and Craig are amazing. How you are dealing with this situation is nothing short of incredible. I don’t know either of you very well, but from following this journey in your life, I am just in awe of you both.
    I know that you must have some very bad moments of coping, but you do… and you do it together. Much love to you both.


  2. Oh wow! What patience you all have, Violet included! Those Maccas fries can be dangerous, but delicious. I hope after all that Violet enjoyed them while she munched them 😊


  3. Well said Rhonda Barbeler. You have said everything I wanted to say & feel. 👍
    Here is a 👍up for a better day. ❤️to you all. ❌❤️❌❤️


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