Courage – strength in the face of pain or grief
It’s not a secret how I feel about my girl. It’s not a secret at all that I hands down find her to be one of the bravest and most courageous children I have ever known. She faces adversity better than most adults I know. She presses onward with determination, not drama.
I don’t mean for a minute that there is never a hiccup on the path. That would be delusional, and even unfair for a child who has yet to pass her 10th birthday. But I mean, that despite the pebbles, rocks, and sometimes boulders tossed in her path, she keeps her head up and stays focused on what matters.
Yesterday we has testing at MSKCC in NYC. We were told to arrive by 8:30 AM for testing at 9. It was to be a 2 hour pituitary function test, followed by an ultrasound at 12:30. Then we would be home by about 2.
So we woke at the crack of dawn – a nasty habit this summer – and arrived in our designated spot by 8:20. As we were meeting the oncology nurse, a truly LOVELY and compassionate woman- a representative from the doctor’s office came bustling in to tell us the medication needed to start her test had not arrived at the hospital, and should be there by about 3. She then proceeded to tell me maybe I wanted to reschedule.
Let’s say succinctly that the conversation that followed took place out of Meghan’s earshot. The medication would arrive at 3. We would have our ultrasound at 2. And everything we left the house for bright and early WOULD be accomplished, before we headed home.
I can be a calm and rational person, at the right time. But, the right time is NOT after you confirm an appointment at 4:30 PM the night before and FAIL TO SEE IF THE NECESSARY MEDICINE IS ON SITE!
So, I saw the woman off on her tasks to fix what had been broken, and I took the cues of my girl who thought, “We are in Manhattan – Let’s see Daddy.”
We took the shuttle to 53rd street and 3rd Ave. Then we WALKED to 42nd and 7th. Just in case there was even the slightest doubt that Meghan needs her wheelchair in Disney – it has officially been confirmed. The 25 minute walk each way did more damage to her legs than I could have imagined.
But, we did get to Toys R US. Meghan has been there before, as it is one of the stores her Daddy helped light before it was open, and it is so close to his office, but a toy store of that size is a huge thrill nonetheless.
She left with a Merida doll from the movie “Brave.” Ever so fitting in so many ways. I knew Daddy would have to take the Barbie size one home with him, so we surprised her with a Polly Pocket sized one when we got back to the hospital.
Why did you like this doll, Mom?
Because YOU are the BRAVEST girl I know.
The shuttle took us back to MSKCC by 1:30. We promptly bought Tylenol for legs that could barely carry her and went to endure a 40 minute ultrasound. Then it was back up to the floor for the test. The medicine arrived – barely, just barely, but it arrived in time so that after an IV was placed, and a super painful injection given – we began the 9AM test at 3:15.
And there she sat, for 2 hours, in her chair. Reading, playing with her iPad, watching movies. Uncomfortable. Exhausted. Brave. Courageous.
It may take a week or more to have the test results, and I will pray as I always do, that they return without any evidence of a problem. But, time will tell, and the waiting game is one we are well practiced at.
So as we arrived home at about 7 last night – 12 hours after we left for the day- we consumed a giant dinner prepared by Daddy, and my poor exhausted girl took some more Tylenol and fell fast asleep.
Only to be woken this morning by the ring of the alarm clock.
An 11 AM MRI/MRA of the wrist was waiting for us at 1st Ave and 38th Street. The June 4th injury never healed, and it was finally time to get some answers. The doctors we have seen all have differing opinions. AVM? Arthritis?
When I tell you I have actually lost count of the number of MRIs my girl has had, you may find that odd, but there truly have been THAT many. We have the pattern pretty much down.
We let the (hopefully) nice nurse pick the IV spot.
Of course this time, since it was a scan of her RIGHT wrist and hand, the really solid veins in the RIGHT side were off-limits. So, after two painful sticks to the left, she ended up with the IV on the side of her wrist. And even with the discomfort she was in, she listened intently as the camera was placed in the MRI room, and absorbed her directions on positioning.
My cursory question of “How long?” Was answered with “Less than 45 minutes.” It’s almost a silly question to ask because I have no watch, no radio, and no means of telling time in the room. But, somehow it makes me feel better.
Ear plugs in place, the door closed us in, and she headed into the tube. My hands remained on her ankles, and I could hear the deep breathing. It was just her and Merida inside the tube now. Bravery at its best.
It was 11:25.
It was well past 12:30 when we were told to wait it out while they ran through the images to be sure the doctor saw them.
And then it was 12:45, and some time after 1:00 we were taken to another room. Another room with a smaller tube and a stronger magnet – for a few more pictures.
This doctor, this attending, at the hospital reviewed her images, and wanted more. This doctor I will never meet, who is not the radiologist who will read the images, who somehow got called by the tech doing the exam. This doctor wanted more pictures.
So as Meghan laid on her belly in the tiny tube with Merida by her side, she sensed things weren’t quite right. I gave her an abridged version of my inferences.
Then I chuckled at her response.
If something is wrong with my wrist, how will I do the archery we signed up for in Disney?
We will make it work Meg. No worries.
And she laid, quiet and still as could be as 5 minutes became 20 before we were done.
So that’s it? You aren’t going to tell me anything? I asked the tech.
I am not a doctor was the painful reply.
Understanding they can’t, it didn’t help the growing pit in my stomach.
Your doctor will have the results Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.
Meghan got dressed and I held her up as she limped the 6 blocks to the parking garage, an all too familiar summer scene replaying itself. It was 1:45 PM.
Last night I asked when I was going to get a break.
I take it all back.
BEATING COWDEN’S will require stamina and strength I never imagined I could have.
I will continue at this pace forever, and as I wait for the test results I will be buoyed by the Bravery and Courage of my favorite 9-year-old.