Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A while

It's been a while since I've posted. All is well. Just not feeling very profound.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


We were watching the family's new favorite show last night, Dogtown. It's a documentary show about a facility dedicated to rehabbing and placing damaged dogs. Everyone in my house can enjoy it, and it cuts down on the Hannah Montana re-runs (tho greatly increases the pleas for a puppy.)

Bruno, one of the dogs, died. My elder daughter grabbed the remote and started to fast forward to a happier scene, but I stopped her. I figured that this might be a good way to talk about it with the kids, without talking about it. Quite poetically, the dog died of a brain tumor (which the kids didn't catch).

Henry didn't seem to follow what was happening until the dog's burial. He asked me when the dog would be alive again, and cried when I told him it wouldn't. We haven't avoided the subject of death, but it's not exactly dinner table fodder either. Yet another place that religious belief would really come in handy for me.

How much does a 4 year old understand about death? I was sorry that the show upset him, but it reinforced to me that he's not ready to discuss what will happen to him. I have occasionally felt like it's something that we should be doing, at least when he gets sicker, but my mother gut instinct (which I have learned to listen to) tells me not to so far.

He was inconsolable for a time, until I realized that he was upset about the dog's collar which was left on the grave as a marker. He really wanted for another dog to use the collar. As soon as I assured him of that, he stopped crying and hasn't mentioned it since. Henry's style is to ruminate for a while before discussing, so I expect it to show up again in conversation.

For now, I can't think of a way to make death and burial anything less than terrifying to a concrete thinker. I think I'll follow my mommy gut and lie to him.

RIP, Bruno.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My First Political Post

This is so not a political blog. But I feel the need to comment.

I like Obama. Really like him. He's up against some unenviably huge problems, and will surely not be able to please everyone who expects him to deliver what they expect him to deliver.

I've said that the only way that I would be really disappointed with him is if I felt he lost his integrity, which the naive part of me wants to believe can still exist in a politician.

But I'm disappointed.

Sanjay Gupta? Surgeon General?


All the talk about primary care saving the American health care system, and a neurosurgeon is getting tagged for Surgeon General? Can you get more specialized than a neurosurgeon? To head the public health service?

I even like Dr. Gupta, it's nothing against him. But I'm disappointed.

Maybe I'm less disappointed in Obama's decision, and more disappointed that there isn't a well-known primary care physician that could fill the role.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

His Face

Despite our Christmas scare, Henry is again thriving. It's so much fun to talk to him, play with him, learn from him, be amazed by him. I remain incredibly grateful for this time, and somehow able to put my sorrow away most of the time.

But I miss his face.

He's taking daily steroids now, for over 2 months. They've been tapered down to a relatively low level, but since he's feeling so incredibly good we're cautious about decreasing further. Regular steroid use causes a number of changes, one of which is a characteristic "moon facies", or more colloquially "chipmunk cheeks".

In the same way that two children with Down's syndrome look similar, any two four year old boys on steroids look like they could be brothers. Their cheeks are infinitely pinchable, kissable, lovable....but it's a real distortion of the natural face.

I've realized that I won't ever see his natural face again, as he'll most likely be on the steroids till the end. It saddens me. Of course, I'd never trade his current perplexing health, and I eat up all the grins, scowls, and looks that I'm getting these days. But after 15 months of baldness, anemia, extreme weight loss, extreme weight gain, and an episode of massive edema, I have a scant number of pictures of my boy, as he would have been, untouched by cancer.

Isn't he gorgeous?