Nothing can ever prepare you for the time when a doctor sits in front of you and very matter of factly informs you that your child has cancer and the time I spent in hospital with Elizabeth is mostly a blur. Medicines, blood tests, hydration, blood transfusions it all kind of blends into each other. I know that I spent over a month in there but really I don’t know what I did with my time. I woke up and the next thing I know the lunch tray is coming round and then its the dinner tray and then the nurses are turning off the lights. Dates and Times had no meaning and all we watched was the piece of white A4 paper that was given to us each day with her blood results. Measuring time in neutrophils.
Since we have been visiting the hospital as an outpatient we see a lot of children who left before us. They are getting stronger, they are eating and they are smiling. Its nice to see these bald heads covering in funky hats with big silly grins on their faces. They may be back for more tests but they know they are going home afterwards.
The one thing I remember most from the ward is the parents, parents who’s child also has cancer, parents who offer support to the next new set of lost souls who come through the door, parents who make you a brew when your child does not want you to leave their side or parents who share their food with you because they know you must be hungry.
These parents are going through hell but they are amazing and kind and open and friendly. These parents know that although their child is ill there will be another child in the next bed or the next bay who will be worse. There will be a child who will get transferred to HDU or ICU, there will be a child who might not make it through and all the while there will be parents who need that smile, that cup of coffee or even just a friendly inane chat.
We were all parents going through so much and we were still there for each other.
It shows you that the world can be an amazing place and that people can be amazing too.