Friday, April 11, 2008

What You Gonna Dream About?

The last few days in the hospital, while certainly not anything that could be measured as 'normal', have been rather uneventful. This is a very desirable characteristic of a hospital visit of any kind, but it makes for long days. Henry is doing very well right now in terms of the side effects of his chemotherapy. He has surprised the doctors with how active he has been. In fact yesterday after receiving both blood and platelets, it was like he had the energy of several three year olds! His stamina took him around the floor several times on the bike, then on foot. This from a child whose last chemotherapy regimen left him weak and in need of practice to walk again once out. We're so pleased right now.

One of the quirky things that Henry takes to in his less active and fatigued times is resorting to an arsenal of questions and idiosyncrasies that are in no uncertain ways like water torture. Here are a couple of examples.

  • The need to let the sheath on the temperature gauge fall completely to the bed before retrieving it.

  • He must hang up all telephones at all times.

  • He must be the one to operate the room remote. This includes the light, the TV, the volume and the nurse call button.

  • Requiring us to 'help me hide' before we leave the room so when we return he can 'surprise' us. Every time.

  • My personal favorite...The need to hold up a special stop sign to indicate when he stops peeing in the urinal.

Yesterday a quacking duck had to accompany each diaper change. Each of these things must happen. If not the offender will be summarily punished with an outburst of spectacular proportions. Occasionally the offender is not made aware of the requirements before a new rule is introduced as the other day when I helped him blow his nose. Now this is something that we've done for him forever. Somehow I did not perform this ritual exactly as expected and he went nuclear.

Now of course we understand that these are his ways of exerting control over an otherwise awful situation. He's practically locked in a 15 x 20 room for almost the entire day over the course of three weeks. He is prodded every 4 hours for vital signs. He's made to take nasty tasting medicines, awakened with stomach cramps and while he may feel like eating, his body isn't always on board with the idea.

Of course he also asks at nighttime, "What are you gonna dream about?" and we have a short discussion about the sweet things that he's going to dream about. His dreams usually involve his daily visitors, his sisters, his grandmothers and occasionally about his toys. Last night when I returned the question, he replied "I'm going to dream about Gramma comin' to visit me."


Anonymous said...

This is similar to a bedtime ritual I have with my kids. I ask, "So . . . where shall we meet in dreamland tonight?" It's fun the things they imagine & it provides a great comfort (for me probably more so than for them) that I will meet them wherever they want to go in our respective dreams. Then sometimes we ask the next morning, "What did you like most about where we were?", and of course, I expand on their musings. Try it & enjoy! Laura

Granya said...

I have observed Henry's quirks and obsessions and when he goes "nuclear". He is totally ritualistic and unrelenting - I think he always has been.

The marvel is that he endures his confinement, even when he feels pretty well; tolerates his infirmary while family, friends and staff come and go; and demonstrates such a healthy acceptance of it all; and can look forward to his dreams.

Anonymous said...

Henry, what a great dream. To dream of Grandma visiting. Awesome!

I dream of the next time I see you and can watch you play with all your cousins at another family reunion.
What joy that will be!

Love always,
Cousin Susan H. and Cody!