Just because I know what to expect doesn't make it any easier driving north to see Sammy in his new room.
When I arrived Sammy was in great spirits, eating lunch with his friend Ben. Ben and his parents drove up to spend part of the day hanging out with Sam. The boys played with HexBugs and Hot Wheels and seemed to have had a great time when I rolled in.
After they left we got the PS3 in the room working and tested Star Wars Episode 1 just in case. On that note, Uncle Josh bid us adieu (SW Episode One has that effect on a lot of people). We then opened some incredible gifts from some incredible friends. Sam loved his new Chicago bears slippers, beach towel, pillow pet, bed chair/husband and some incredible games. (Phyl's note: Oy! Does he not realize that he's in PackerLand?!) One of his other new favorites is his stuffed Gryphon Hatchling he named Gryffindor.
SmugMug delivered some incredible pictures of some of Sam's many fans completely face painted as super heroes. The pictures are awesome to say the least.
We played the hot/cold game by hiding Sam's favorite new stuffed pets from ThinkGeek, Stem Cell and Bad Breath Germ. Fun was had by all as Rabbi Anne, Sam and I took turns hiding and finding the stuffed cell and gingivitis.
We had wonderful visits with Cantor Ross and his wife Malka and Bubbie. Jen Shaffer's good friend, Eric, stopped by on his second day of working here. He is a cancer survivor...who grew up and trained to be a nurse...and who came back to help the kids filling his old rooms on the HOT Unit. It was a very nice visit, hopefully the first of many over the next few months.
One of Sam's meds causes itching and a slight rash. We applied some cream to his legs and after we got ready for bed his nurse administered some Benadryl via IV. We watched Star Wars Episode 2 while waiting for the meds to help with the itching. I answered a lot of questions during the film.
My first impression of being back is that the new room has a better view and a better position, close to the nurses' station.
My second impression is that Sam's walking into the hospital on his own two feet gives him a whole different sense of power and sense of being here. He's playful and in a better mood. Knowing the nurses gives him a surer foot and a snarkier edge as both sides rib each other unmercifully. Nurse L gives back as good as she gets with her best frenemy. Sam does his best to hide his smile when she enters the room and was caught trying to tickle her today.
I find myself breathing easier this time around. I don't want to be here, but if Sam's here I don't want to be anywhere else. I am calm as he is calm. When he is good I am great because I know he's doing his best to handle all this biological and environmental chaos thrown his way.
The staff here all work their hardest to make us feel loved and safe and succeed on a daily basis.
Thank you all for your love, prayers and amazing generosity. Sam's health and good spirits are attributed to you all as much as to his own strength and the strength and good humor of those around us. May we all be strengthened each day to continue our journey on this path to the day when Sam walks away from these halls for the last time.