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Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Certainty of Change

It’s been a while since I updated you – apologies but it has been an extremely hectic month. So many things have happened I don’t know where to start. Except, I guess, the big stuff.

Our beautiful Marshy(our cat) had to be put down. I went to the vets as he was throwing up and off his food and was told that he probably had cancer. The vet started to explain that we could give him Prednisolone injections to see if he responds – this is the same drug Oscar was on for two months and made him unable to walk, woke him several times a night for a feed and bloated him up like a balloon. Just the mere mention of it made me sick to my stomach. So I said I needed to think about it but as she investigated further she found he had a kidney stone and his kidneys were completely shot and we had no choice but to have him euthanized. The vet kindly gave us a few days so I could take him home and Pete could get to see him and we could all say goodbye. It was an excruciating few days where all he wanted was to be on me and not just sitting on me but right up at my face – he wanted his face against mine. He slept next to me and it felt like he was genuinely trying to crawl inside me. So I told him – no need, you are already in there. We were so lucky to get to say goodbye. I held him as the vet gave him the injection and I know he had a good life and a good death, which is more than many living beings get. So, we are grateful, though sad.

The day after I was told the about Marsh Pete came home early from work because he had been retrenched. This was huge in many ways but especially because his boss had been so superbly understanding and supportive of Pete’s situation with Oscar and gave him time off whenever he needed it. There are no words sufficient for the gratitude we feel to have had that kind of understanding at such a hard time. This is especially the case because the Dr’s and Psychologists at the hospital made it very clear to us that the children who have the support of both their mother and father during treatment are statistically more resilient and able to recover from the trauma. We took that to heart and did our best to give Oscar the support he needed and that was only possible because of the understanding of Pete’s boss. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And so we move on.

Pete got a new job within a week of being retrenched - how lucky is that! And we are all adjusting to lots of changes.

Auden has been asking endless questions about Marshy. It was huge for him as Marsh sat on his lap every morning and kept him company when we were all away for long periods of time and when he was missing Oscar so much. Oscar hadn’t been asking any questions until yesterday when he got up and walked into the kitchen and said, “Let’s go get Marshy from the hospital Mummy”. Ah, the sound of a mothers breaking heart. This is the exact connection we were trying so hard to avoid. That the boys would think that Marsh got sick and went to the Dr’s and didn’t come home is our worst nightmare because Auden is always so worried when I go out with Oscar that we are going to hospital and won’t come home. In fact, whenever we go anywhere Auden starts saying over and over, “Mummy, Daddy, Oscar and Auden come”. This is whether we are going to the park, the shops and so on. When I drop him to pre-school and leave with Oscar he asks over and over, “Mummy and Oscar come back. Not go to hospital.”

So you can see why we wanted to avoid the association that Marshy got sick and went to the hospital and never came home. But you can’t change life and the boys have some wiring in their brains from their experiences, as do we all, and this is just their journey.

To create a positive association we planted a tree for Marshy and the boys both helped us dig the dirt and said, “we love you Marshy”. Time will heal and all is well.

On the medical front Oscar is doing well and his blood results were within the preferred range for the first time since starting maintenance therapy 5 or 6 months ago. So this is great. On the down side he is getting a lot of the side effects such as nausea and vomiting and extreme constipation no matter how many anti-nausea or anti-constipation drugs we give. It’s not affecting him all the time but a fair amount – enough to make it uncomfortable for him.

He is also still very anxious around new people. We go to Little Kickers (toddler soccer) every week and so far he spends most of the time crying and being fearful of everything and everyone. Any new people or new environment does this to him. It makes for an exhausting hour trying to coax him to rejoin the class and make sure he doesn’t disrupt everyone elses fun, including Auden’s – who gets very distracted by Oscar’s crying.

So – it’s a mixed bag and there are days where I am reminded that Oscar has had a huge journey and has special needs (for want of a better way of describing it), as all children do. In his case I forget sometimes just how far he has come and how much it has affected him and then, one day or two, he reminds me that he is special in many ways and that we have to take it at his own pace. Auden adds to that by always taking care of brother and by being acutely aware of where all of us are and reminding us constantly that he likes it best when we are all together.

Amen to that.